Beyond Financial Freedom:
An Unofficial Guide to Living Your Best Life
After achieving financial freedom in my 20s, I have focused my efforts to improve all other areas of life, learning from the best around the world. In this unofficial guide on life, we will explore:
- The various facets of life we need to work on
- The big issues everyone grapples with in life
- What to focus on to get the most out of life
Spending a quality life is the primary right of every human being. Thanks for sharing a great article.
You are welcome!
Yes sometimes we really work too much and too hard. Much learn how to dote and appreciate yourself for all the effort and time to make this lifestyle.
To become financially independent, you must turn part of your income into capital, then turn capital into business. Finally turn the business into profit.
Make the profit into an investment, and you will finally on your way to financial independence.
“When you understand that your self-worth is not determined by your net-worth, then you’ll have financial freedom.” – Suze Orman
Anyone can be truly be happy and released from the rat race.
The great Stephen Covey shared:
“Your economic security does not lie in your job; it lies in your own power to produce—to think, to learn, to create, to adapt. That’s true financial independence. It’s not having wealth; it’s having the power to produce wealth.”
It has never been truer. And I have gained much insight into this.
My life questions that I cannot answer:
How do I strike a balance between calling out behaviors and attitudes that upset me and accepting people as who they truly are?
How do I love myself more?
How do I know if I am really in love?
How do I know if I am loving my partner in a healthy way?
How do I have a positive influence on other people?
How do I create my own purpose in my life?
How do I achieve the freedom I crave and live the life I want to live?
How do I balance and manage my time effectively?
How do I stop wasting more of my time?
How do I strike a good balance between listening well and contributing in a conversation?
I have 0 answers, and so many life questions.
There is not enough room or time to explore into the deep struggles of my life in this comment space. Perhaps it would be best
serve you better if you were to name the specific honest struggle that you’re going through and may need some help or guidance to make the most informed decision in that point in life. I have lived over 70 +years on this damned planet under various scenarios of being rich and poor including twelve various wars, earthquakes, famine, floods, fire burning down my house and tornadoes. Imagine learning from these grave mistakes. Do go into and explore your problems and I’ll do the best I can to give you some guidance or shed some light on the problems that you are facing.
I feel that you are looking at life too pessimistically.
Try to look from another angle.
How about thinking and answering the following question:
“If life had absolutely no limits, what would you choose to have and what would you choose to do?”
Hypothetically, and suppose you have $1,000,000 and all the time in the world to pursue anything.
Then you might be able to answer questions such as:
What would you prefer to do in your life?
Whom would you spend your time with meaningfully?
Where would you like to travel to?
Whom would you help at any time?
What would you actively learn?
With the interesting thought of limitless resources, your mind would slowly open up to answering all these questions about all that truly matters. IMO, that is what you really need to find out the answers to!
I feel that as long as we have goals in life, it is much less stressful and monotonous.
Knowing what you want, yearn for, and desire is how meaningful goals are born.
There are 4 fears which usually hold you back from success and achieving your goals.
Procrastination: It is the act or habit of putting off or delaying something that requires immediate attention.
Perfectionism: You want everything to be perfect before you can move onto your next goal.
Confusion: You just do not know what you want and waiting for a sign for you to decide your next goal.
Refusal: This is the most common fear. Giving excuses! Period.
I guess the fear of failing also makes one unable to move on in life.
Strangely, with the right fear instilled in you, you will move forward in life too!
Like the fear of having no food on the table, you will now be greatly motivated to work.
I just have one of the worst sins. Procrastination.
Too lazy and stuck in life.
For me, the greatest sin is greed.
It’s what drives me, and also hampers me if I get too greedy 😛
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
As what has been shared by Spencer in the article above, as long as we know what we are willing to struggle for in life, you will feel more empowered as you imagined myself tackling the issues you were worrying about instead of closing your eyes and wishing the problems would just disappear.
Do give Mark Manson’s new book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck a read.
He challenges us to change up our way of thinking from “I hope for a life without problems” to “I hope for a life full of good problems.”
It might be obvious, but without your health, you can’t do anything in your life.
Your energy level is a reflection of your overall health and wellbeing. Therefore, the more energy you have, you will be able to get more done in your day and life. As we all have the same amount of time in the day, the difference between individuals is the energy we bring into each aspect of our life.
Most people don’t realise is that there is a symbiotic relationship between your health and your life.
It is very important to take care of both your mind and body as it will pay off in various ways, including:
– Allowing you to take charge of your life and feel good about the choices you make.
– Gaining energy and feeling more fit.
– Improving your physical health.
– Gaining a positive outlook and finding more enjoyment in your life.
