When I read an article about an olympic athlete who can swim further and faster than I can even run, I don’t immediately find his blog and write a complaint that he is training too hard and failed to take into account time for commuting, chronic illnesses, or TV watching in his lifestyle.
When I was a teenager sitting in the Mac’s Convenience store reading bodybuilding magazines that described the mindset and methods that allowed Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lee Haney to each win seven consecutive Mr. Olympia titles, I didn’t write to those Muscular Mustachians about why I couldn’t accomplish those things either.
When I read newspaper articles about the Fifty Billion Dollars that Warren Buffett has earned for his company by being the world’s greatest investor for fifty straight years, I don’t jump into the comments section along with the General Wussypopulace and complain that Warren has led an evil life and doesn’t understand the plight of the common man.
And when I read Early Retirement Extreme, where Jacob has for several years described the mindset and techniques that allow him to live a very fulfilling life on about $7,000 per year, I don’t angrily write him a comment about how he has failed to include certain mandatory expenses in American life and is therefore misleading his audience.
And when their asses are saved by Superman, the people of Metropolis and the surrounding region don’t get mad at him and say, “Well, fine, Superman, it was easy for you to freeze that lake with your breath and then fly it over to the burning oil refinery where it melted to cause rain to extinguish the fire. But what about all us regular firemen, we have warm breath and are stuck with standard firefighting equipment – we’re going to post complaints on your blog!?”
No, when I hear about someone who is doing something better than me, even if the details of his choices or genetic abilities differ slightly from my own strategy, I bow the fuck down and respect his innovation and acknowledge that I have so far failed to achieve his level of badassity. Then I secretly try to learn from his success.
Because of this tendency to want to learn from people who have unusual skills, rather than try to talk them back down to my own level, I am going to postulate that I am NOT too much of a Complainypants. I already know that there are millions of people out there who are better than me in every measurable way. And I hope to continue to learn from them. And this ability to learn from (rather than become frustrated with) people who are good at various things, brings an extra dollop satisfaction to my life every day. Many of the non-complainers in the audience surely feel the same way.
So why, the fuck, do people like to write to Mr. Money Mustache EVERY DAY and tell him that he has failed to take into account certain things in his lifestyle or retirement strategy, and thus is writing this blog on fraudulent pretenses??
No, I haven’t failed to take anything into account! Yes, I am fully covered for inflation, education, health, fun, shelter, retirement, old age, and everything else that is easily foreseeable in a standard middle-class life. And yes, situations change, and I’m fully covered for changing situations as well – because of the exact same thing that covered me for the things above – ADAPTABILITY. If your life situation changes, you can change your strategy. That’s called “solving a puzzle with your mind”, which happens to be the most fun and useful thing you can do with your mind anyway.
So why, the fuck, is everybody afraid of unknown situations and change? If anything, people should be afraid of lack of change. I’ve solved the relatively simple puzzle of reaching Early Retirement in a capitalist system so early that I actually have a shortage of puzzles right now. I’m struggling, just a tiny bit, with a lack of challenge in life, and as a result I’m sitting here on a sunny weekday morning in my basement office with no shirt on like a lazy slob, typing to you, procrastinating on doing the second half of my workout. I should be out accomplishing something bigger right now. There’s not enough change in my life, not enough puzzles to solve, and I am about to get off my ass and find some new ones to tackle*.
So, to get back to the point of this article – if you read all this and chuckled and said, “Heh, heh… Yeah! Listen to Mr. Money Mustache, tellin’ it like it is again! I’m gonna go solve a few of my own puzzles right fuckin’ now so I can wake up tomorrow even further ahead”, then congratulations, you are a Mustachian, not a Complainypants.
If, on the other hand, you read the paragraphs, and stuck out your lower lip and said, “Oh, listen to that self-aggrandizing thirtysomething who has led a privileged life and doesn’t understand real hardship like I do, because of the following reasons I have it harder than him”, then guess what – you are still a Complainypants. Keep working on it, sucka.
A Complainypants looks only at results – seeing the external trappings or the successes of a particular role model’s life, and justifies why he can’t have those things. And then makes himself unhappy because of not having those results.
Instead, the Complainypants needs to think about the reward of puzzle-solving. It’s not the results that make you happy, it’s the using of your own mind and skills to advance your own cause. You won’t get any further telling me that I have failed to account for your particular life’s situation in my blog.
You will get further by figuring out how to solve the situation for yourself, and then writing in a comment telling us how you solved it in an innovative way, so we can all be awed by how you have out-badassed Mr. Money Mustache!!!
So let’s hear it.
*Luckily, the Foreclosure Project starting in just over two weeks will be one of those.