Here we are, another year. But this time, the year ends in an 8, and you know what that means? Well, nothing really. Except, I’m feelin’ pretty good about this year. It’s going to be a bad-ass year, full of shine and light on dumb-ass-ness. At least I hope.
I’m so confident about this year, in fact, that I’ve decided to make my very own “Don’t Be A Dumb Ass” to-do list, full of things I should (or should not) do during this year to accomplish my goal of anti-dumb-assery.
You ready? Let’s see how many of these I can accomplish.
My Don’t Be A Dumb Ass to-do list
Don’t make resolutions – It’s no secret I hate resolutions. They are tough for most of us to keep and, quite frankly, I’ve never found them particularly helpful with improving my life in any way, shape or form.
Just say “yes”, except when I want to say “no” – I’m dubbing this year “the year of the hustle”. I’m getting involved in as much as I can. Volunteering for whatever. Doing as much as I can to see what’s out there. I want to know everything that’s possible in early retirement. Consulting. Contract work. Whatever. I’m game for anything this year, and I’ll evaluate what worked and what didn’t at the end of it.
Don’t rush – I’ve slowed way the hell down since I retired early from full-time work, and it’s made an amazing difference in my life in virtually every way. I go at my own pace because life isn’t a race. In fact, if life were a race to the end, I’d volunteer to finish last…cause, you know…death, and all.
Oh, and this one also includes the rate in which we travel the country. Last year, we traveled relatively quickly. This year, we’re trying something very different. Slower travel. More campgrounds. More time to just relax a bit and get to know the area that we’re settled in at the moment.
Accept failure – Sometimes, things don’t work out. That’s fine. If life were perfect, it would be a damn taco. But, it’s not a taco. It’s not perfect. Things happen. Unexpected things. And, things we probably could have avoided if we paid more attention. Failure is okay. Accept it when it comes and take that failure as an opportunity to learn and do better.
Make a shit-ton of money – Okay, this one isn’t strictly necessary, but like I said in my performance review, I have this thing about cash flow. I’m not sure where it’s coming from, but I want some cash coming in. Last year, we averaged just under $1,000 a month with neither of us working full-time jobs, which is pretty damn good. In 2018, I want to see how far we can take those opportunities to maximize those beautiful greenbacks.
Become “one” with my hunch – You ever get those feelings? Those feelings where you say “Eh, it’s just a hunch”? Yeah, those are good feelings. More times than not, they don’t lead you to a cliff. Instead, they lead to safety. To a bowl full of super-creamy frosting that you’d give anything to just dive into. I often follow my hunch, but there are times when I’ve ignored it – typically to my own peril. I want that bowl full of frosting. I’m following that hunch to the freakin’ grave, baby. Of course…if my hunch does its job, it won’t be the grave that we’ll end up at!
A little research goes a long way – At the gym, it’s super easy to tell when someone hasn’t even done the least bit of research about how to properly perform an exercise. But, this also happens in other facets of life. Be it driving, writing or anything else, a little damn research can go a long way to squeezing the most out of everything that you do. Seriously, it takes like five minutes with Google and/or YouTube. Want to avoid pouring coolant all over your engine bay? YouTube it and watch someone else do it right. Or, do you have an interest in properly performing a lane-change with a vehicle with perfectly-operational blinkers? Perhaps a Google search will help. Ugh.
Believe it or not, YOU may not have all the answers. Someone else out there probably does it better and quicker than you. Learn from them. I try my very best to do just that every chance I get.
Surround myself with super-competent people – I’ve recently taken this one to heart, and I’m definitely continuing that habit. Instead of making yourself feel smarter by surrounding yourself with idiots, hang around those who are clearly better and more experienced than you. Last year working with J$ is the clearest example in my life of how much that works!
Don’t spend all our money and jump in front of a train – Courtney thinks this one is fairly unlikely, but I felt compelled to include it anyway. Doing such a thing would be pretty dumb, methinks.
Stop cussing so much – Haha, just kidding.
So, tell me: What’s on your Don’t Be A Dumb Ass to-do list? Oh, and happy new year I suppose. Let’s hope you stop getting that greeting before March. 🙂
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.