Any changes in your lifestyle is a “work in progress.”
Lasting changes take time.
Thus, one should begin by setting small goals that are easy to add to your daily life and within your control and means.
I find the guide on “A Helpful Guide to Becoming Unbusy” interesting.
“Realize that being busy is a choice.” I have never realized this was possible at all. LOL.
For those who like TLDR: The Akrasia Effect = Procrastination
I will like to share some quotes on life that I find them meaningful:
Temporary failure is not defeat, it is temporary than success will follow soon.
Believe in the person you want to become.
Be somebody nobody thought you could be.
Keep your heels and standards high.
These are my favourite:
“Life is about accepting the challenges along the way, choosing to keep moving forward, and savoring the journey.” ― Roy T. Bennett
“In our lives there is a simple colour, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the colour of love.” -Marc Chagall
“This life is like a swimming pool. You dive into the water, but you can’t see how deep it is.” – Dennis Rodman
“When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’” -Sydney Harris
I got an interesting story to share:
20 Hyenas were hunting a Lion hunt but when they saw another Lion coming, the whole scenario changed. The pack of Hyenas decide to escape instead.
Life is all about unity.
However strong you might be in this world, you may face severe stress and backlashes sometimes from your enemies if you are fighting alone. Family and friends are important part in our life. They’ll provide you with all kinds of support to stay strong and fight in these situations.
You can’t win a battle alone!
Just want to share something here Spencer if you don’t mind.
According to the OECD’s ‘How’s Life? 2015’ report.
Health received the highest percentage of ratings, with 10.5%. Life satisfaction, at just 0.1% below, follows closely in second place. Education completes the top 3 at exactly 10%.
The rest of the list is comprised of varied factors, from safety in 4th, jobs in 8th and civic engagement in 11th.
It is a really shocking report imo as I never expect people to take certain things such as Health and Education for granted. Life satisfaction can usually be achieved after attainting the key parts in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
On the topic of introspection.
I believe I am the only one who finds existential thoughts disturbing.
I used to live in my right brain, admiring the beauty of the present moment. Ever since college though, I question everything about the nature of my existence, relating the past to the future.
I miss the naivety of life. I wish there was a way of training the habit of my mind back to actually experiencing emotion and not observing it. Maybe I have a slight dissociative personality disorder.
It is entirely possible to live in the moment without constant introspection.
That is much the goal of the zen philosophy. Some old school psychoanalysts like Jung actually liked to refer to the consciousness as the “ego-consciousness”, considering the two inseparably linked.
What you’re really doing is taking in the external social setting and applying it to your knowledge and understanding of people, leveraging your theory of mind quite extensively to make sense of it.
Any application of the Theory of Mind is a comparison of yourself to “the other”, and furthermore, your knowledge and understanding is not only incomplete, but also biased (or rather, emotionally loaded) due to past experiences.
Since we are discussing about instropection, this is my take on it.
Lately I’m finding myself spending quite a lot of time just… Thinking. (and that’s in the range of 3 hours or more daily). A large amount of this is simply running through an absurd amount of potential future and various past conversations. What I’d say, what they’d say… And most of these conversations are one-on-one with a friend.
Other topics will simply be evaluating my feelings–why I’m happy, why I’m sad, whether I’m interested in someone, etc.
How about you consider journaling? Starting a journal is one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. It’s like introspection on paper (and since I am a visual learner, writing them down with my colour pens really helps a lot). You can return to your journal in decades and laugh at yourself.
I would highly encourage (mindfulness) meditation. If you’re doing it properly, meditation will give you a greater level of intimacy with yourself.
I hate being mentally weak (and a low self esteem). I constantly whine to my friends and colleagues and I constantly compare myself to others. When things go bad, I would give up entirely and suicidal thoughts in my mind sometimes. I hate living like this on Earth. I want to change but any change I try to make me feel overwhelming and anxious all the time.
I don’t have a good income so I cannot afford any therapy.
Well, it sounds like you are pretty overwhelmed. The picture I get in my head is that you must feel like you are drowning in the ocean and keep on getting hit by waves! That’s a really horrific position to be in.
Sometimes, people get this notion that they are just not good enough. And that everything that they do is wrong. And when things go wrong it is because you made a wrong decision (even if the thing that went wrong was by pure chance).
Sorry to hear about your situation.
Do your best by putting yourself into uncomfortable situations, and try to push through them.
Each experience will raise your self-confidence and appreciation for life.
Finally, consider moving to another province or country before ever thinking of killing yourself, you have nothing to lose by moving or travelling. You might have a different perspective of life by being in a new environment.
