Live Below Your Means for Freedom

I lost my father when I was ten years old, and it put a lot of pressure on my life. I have a mother who's an iron lady who brought me up. But when I looked across every hurdle we faced, it was somehow related to wealth. Like every ten-year-old, I was obsessed with infinite "why"s.

"Why do we have to sell the car?" "Why do we have a loan on it?" "Why can't we pay the loan?" "Why do we spend more than we can afford?" "Why do we have so many wants?"

Two years later - when I was twelve, I had somehow concluded that the best way to obtain leverage was through money. Computers fascinated me since they taught me it was possible to provide services to someone across oceans. I wrote blogs, made graphic designs, did SEO for several folks, and bought the new iPhone.

Yet society threw a pity party on me, "look at this guy trying to make money so young because his father passed away." The world ceased to make sense. Why would people choose to live lives they hate to get less money? If wealth defined value in a capitalistic society why do we take the other route to satisfaction?

Several years later I found out the answer - it was "safety and status."

The universe loves chaos, while humans love to be safe and secure. It's in our spirit - we were unable to live among the wild animals and chose to build civilization because we prioritize safety over everything else.

The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation. They depend on materialistic possessions that keep them happy in the short run but rarely focus on long-term satisfaction. In the 21st century, all of our problems are of abundance.

Netflix - unlimited movies.
Pornhub - unlimited lust.
Zomato - unlimited sugar.

It's only when you see your life passing by every day, and other men living your life that you can even bend above from the phone screens and see the long-term picture.

Once you understand that materialistic possessions aren't finite, your life changes. The path to freedom lies in getting rid of them. So, I shaved my head and challenged myself to not spend above 5000 rs a month. Consistently started giving more to charity. I've done this for more than a year.

There's a reason I want to become an entrepreneur, it's because I truly respect my time on the planet and the only way to give more is to trade effort for money and not time for money. Generate value and scale it to the world, then freedom will follow.

What does all of this have to do with my resignation? Well, let me leave you with a paragraph that changed my life.

"So for the last four or five years, I've been getting my Ph.D. in organizational psychology, and one of the research studies that I did was studying the difference between want-to-be entrepreneurs and actual entrepreneurs who had been successful. And I asked a bunch of questions, trying to figure out what's the difference between these two populations.

And one of the questions that I asked the want-to-be entrepreneurs and the actual entrepreneurs was "Have you ever had a point-of-no-return experience?" And almost all of the want-to-be entrepreneurs said, "No." A lot of them hinted at the idea that they hoped to have that experience one day. Almost all the entrepreneurs said, "Yes." And not only were they entrepreneurs. I asked lots of authors, professional people at all scales. And they all said, "Yes, I've had them, and at multiple stages have I had a point-of-no-return experience." So my follow-up question was "What happened after that experience?" And actually, I was interested firstly in "What was that experience?" "What was the point of no return?" "What created that shift?" Then my next question was "What happened after?" But I was kind of surprised.

What often created a point-of-no-return experience was making a financial investment in the goal. So I interviewed like a 17-year-old entrepreneur, for example, and his point-of-no-return experience was when he and his friend were both seniors in high school when they put their money together, their savings. They invested $10,000 into a huge shipment of shoes because they wanted to sell shoes. He said his point-of-no-return was, first, when they spent the money but, second, when a huge truck came and offloaded basically a mountain of shoes. He said he realized that at that point, he couldn't go back.

He couldn't give the shoes back. He had this mountain of shoes now completely filling his garage, and basically, at that moment, his identity shifted. He said at that moment, he realized that he was running a company, that he was leading a company. And from that moment forward, he acted from that leadership role. So he put himself in, essentially, a position where he had to move forward. That's why it was a point of no return. Because in a lot of ways, he couldn't actually go back; he couldn't actually give the shoes back. But what was more important about the point of no return for this 17-year-old and for Tom Hartman was that there was an identity shift.

There's a really good quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes, and he says, "A mind stretched by a new experience can never go back to its former dimensions." So this episode of Tom led to, actually, a more profound peak experience that gave him the realization that his identity had shifted, that he was no longer the person he had formerly been, but now he was this person who he envisioned himself to be."

  1. 3

    "A mind stretched by a new experience can never go back to its former dimensions" 👌

    Having known you for almost a decade now, I feel you've answered the right call, all the very best!

    1. 3

      Thanks Anirudh, I'm grateful to have you in my books. When I first made the call I was under the assumption you'd prove me wrong and tell me its a terrible idea. I called you anyway because you're a well informed person. You're one of the few believed me enough to encourage me to try and take my leap of faith. I hope we both scale to the moon 🙏.

  2. 2

    Good post my friend, loved it

  3. 2

    I think the title says it all—low overhead enables you to find success. I think the “Point of no return” is an interesting concept. Thanks for sharing!

    1. 1

      Glad you liked it!

  4. 1

    this one touched me, I am proud of you and believe in you. Let it ring!

  5. 1

    This is brilliant, thanks for sharing

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