On my walk yesterday, I listened to a Mad Fientist podcast. Brandon (The Mad Fientist) interviewed Ali and Joe who went from $0 net worth to retirement in five years–on teacher’s salaries.
It was an interesting chat about how they bought single family rental homes in Las Vegas–dollar cost averaging in as the real estate market tanked. Then they diversified their portfolio by buying rental properties in other locations and now they are rounding out their portfolio with stock index funds. They quit their jobs, sold everything and their passive income stream supports their life of international travel.
But here’s what really struck me. They were so grateful for what they had that it didn’t seem right to wish for more. So grateful to be living on about 30% of their earnings–remember, teacher’s salaries so not much.
These are clearly amazing people–they worked hard and took any extra earning opportunities that were available (summer school, club sponsors etc.) but earned well under $100,000 in total. They continued to live like college students–400 square foot condo, enjoyed eating in and still drove the car she got in high school. They preferred watching a sunset to watching a movie.
They did not feel they were suffering or missing out because of their gratitude. They weren’t constantly looking over their shoulders, comparing their lives to other’s and chasing that next shiny object.
A colleague once told me “I want what you have”. This is the most frightening thing anyone has ever said to me. I took this to mean that she would give up all of her relationships (including her children), her extraordinary intelligence and the life she had created to step into my life.
First of all, she’s comparing her inner life to my outer one–the Facebook conundrum. But most importantly, to spend energy, any energy at all, comparing your life to other’s is wasted energy. That energy would be better spent by being grateful for what you have: the life you have created, the special gifts you bring to the world and the things you take for granted every day.
I’ve only been up for a couple of hours but I’m already grateful for vanilla lattes, warm oatmeal, my sleeping husband and the fellowship of my pickleball friends who I’ll be playing with in a bit–oh and running water and in floor heat.
This reminds me of that scene from the jerk. We need far less than we think.
I hope I placed too much meaning on her statement and she was just having a bad day. I admit my life is pretty awesome but focused gratitude can help each of us create our own awesome lives.
What are you grateful for right now? What tools help you stay focused on gratitude?