Progression for progressions sake

progression
prəˈɡrɛʃ(ə)n/
noun
  1. 1.
    the process of developing gradually towards a more advanced state

Progression for progressions sake…this is something that I have succumbed to in the past, and I’m sure will again in the future.

My problem is that progress is quick at the beginning of a new pursuit and so the positive feedback received from the activity is both frequent and substantial.  As the steep initial learning curve dies away so does the quick progress and the time between revelations increases.  It’s at this point I’m in danger of looking for another new pursuit, after all learning new things is fun.  With this I leave the old pursuit behind.

Looking back, there are plenty of things I have started, kept up for a few months before moving onto the next thing.  It makes you wonder, if you had just kept up one of those things, how good would you be at it now?

Just a couple of minutes spent pondering over a cup of tea reveals the following past pursuits for Mr Z;

– Guitar (a couple of times)
– Piano
– Motorbike track days (amazing, but ultimately too expensive)
– Motorbike maintenance
– Golf
– Photography
– Weight lifting
– Boxing
– Brazilian Jujitsu
– Accountancy (after qualifying I switched careers)

I’m sure there’s more.  The only things that have seemed to stand the test of time are cycling, surfing and eating.

I really don’t want writing this blog or the pursuit of FI to become another of these items.  One where the initial progression slows and my hyperactive mind looks to move onto the next thing to progress  for progressions sake.

Learning new skills is a good thing.  Nay, it’s a fucking excellent thing!  I don’t think that we should ever stop learning and changing.  The world isn’t going to stop changing and to completely resist it is just to get left behind.

BUT!  I need to stop learning new things at the expense of carrying on with old pursuits.

So how does FI fit in?
For me, the motivation to write on here or to cut back spending, save more, researching investing and plan has been easy to come by to date.  Especially with all the other far superior blogs to read.  But this will, without a doubt waiver at some point.  It needs to settle down into just being part of what I do, not that new exciting hobby.

The path to FI is a long journey and so it needs to be one that isn’t constantly met with resistance.  It’s far too long to be constantly battling against the gravity of spending and the currents of consumerism if they are still embedded in your tiny brain.  Let’s say I was saving hard with the goal of building up a nice nugget for financial independence but ruing missed spending opportunities and constantly feeling as if I was sacrificing my life….well…I probably would have sacked it all in by now.  And yet I haven’t.

It’s all about changing your perspective and embedding new habits so that you can run on auto-pilot.  It’s certainly not about setting yourself a restrictive budget every month, that you despise.

But it is going to be tough and it’s not about shying away from a challenge, far from it.  We all like a tough challenge.  Just not constantly.  Imagine cycling 100 miles every day, forever.  Not cool.  
Keeping motivation in check
A strange thing happened this month – as it approaches payday I am left with money in my discretionary spending account.  This is an most excellent thing as it has occurred naturally.  It would seem that some good habits are starting to embed themselves.  This was followed by another strange thing.  The toilet at Chateau Zombie broke and instead of calling the plumber I got my soft Excel hands dirty and fixed the problem.  I am starting to run on some kind of auto-pilot it would seem.  One that is reducing my spending, some unconscious part of my brain is doing it for me.
It’s worth checking your motivation levels every now and then, especially on a journey as long as the one towards FI.  It’s also worth re-affirming why you are doing it.  
I had a random afternoon off today and got a sneaky 40 miles in on the bike, just because I could.  This as a wee taster of what FI would be like and tops up the old motivation juice.
Hopefully this hasn’t just been progression for progressions sake and FI is waiting for me.  I don’t want to get to 65 and think “Shit, if only I’d kept up with that saving and investing business, I could have not just spent the last 20 years shackled to a cubicle”.

Anyone else suffer from a wandering mind?

Spend Less, Save More & Escape the Horde
Mr Z

6 thoughts on “Progression for progressions sake

  1. Theres Value

    Totally hear where you're coming from Mr Z. It's really great though, that you're starting to run on auto-pilot to a certain extent. That is what we are aiming for in many areas of life – make them run on auto-pilot so you have time to enjoy your time off and try out all these new things. Even if you don't stick with them that long, at least you had the time and the inclination to try them out in the first place.

    Cheers

    Reply
  2. weenie

    Some of my past hobbies/pursuits are of the 'been there, done that, have no wish to do again' type (generally the more intense ones like karate and epee fencing). Others like painting and model making, I would like to take up again, when I have the time, ie when I'm no longer working.

    New hobbies (such as my home brewing) are likely to be expanded upon and I'm sure there will be a ton of other stuff that I would like to do (or learn to do), when I have the opportunity.

    Right now, living relatively frugally, updating my blog, tracking my savings and investments all take effort but for the most part, it's enjoyable so aiming for FI is a pursuit or hobby in itself.

    I was in a shopping centre for the first time in ages today, as I had vouchers that I needed to use before their expiry date.

    I haven't been near a clothes shop for nearly 6 months so wasn't sure if confronted with new fashions and sales, I would go on a splurge with my bonus.

    But no, I just bought one item with my vouchers and left.

    I was never a real lover of shopping, I'm even less of one now and it is all about changing mindset and habits.

    Reply
  3. ermine

    TFS observed that thought pattern is well suited to early financial independence. And often fixing things.

    > The path to FI is a long journey and so it needs to be one that isn't constantly met with resistance. It's far too long to be constantly battling against the gravity of spending and the currents of consumerism if they are still embedded in your tiny brain.

    It got better after six months for me. But then I went into total lockdown mode because I thought I was going to be iced from the job. Trying to reduce outgoings incrementally seems to be tough, by observation.

    There agan, cold turkey was easier for me because I was building on a decent base. I think the takeway is go for step changes, not continuous improvement, even if it goes against the zeitgeist. Or maybe I'm just wired strangely, probably also goes with the FI patch!

    Reply
  4. Mr Zombie

    Yeah, I will continue to tinker around with new things I'm sure.

    Hopefully by putting enough into this at the moment and it will start to run on full auto-pilot and not disappear into history.

    Reply
  5. Mr Zombie

    Home brewing seems like a good hobby, one that can be expanded on. Micro brewery soon? 🙂

    "Right now, living relatively frugally, updating my blog, tracking my savings and investments all take effort but for the most part, it's enjoyable so aiming for FI is a pursuit or hobby in itself." – Yep – I'm with you on this!

    Good work on the shopping. I've never been a shopper, but I do have a weakness in motorbike show rooms or cycling shops. Hmmm maybe I do need a set of racing leathers… So I stay away!

    Mr Z

    Reply
  6. Mr Zombie

    Thanks for the link. An interesting read. I definitely enjoy the learning part of work and when things start to become easier I look to move on (even though this is when you start to specialise and get paid more…d'oh).

    I guess if you can go cold turkey and stick with it, it is the most efficient way!

    Yeah, perhaps it is a strange mind that is attracted to the idea of FI in a world where everyone seems to enjoy being part of the crowd. In a way it does seem attractive solely because people discount it or claim it is impossible… of course I am only at the start but it seems wholly positive so far.

    Mr Z

    Reply

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