“But… why can’t we buy this?”
This was the question pre-adolescent me would often ask my parents growing up in our small two-bedroom flat by the tracks.
Because we can’t afford it.
The same response, over and over.
This line of thinking was ingrained in me for so long that whenever a decision is required to be made – inevitably “I can’t afford it”.
Should I start my own business? Nope, stick with your job instead, you can’t afford to quit.
Should I invest in the stock market? Nope, people can lose their whole fortune investing, you can’t afford to invest.
Should I talk to that girl? Nope, she won’t like you, you can’t afford the pain of rejection.
On and on this voice in my head was talking to me – “think about what can go wrong, use your head!”
Well – that’s the key isn’t it?
Thinking with our heads naturally stems from our genetic evolution.
Rewinds clock back to 10,000 BC
(It is twilight, the darkness is spreading. A lone Homo Sapien is out hunting)
“Hm, if I can only grab some slow, dotard, bird of the flightless variety, Manjula and the kids can feed tonight”.
“A ha, what is that… oh fuck, a dark, shadowy shape, quickly – RUN”.
“Whew, that was close, lucky I escaped whatever that was”.
“Now, this looks promising, oh shit – what’s that smell? Never smelt that scent before, better leave pronto”.
“Hm, it’s getting dark – sigh, Manjula won’t be happy but what can I do? Better to go hungry and live than be some animal’s dinner out here”.
You see, it’s genetics.
It’s made us all wired to think with our heads, thinking with our heads let’s us live another day, prevents us from being some animal’s dinner.
Only problem is that in today’s modern society – you’re expected to live another day, you’re expected to not be some animal’s dinner.
I’m sure you know quite a few people who think with their heads every day – the ones who have ambition, drive, passion and most importantly heart for what it is they are NOT doing.
I’m not talking about the single moms working three jobs to put food on the table, I’m talking about the guys who have stability, comfort, safety – but they want something else, their true calling.
Why haven’t they started?
My friend Laser sent me an article today here – in summary Jeff Bezos explains his thinking of making truly important decisions summarised in 5 words: “what does your heart say”.
Here’s Bezos quoted in the article:
“…For me, the right way to make that kind of very personal decision, because those decisions are personal, they’re not like data-driven business decisions. They are, “What does your heart say?”
And for me, the best way to think about it was to project myself forward to age 80 and say, “Look, when I’m 80 years old, I want to have minimized the number of regrets that I have.” I don’t want to be 80 years old and in a quiet moment of reflection, thinking back over my life, and cataloguing a bunch of major regrets.
In most cases our biggest regrets turn out to be acts of omission. It’s paths not taken and they haunt us. We wonder what would have happened. I knew that when I’m 80, I would never regret trying this thing (quitting a good job to start Amazon) that I was super excited about and it failing.
If it failed, fine. I would be very proud of the fact when I’m 80 that I tried. And I also knew that it would always haunt me if I didn’t try. And so that would be a regret, it would be 100 percent chance of regret if I didn’t try and basically a 0 percent chance of regret if I tried and failed. That’s a useful metric for any important life decision…”
Personally, I think it’s a fantastic insight to such a unique mind.
It’s a great individual who has the vision and clarity to see so far ahead for themselves.
To let it all go based on being true to yourself – you gotta do you!
I’ve also been trying to adapt a new line of thinking, making it simpler, easier to apply.
What is it TheFrugalSamurai? Tell me!
Rewinds clock back to…
Enough with your fucking stories, just tell me you hunched-back teletubby.
Far out, just wow.
I consciously told myself over and over again:
“Will I remember this day when I am 80?”
Quit work to start a business – will I remember this day when I am 80?
Train delayed heading to work – will I remember this day when I am 80?
Refused cheese when offered by the girl who became MrsFrugalSamurai-to-be – will I remember this day when I am 80?
I realised that there’s only so very few days in our entire life which we truly remember, both good and bad.
So whenever I am faced with a decision, both big and small, I ask myself that simple question – will I remember this day when I am 80?
Sometimes you gotta listen to your heart.
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Absolutely. There are a lot of cases where you should go with your heart – if you believe in something, then you just have to do it. The “what if” scenario is the classic case of “FOMO” so the only way to eliminate that, is to go with your heart.
Going back a step however, going with your heart generally points to you make decisions around “you” as in yourself whereas if you use you head, it tends to be more about “you plus those around you or close to you”. Sometimes you just gotta a little selfish and do what’s right by you… but then there are times where selflessness can reap greater reward if you are empowering those around you or doing things that make them happy.
The Frugal Samurai
Actually a former boss of mine made a great point in that it really does depend on how much you want out of life – a wise man said that if you’re happy with $80k a year, loving spouse and 2 kids – who is anyone to judge if the decisions you make, make you happy, we all strive to lead rewarding and fulfilling lives do we not?