|Prof. Ian Ironwood, Esq.|
The single most important concept you’ll ever find in the Androsphere is, and has always been, the importance of independence. Beneath all of the window dressing and jargon and masculine advice, blogs like this one exist to promote the idea that a free man should be as independent as he can possibly be. Through that independence comes all of the benefits of masculinity: wisdom, strength, wealth, and women.
However, for most men, that independence remains illusory, simply because they are too tied down to a job or a financial burden to be able to exercise it. As long as a man is chained by such trappings, he will never really be free.
It is impractical in the extreme to argue that a man should simply chuck up his job and do whatever he feels like in order to make himself feel good. This is not only flatly ridiculous, it is the way that women think. Under no circumstances should masculine men encourage that sort of air-headed frippery in their fellows.
Instead, it should be our goal to recognise the daily realities that men face, and provide advice to help men be as free as they can on their own terms.
“Take Your TPS Report And Shove It”
Let me ask you a simple question: what would you give to be able to tell your boss to perform an anatomically impossible act?
We’ve all had that fantasy at some point or another. We’ve all wanted to tell a horrible boss that he’s about as useful as an orangutan with a banana up its backside, as subtle as a seagull crapping all over your new jacket, and as intelligent as your average garden slug. But we’ve never been able to act on such fantasies- partly because these things are exceedingly rude, and most people try to be polite in daily life. (Except for the French, of course.)
Mostly, however, we avoid saying such things because doing so would be like calling in a Broken Arrow strike on our careers.
But what if I told you that, with a few simple changes to your lifestyle, you could put yourself in a position where, even if you love your job and are happy with your career, you could simply walk away for six months or a year, or even longer, and not feel any real pain from it?
Even people who enjoy their work and are happy with their careers, and get along very well with their bosses (like me), need to consider how their minds would change if they could simply walk away from it all if they wanted to.
Such people would be free, both physically and mentally. No force short of God Himself could stop them from living their lives on their terms, with nothing more than the goal of their own happiness and the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labours.
Sadly, these changes don’t come without sacrifices. But they are well worth making.
The changes I’m talking about are really simple. They come in three basic steps:
- Cut your expenses down and pay off any debts as quickly as possible
- Once you’re debt-free, maintain your expenses as low as possible for as long as possible
- Save up at least six months’ worth of expenses- preferably a year’s worth
That’s it. That’s all there is to it.
Hey, I said it was simple. I didn’t say it was easy.
A Spartan Lifestyle
|Sometimes the rabbit, he wins…|
Of course, doing this can be quite painful. It means going without a lot of nice things.
Instead of going out every night for dinner, you might end up cooking at home most nights, concentrating on eating tasty whole foods rather than fancy dishes made by internationally renowned cooks.
Instead of spending your money on a new German sedan or a flashy new TV or the latest gadget, you might be driving around a used Japanese hatchback, or using a TV that you picked up for cheap at a Black Friday sale, or using a more basic phone that you only use for reading and texting anyway.
Instead of going to a fancy big-chain gym, you might end up training at a place that smells of sweat and steel and considers anything that isn’t powerlifting to be a complete waste of time.
Instead of spending a lot of time and effort socialising with friends, you might end up taking on more solitary pursuits, such as reading or writing or video games.
Instead of buying new clothes every season, you might decide to keep wearing the same comfortable, functional, broken-in clothes that you’ve always worn, until they literally fall apart and you’re forced to go shopping, practically kicking and screaming the whole time.
These sacrifices are painful and difficult to make. In today’s image-driven society, they are virtually anathema to most young people my age, who want that fancy consumer-driven lifestyle and want to experience all of the good things in life.
The problem is that the price for experiencing it is almost always to go into debt. And no matter how you try to justify debt, you cannot escape the fact that, as long as you owe someone money, he owns your ass.
Of all of the lessons that my father taught me as a boy, the one that stuck with me the most was probably his lessons about debt. Like me, he was and has always been a stubbornly independent man. He always hated the idea of going into debt for any but the most desperate of reasons, and he did everything he could to avoid taking that route. He succeeded, and in the process he passed on to me a lifelong aversion to indebtedness and borrowing that persists to this day.
I will readily admit that there are a few genuine and legitimate reasons to take on debt, such as buying a house for which you’ve already saved up a significant deposit and intend to live in for a very long time. But debt taken on for transient or disposable spending is a noose around your neck, and no free man should ever want to walk willingly into the hangman’s rope.
The Frame of Plenty
|“Yes we can!!!… rob you blind and make you a slave!”|
So let’s say you follow my simple advice, and you save up enough cash on hand- after taxes, mind you- to live in reasonable comfort for up to six months. What then?
Whatever the hell you want.
And that, my friend, is the beauty of having that cash on hand. You simply don’t worry about stupid little things that would have kept you up half the night otherwise.
Something broken that needs to be replaced? No sweat.
Want to quit your job and go exploring for a few weeks, or months, overseas? Totally cool.
Feel like taking your girl out for a nice dinner for a change, just because? Easily done.
Your boss is being a jackass and you just want to slap his face into next week? Why the hell not.
This is the mindset of a man who simply doesn’t let the little stupid nonsense in life bother him. It is the mind of a man who knows what he wants out of life, and has the resources to go about getting it. I wrote about this at some length over a year ago, and my advice remains unchanged since then.
In my own case, I’ve always tried to spend less than I make. I’ve always hated the idea of being dependent on anyone and anything. And I’ve always taken a certain quiet, stubborn pride in knowing that everything I have is mine. I earned the money needed to pay for it through my own labours, and no one can rightfully take it from me.
This mindset can be yours too, if you are willing to make the sacrifices needed.
Do not be deceived, however. This mindset is a prerequisite to success; by being independent of others, you make it easier for yourself to succeed and you build an entrepreneurial mindset for yourself, whereby you are prepared to fail in order to achieve your goals. But that does not guarantee success. The rest is a product of intelligence, skill, luck, and above all, hard work.
Simply having the knowledge that you have money to burn- if you so choose- in the back of your head WILL NOT make you successful at whatever you do. Unless you’re a billionaire driving a supercar to the latest Michelin-starred restaurant, you’re not going to get supermodels jumping into your bed just because you showed up. You’re still going to have to work for those successes.
But think of how much easier such successes would be, if you didn’t have the millstone of debt and dependency hanging around your neck.
It’s a simple, but profound, change. So what’s stopping you from making it?
UPDATE: Courtesy of Spartan from the comments down below, John Goodman at his most profanely eloquent:
This post is the last "sign" I needed. Oddly, I was discussing this with my old roommate over the weekend and with a coworker early yesterday. I've been pondering it for a good while now.
"It's a simple, but profound, change. So what's stopping you from making it?"
Because I lack discipline with money, that's why. So it's a good time to correct that, methinks.
John Goodman says it best: youtube.com/watch?v=xdfeXqHFmPI
Don't bother watching that movie (The Gambler), you just watched the only part worth watching.