Books on Emotional Intelligence helps you to tackle understanding your emotions, and Mindfulness helps with the self awareness portion. This pair work really well together.
Thank you everyone for your kind words and advice.
I will do my best to look forward and read some books to self help.
Exercise and meditation will help you greatly and both activities are free.
The 8 Different Types of Love 😀 It’s so interesting to read about it.
As a Christian, I read Lewis’s The Four Loves, which used such concepts. A lot of Christian writing are made much of agape (although this book was the first time I’d seen anything about storge, which is tough to distinguish from philia).
In my last year of college, my Ancient-Greek professor said that by the first century CE, the various love terms had become indistinguishable and interchangeable over time.
Agape is a semi-rare name in my culture. I was wondering if it was a coincidence. I looked up the word and it has Christian roots so I’m assuming it’s not.
I love this article. It really helps me get a clearer look at what kind of love I am and am not looking for, and the only ones here I’m not interested in are eros, mania and probably not philia.
I am a minimalist.
For me, it was not being able to find things and having to spend money on new things. And for some reason, I like to have less stuff so I can move quickly if a cool opportunity comes up. And living like a slob contributed so much to my depression and general lethargy.
So what made you a minimalist?
I am wondering if anyone, including medical professionals in the field of psychedelic research have found a “way” or technique for successfully achieving states of self-transcendence using psychedelics.
I believe that the state of self-transcendence is the most important aspect of the psychedelic experience, that is the experience that can bring people together more effectively.
Psychedelic can be used to retrieve memories or release trauma, but as someone who has had a pretty smooth life up until now, releasing trauma is not my main interest. I want to understand how to achieve self-transcendence with psychedelics.
Let me know if you have any tips. Thanks 😀
For me, there is no inducing it. I just have to focus on my breathing.
Next time you are tripping, try it out. Usually, you just focus on your breathing. It takes a second to take hold. You just have to let go of all thought and keep focused and this is how I have reached a transcendent state every time.
Personally, it’s really about quelling that inner voice and letting the drug take hold of everything.
Self-transcendence is the realization of no self. If you’re looking for that, I recommend you give up.
How can you, as an ego, realize that there is not a separate you?
There is no technique to reach such a state because it isn’t a state. The harder you look for it, the more elusive it becomes.
I think you will have the experiences you’re primed to have.
Just having been exposed to the concept of self-transcendence and to the idea that psychedelics induce that state should be enough for you to have an experience that seems transcendent to you.
What that actually means is another story.
I tend to be stubborn on that front, but you’ll relate properties of transcendence to the unusual phenomena and mental states you experience.
Therefore, who can tell the difference?
Do consider Electromagnetic Entrainment and Brain Hemisphere Syncing.
Happiness definitely is a choice. But I think the point is that happiness doesn’t come from external things — a new job, a different haircut or a new sex life. Those aren’t things to tie your happiness to. Happiness comes from within, from the way you interpret all of the hassles that day-to-day life throws at you.
We all realized at some point in life that there is no “there” there and decided to focus on happiness instead of goals.
But that’s just replacing one false end-goal with another.
It’s all about the process my dear friend!
So what do you think about the new 7 wonders?
I believe its a total crap.
How can STATUE OF LIBERTY make it in the list.
Petra is amazing and I had an unforgettable experience there.
I actually spent the entire day from sunrise to sunset and hiked for a long 10 miles on that day.
I’ve been dying to go back and hope my wife will follow me this time.
I have been to all of the old 7 Wonders.
Not too sure about the new 7 wonders….
Most of my visits were pre selfie sticks and tourist hordes. Corcovado/Jesus was average but the riding up the mountain experience and the view were the most impressive. Petra and Wadi Rum are my favorite. I didn’t go into the Colosseum so that’s the only one I didn’t visit
For Ikegai, this is my personal take.
I haven’t studied eastern philosophy extensively, but enough to know this diagram does not depict Japan.
I get frustrated with the West’s tendency to turn life into this check-list algorithm of achievements and leveling up, like life is some type of video game where there’s a final moment of achievement and thus fulfillment.
Even with meditation and yoga, you can see Westerners (especially Americans) cram it into this lifestyle. “Meditate and you’ll get X result.” I hear people list off that they meditate like it’s part of their recipe for a happy life.
Meditation giving you control is literally the opposite of its purpose, since you are attempting to let go of all control and expectation. To live in a complete sense of welcoming whatever comes.
I’m not saying goal orientation or self-improvement is completely bad, I actually think there’s some benefit to the more “go forth” metaphors of western stories.
Ikegai is a Japanese word that means ‘something that makes life worth living’.
That’s all it is, and it’s not a particularly widespread or thought-about concept within Japan.
