Have you ever looked at someone and just plain thought to yourself: That’s who I don’t want to be in 20 or so years from now?
Recently I was re-reading a great book “The 4 Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss. One of the thoughts that stuck with me was his conversation in Chapter 4 about how he and a friend keep trying to avoid becoming that “old, fat, bald man in the red convertible”.
To them, that was the epitome of a pathetic, wasted life. It was their stereotype (and we all know someone like this) of a broken middle-age man making his last desperate effort to experience life when he had already wasted too much of it working long hours in the office missing out on the prime of his youth. It was someone who waited too long to see the true value of their time.
The fat bald man symbolized everything they were trying to avoid becoming. And when one wanted to remind the other that they were heading down that dangerous road of work-life submission, they would just say “you’re turning into the fat, bald man in a red convertible”.
How Do You Quantify Who Don’t Want to Be?
While you may or may not have a strong opinion of Ferriss’s image, I think the message behind it is what really counts. EVERYONE has (or maybe even knows) that person they do NOT want to become later on in life.
For some people that image may be influenced by money (as it is with the over-worked stereotype from Ferriss). For others that person may be attitude or opinion oriented. But either way, everyone has something in mind.
The Person I Never Want to Become:
So for me, what is that image of who I don’t want to be?
It’s a person myself and a few close co-workers call “the corpse”.
Working in the automotive industry, the corpse is a person you run into quite often. The corpse is that person who looks like the walking dead. They can move (slowly) and can speak, but you can just tell with every action or every word that all their passion for life has been completely destroyed.
The corpse has probably worked their whole lives (probably 30, 40 or maybe even 50 years) waiting for their pension to kick in. But then even after it has, they still continue to work because they have no real idea of what to do with themselves. On top of that they’re afraid of how to invest or do anything income generating outside of just “more work”.
The worst part about the corpse: They’ve spent years of their lives working overtime and weekends until it became the norm; mostly on superfluous projects that added no real value to anything. They’re never home to spend time with their family. They frequently miss get-togethers and other one-time events. They neglect their children, spouses, and passion.
They’ve just plain had the life beaten out of them until they are in submission.
One of the reasons I started seeking out passive income and starting this blog was to avoid the fate of the corpse. If you’re not working towards building some sort of safety net outside your regular job, then it only increases your dependency on that paycheck every week.
Anytime I have ever wanted to learn something new about money or investigate something financial further, the image of the corpse was all I had to think about it. That was enough to get me off my butt and working harder to try to get my family’s affairs straight. It’s always been enough to get me on the path towards achieving financial freedom.
Readers: Similar to Ferriss’s example, what is that image of the person you DON’T want to be? How do you quantify this character and help yourself to avoid becoming them in the future?
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