What Limits Do We Place on Ourselves

March 5, 2018

The person is free who lives as they wish, neither compelled, nor hindered, nor limited – whose choices aren’t hampered, whose desires succeed, and who don’t fall into what repels them. Who wishes to live in deception – tripped up, mistaken, undisciplined, complaining, in a rut? No one. These are base people who don’t live as they wish; and so, no base person is free.

Epictetus, Discourses, 4.1.1 – 3a

Incredibly deep. Epictetus was describing financial independence almost 2,000 years ago and it still isn’t as popular as it should be.

While many people focus on the retirement aspect of FIRE (financial independence and early retirement), many of us simply focus on the financial independence portion, because we want what Epictetus describes in those first two sentences. To live as we wish, neither compelled, nor hindered, nor limited.

The daily stoic meditations talked about how sad it is how much time each day we spend on things we have to do, while not recognizing that we have made ourselves slaves in ways that we ought not to have.

A question for you coming out of this quote.

What limitations have I placed on myself?
What limitations have you placed on yourself?

I want to say that I don’t have too many limitations at this stage of my life, nor are they self-imposed.

Taking a step back, I realized I have placed a very large limitation on myself.

I placed a large limitation on myself in the last five years. Something my wife protested heavily.

Five years ago, we were living in a townhouse in one of the nicer areas of the city. We’d managed to buy it many years ago at a downtime in the market so we did not have a significant mortgage. We had flexibility. Effectively, we were largely financially independent at that lifestyle level or close thereto. We were a maximum five years away.

I could not erase my cravings though, my desires for a single family home, so I continued to push my wife, challenge her, reconcile how we could achieve my dreams and, unfortunately, she acquiesced to my desires.

We are now living in our home and don’t get me wrong. I love it. It has been an absolute blessing through covid. I cannot over-emphasize how much I want this house in my life for the next 20+ years; however, this house has become a noose around my neck. With the house in the cards, financial independence is far away. A clear limitation if I have ever seen one.

Today, I read a lot on twitter, interacted with fellow financial independence and personal finance writers, coaches and consultants and spend time trying to learn social media, mindfulness, Buddhism and the coaching business.

This does take time away from my family. From my self-development. Is it time wasted? Is it time I should be spending elsewhere?

I think it is time well spent.

It is not wasted.

Why those answers?

Learning social media automation and all that comes with it can only be positive in the future. Building relationships with other financial independence authors is beneficial for me to learn more about my future path.

A great example of limitations we place on ourselves is from DocG of Diverse FI who wrote Who Owns the Keys to Your Golden Handcufs today. That was two days in a row it feels he’s written an article that is straight out of the Daily Stoic meditations and journal.

Clint Murphy

Until next time,

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