The person inside you that answers those questions can never be sated.
Even when you achieve this perfect life, that voice will always as ‘isn’t there something better?’. Listening to your heart is pop philosophy that will leave you chasing more forever. It’s ‘enlightened hedonism‘, but ultimately it is still hedonism.
I choose to find contentment and happiness now, in the midst of peril and pain. I choose to see every moment as a gift and happiness as a choice we can make in any moment. I can push on the world, but I shouldn’t expect it to move for me.
And with that. I can, however, change my mind.
I saw Spencer’s Tiktok Video on his Singapore Travel Bucketlist Challenge.
How many have you guys been to?
I checked and believe I went to almost 70% on his list.
I don’t really like those nature places. Other than those places, I have been to all of them XD
It’s an interesting list which will build over time.
There are some places that I will definitely go to with my gf during our weekends.
Thank you for helping me to brainstorm new places to explore in Singapore.
People who can afford to choose time over money are happier. Also, lots of people who have all the time in the world, and no resources find it really hard to enjoy that time.
Maybe this is an argument that money is an important contributor to happiness, as opposed to the classic “money can’t buy you happiness”.
And the classic “time is money”.
The point to note here is for people who already have stable income. If you stay where you are or work a bit less, and you can still afford necessities and rent and so on, you won’t be happier if you work more to earn more money but have little free time. Even the materialists want a breather now and then, unless they are workaholics.
This is quite interesting. I have two options when I go back to work after my maternity leave.
I can ask for more hours which would enable me to pay for some child care.
But I have actually quite enjoyed my time at home with the two kids. I could also ask for reduced hours (the contracts are for either 10, 20 or 30 guaranteed hours/week, I would step down from 20 to 10) which would still enable me to pay for some things, would let my husband invest more time into his business (which is potentially a higher earner per hour than mine anyway) and get me more time with my kids while they’re still small.
The concept “time or money” is a misleading framework. A more accurate description would be that people who valued their time more highly also reported more happiness. If you turn down $10 for your let’s say desired shoes, you didn’t choose the item over money. You just turned down an offer.
I enjoyed the article: Efficiency is the Enemy.
There are probably many tasks in your life that you are delaying doing because your brain keeps convincing you that you need to do them in the most efficient way. This is hurting your progress, and changing this thought pattern will open up your ability to get things completed.
Nice article on sharing crossing the world 4 times. Short and sweet.
Bittersweet at the end though 🙁
I think Ikigai is a terrible philosophy, or least, a terrible self-development tool, because half of it depends on something you cannot control.
It boils down to “do something you like and are good at, and pray to god that the world wants to pay you for it”.
Stop thinking about goals and milestones and start thinking about habits.
Getting disciplined is all about having those tiny positive habits that lead us on our way towards our goals.
Having clearly defined goals is important but of itself won’t help much.
You rather need to break them down into habits and then execute on them.
My personal take is to set a goal and calibrate my system and habits according to that goal.
I can see how goals can induce pressure but I think the issue lies with the goal-setting method rather than the goals themselves. Also, pressure can be a great catalyst for huge improvements if it is handled well.
Though there are certain lifetime habits that I don’t set explicit goals for (example, meditation).
If there’s a goal, it’s to keep doing the habit daily.
I can totally relate to this. This is because I have changed so much lately, I have lost lot of fat.
When people ask me how was I able to do this. I was stumped for a while.
I thought I didn’t do much, but looking at my daily habits I indeed was following a habit of “no-junk foods, simple physical workouts, simple yoga…etc…” but I wasn’t aware that I was even trying to lose weight itself.
For me, the biggest success in life is finding love and human connection.
I value that over money or power.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to get married or anything, but just to have people or a person that you truly feel a connection with. Introverts may disagree.
Success is finding love and happiness through human connection.
In my opinion, for success is about feeling satisfied with yourself and your accomplishments but also continuing to strive for self-improvement and maintaining humbleness.
It’s not about dwelling on past failures or having regrets.
Reflecting on your life and seeing that you have been a kind person and a hard worker.
For me, being successful in life is about positively affecting the lives of the people around me.
Money usually comes with that but not always.
I’ve come to the conclusion after reading the article shared above that I need to stop thinking and start doing.
We humans weren’t meant to sit around all day and think/ponder on what our life purpose is or what they should be.
It just isn’t what the brain is meant for.
It will only lead to a depressed, unlived life.
INSTEAD, STOP THINKING AND START JUST DOING THINGS. GO FOR IT.
Thank you Spencer for organizing so much information other than finances and trading on this webpage!
I am so intrigued and learnt a lot from them.