You’re on a mission of critical importance. Your success determines the fate of many people, who will be grateful if you succeed. But you are not worried – the mission is your life and your life is the mission, and your calm determination keeps you moving, efficient, and richly aware of each moment.
During the days, you move. Slipping through the paths and vines, noticing how well your body works for you without a complaint. You can walk, or even run, all day. Sometimes you need to climb the cliffs, sometimes you swim across rivers or small lakes. Sometimes the jungle opens up and gives way to open desert – tall cacti alongside your path and enormous mountains in the distance which glow red with each sunrise and sunset.
Your machine-like body requires a lot of food, but fortunately, you feast every night. There is always a stream with sizeable and delicious fish, trees which bear tropical fruit and nuts, and plenty of fresh water. Nothing in the world is as tasty as these meals you cook over the fire, after a dozen hours on the move. After the feast you turn in for a sleep on a bed of the softest grasses. The temperature is perfect and your sleep is uninterrupted. You rise with the sun.
Frequently, you will come to a village. You have arrived to save the people from an invading force of enemies that could be here any day, and they welcome you with open arms. You talk with their leaders, townsfolk, and children, and they offer you food, drink, and stories.
The enemy arrives the next day, with an army that fills the whole village square. You step out to meet their leader. Miraculously, you find you are able to resolve the conflict without violence. They turn back and return to their own village peacefully, and your wise words of nonviolence become a foundation of their culture for all generations to come.
Gradually your reputation grows, and your welcomes grow ever-warmer. In one village, you find a breathtakingly attractive and intelligent mate, and find yourself sharing a hut with this person. You settle down for a while, continuing peacemaking missions but also raising children of your own. Your new home is a warm community where everyone knows and shares with one another. You spend your village days learning, overcoming challenges, solving puzzles, and laughing with others. Your children follow your example and grow strong themselves, able to give and help wherever they go. This is a truly happy life.
This all sounds pretty damned sweet to me. It’s the life of a soldier, with minimal possessions, great strength and ability, and the ability to do great service. But yet the harshest parts have been taken out – the wars, injuries, danger, and bureaucracy which dumps orders down the command chain at you. This imaginary, very badass, and very happy person is The Soldier of Luxury, so named because of the amazing combination of soldier-like simplicity and dedication, with the incredible luxury of a life with very little danger of being shot at.
You might dismiss the tale above as pure fantasy. Sure, we’d all like to have long walks, jungles and deserts, fresh fish and berries, safe beds and attractive mates, and satisfying challenges with the opportunity to heroically help and teach others. But that just isn’t the world in which we live today. We’re stuck with concrete and SUVs, schedules and meetings, douchebag bosses and politicians, and endless obligations, bills and mortgages.
Except we’re not. And in fact, today’s world is quite secretly arranged with the ideal conditions for living the life of a Soldier of Luxury. Never before in history has the opportunity been so close and ripe, and yet never before has it been so far from the grasp of the brainwashed masses of our very wealthy population.
We live in a place where the food is safe to eat, astoundingly yummy if prepared well, and yet far cheaper than it has been for almost all of history. Fresh fish is just one of a thousand things you could eat for your next meal. You can find a place to sleep with a soft bed that is completely free from predators, allowing a peaceful sleep that most of your ancestors could only dream of. The world’s information flows past with perfect accessibility and you can learn, and even contact almost anyone on Earth using the same device that is planting these exceptionally valuable ideas into your mind. With these three tools, you are already sufficiently powerful to accomplish just about anything that can possibly be accomplished (and a few things that they say cannot.)
The life of a Soldier of Luxury is complete. Everything required for the deepest happiness and most satisfying life is built right into the package. Anything else is superfluous. Complicating life beyond this is just adding doilies and decorations, frilly curtains and chandeliers to an already-perfect home.
Sure, you can safely add a few complications if you like. I have done so myself over the years, with houses and cars, touchscreen thermostats and espresso machines. It’s all good, as long as you realize what you’re doing – decorating something that really doesn’t need decorating, if you really know what you are doing.
So herein lies the formula for an instant solution to most of life’s problems. Study the description of the Soldier of Luxury’s life. Acknowledge that this Badass individual has truly got it figured out, and that indeed, he needs nothing more than what is already in that amazing life. Then realize that you too have most or all of his advantages, and you can design a life that is just as satisfying.
What would the Soldier say if you went to his village and complained that you cannot escape the monthly payments on your Ford Explorer because you need room to carry the kids to soccer practice and put the dog in the back? Or that you can’t ride your bike because it’s cold outside? The Soldier would pick you up by the neck and heave you into the river, then return to peeling mangoes and avocados for his family’s dinner, thankful for the end of the whiny disturbance.
But what do you, the modern Soldier of Luxury, do if not living in a village and peacefully averting tribal wars? You might instead live in a modern city, spending less time in the office and more with family friends. You might take sabbaticals, or retire early, travel to some actual jungles or deserts, or do some form of work which is so fun you would gladly do it for free.
This concept of “I can be absolutely happy, with virtually nothing” is critically important to unlocking your mind from the little cage that consumer society welds around it.
- Most people are still stuck at, “I can be absolutely happy, if I just strike it rich and famous like the stars on TV.”
- Accomplished high-income people improve on this a little, saying “I will be truly happy – as soon as I have about twice what I have right now.”
- With a bit more wisdom, you can get to “I can be truly happy, with exactly my life right now. Nothing more, nothing less.”
- This is not a bad place to be, but the freedom to make positive change comes when you realize, “I can be happy with anything, I don’t need all this fluff that I have now. I am completely free to find happiness with any level of spending, consumption, complexity – or simplicity – in my life.”
Herein lies the real secret to very speedy financial independence for almost everyone – realize that right at this moment, you could theoretically cut your spending in four, and still have a more luxurious life than the Soldier of Luxury. And thus, you could still have a more fulfilling life than you have right now. It might take innovation and teamwork, but it could be done. You don’t even have to take that drastic step. You could just take a tiny one like going out for a long walk on a cold day. It’s still a step towards Soldier status, and thus a step towards freedom.
We all have the ability to become Soldiers of Luxury, for our world is perfectly configured for it. Opportunities for achievement are widespread, and even the lowest income is very high relative to the cost of true necessities. Every notch you can bring your own life closer to that of a Soldier is a step in the right direction. Benefits begin immediately. Strip and pare the unnecessary decorations and distractions. Reveal the true you, simpler and stronger and more satisfied with life. You are not decreasing your quality of life when you give up the pampering – you are giving yourself a life – perhaps for the very first time.