Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Who Are You?
No, this isn't a WHO song. This is your life.
You ever go to a party and introduce yourself? Usually you say hi and make small chitchat, but shortly thereafter the conversation usually tends to gravitate towards work.
"What do you do for a living?"
How common is this question? I'd say pretty damn common. Why is that?
I think the answer is that we, as a society, identify ourselves by our occupation. And that's really not all that surprising, considering many of us spend a great deal of time earning a paycheck at whatever it is we all do. Not only is there usually an education that one must receive to do certain jobs in life, but there's also the waking up early, commuting and then spending 8-10 hours a day at our jobs.
Does it have to be this way? Should we identify ourselves by our jobs?
I don't know the answer to that question. I suppose if you have a particularly noble position in society like a police officer, firefighter, teacher or a politician (maybe not so noble), then maybe it's natural to identify yourself by your vocation. But is that a good thing? I don't particularly think so. What happens if you lose your job or become unable to do it one day? What happens when you retire? Do you lose your identity when one of these events occur? It's certainly possible. I don't know how healthy it is to specifically blend yourself and your job into one identity. Don't you lose a piece of yourself when you do this...or is your job all that there is to you?
I don't identify myself by my job.
Right now I work as a service advisor at an automotive dealership. I'm a liason between the owner of luxury vehicles and the technicians who work on those vehicles. I advise on repairs and maintenance, process paperwork and provide estimates. But that's not who I am as a person. That's not how I identify myself. I wasn't born in this world to be a service advisor.
Who am I?
I'm an artist. Specifically, I'm a writer. I enjoy expressing myself through the art of the written word and I really take pleasure in inspiring others. I love encouraging others to march to the beat of their own, individual drum. We don't all have the same song playing in our heads. We're all unique people, with unique hopes, aspirations, dreams, goals. I love expressing mine and making connections. Writing allows me to expound on that.
I'm an investor. I genuinely derive pleasure from reading analyst reports on companies. I love looking at 10-year financial information. Finding a company that has an attractive balance sheet with low debt, consistently buys back shares at opportune times, has a lengthy history of paying out and increasing dividends to shareholders, sells products or services that people across the world want or need and has common stock that is attractively priced below its intrinsic value is one of the pure joys in the world. I absolutely love seeing dividends hit my brokerage account, and the tangible progress that dividend growth investing provides is really reassuring and motivating.
I'm a friend, brother, son and partner. My family and friends mean everything to me. I love spending time with those that mean the most to me. It's this love that inspires me to pursue financial independence. The opportunity to have more time to cultivate the relationships that mean the most to me is priceless, and certainly more valuable than the earnings that another 20-30 years of full-time employment could provide.
I'm a philosopher. I enjoy discovering new knowledge. I actually revel in just thinking. How could the world be a better place? Why are we here? Humanity has so much potential and yet we consistently fall short. There's a lot of people out there suffering while others live high on the hog. This was true 1,000 years ago, and is still true today. The standard of living for billions has increased dramatically, but we have a long way to go as a collective species. How do we improve? How can I help?
I'm a fitness enthusiast. I'm no longer the competitive bodybuilder I was in my teens and I don't hit the gym for hours on end like I did in my early 20's. However, I still enjoy pushing my body and staying in shape. Certainly one should be proud of what they see when they take a look in the mirror after a shower.
These are some of my major interests in life. I have so many things I can personally improve upon, and with the free time that financial independence can offer I'll have an opportunity to do so. It's hard to maximize all of the above interests and hobbies when I'm spending 50+ hours a week working at a job that I don't identify with. Cultivating oneself and important relationships is the key to happiness. Working harder and longer to afford more "stuff", however, is not the key to happiness. I'm only working long and hard now to commit a sort of financial arbitrage - saving high amounts of my net income and investing it as intelligently as I can so as to achieve the freedom I require to pursue the things that make me happy!
This is who I am.
Who are you?
Thanks for reading.
Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net