Depression and boredom are a fact of life no matter how much money you have. But if you have a lot of curiosity, you will never get bored. You’ll always be in constant search, always trying to explore the world and see new things.
Become an explorer, see the world as your jungle, try new things, go on a quest and become genuinely interested in your environment. Get out of your comfort zone and experience something new.
How to leave your comfort zone
While we’re on the subject of comfort zones, let me say this: They have a place. Comfort zones are there for a purpose. They are our sweet spots, places where we never have to worry about what’s around the corner, or impressing people, or putting on a show. It’s where we sit and relax, binge-watch House of Cards on Netflix and lower our defenses.
Our comfort zone is a very necessary element of life, but it also shouldn’t be where we hang out all the time. We should use and enjoy it whenever we need comfort, but we don’t tend to improve ourselves when we spend every waking moment in it.
Challenges are what make us grow, and it’s all a mind game.
What happens when we begin to control our mind rather than our mind controlling us? We soon begin to REASON, and reason is good. It’s good people.
And our ability to REASON is what gets us out of our comfort zones and enables us to make better decisions in pursuit of our goals – by using opportunities that did not otherwise exist.
For example, trying a new restaurant every night might sound wonderful – after all, our mind wants that level of satisfaction. But, our ability to REASON intervenes. If we eat too much restaurant food, we grow fat and unhealthy. Our standard of living sinks. If our health gets bad enough, we may die. And yeah, it’s also super expensive.
And likewise, our mind tells us that spending money on useless crap will make us happy, and happiness brings us comfort. Spending money may give us a feeling of temporary happiness. But soon, that happiness fades, and our mind begins to want more happiness, and we sink back into our comfort zone. The expensive and destructive cycle continues to press on.
Successful early retirees challenge themselves by controlling their mind and making decisions that support their goals. In many cases, these decisions may not feel comfortable.
After all, saying “no thanks” to a restaurant invitation is not comfortable for many of us. Buying the used Toyota Camry instead of the new Infinity can screw with our heads by giving us the impression that we aren’t successful enough to drive the nicer car. Canceling our HD television service or downgrading our cell phone definitely isn’t what makes the majority of us happy and comfortable.
But, making these uncomfortable decisions often do enable us to take more control of our financial situation, shed the wasteful obligations that society foists upon us and achieve our goals – whatever those goals happen to be.
Comfort zones are necessary, but we’re wise to keep them at arm’s length.
After all, there are so many places to see, things to learn, foods and beers to taste, people to talk to, adventures to be had. People worry they will get bored when they retire early. It certainly hasn’t happened for us and a big part of that is we are endlessly curious, we move our home wherever we want to explore something new and we are constantly learning and trying to improve.
They say curiosity killed the cat….well it’s what is fueling our fire for life pst FIRE.
From the late Anthony Bourdain:
“If I am an advocate for anything, it is to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.”
Photography from our curiosity
You may have figured out that I’m quite the photo buff. I don’t use expensive equipment, but I know how to use the equipment I have. Through our naturally-curious nature, we explore as much of our nation as we can and marvel at the endless beauty that, sadly, not many people get to experience.
Below is just a small sampling of photographs I’ve captured just this year in our full-time traveling lifestyle.
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.