As a guy who talks about money from the standpoint of early retirement, I get a LOT of hate. And I mean, a ton of it. By now, I’ve heard everything in the book.
I’m either doing something wrong, being overly risky, sacrificing the nicer things in life, spending too much money, not spending enough money, not a “real” investor because I like targeted retirement funds, not “leveraging” money enough, etc, etc, etc.
Here’s the truth in all of this: Opinions are a dime-a-dozen. Everybody has one. And, most people are more than willing to provide their opinion (even before you ask for it!), aren’t they?
You’ll never be able to avoid the wrath of other people’s opinions.
But, one thing you can do is recognize this plain truth: We cannot possibly live a healthy and successful life based solely on the opinions of others. If we did, we would be in a constant state of change. And, that’s not being true to ourselves. It would also be quite exhausting.
So, how can we live our lives in a way that we stay true to ourselves while avoiding the near-crippling amount of hate from other people that we all seem to get?
Think of your life as a big science experiment.
In science, trial-and-error is the name of the game. Scientists test a hypothesis to see if it works under certain conditions. If it does, that’s great. If not, they try something else.
Your life is largely the same. It’s a trial-and-error science experiment.
- First, you try. Maybe it’s living more frugally. Or cutting back on soda, or nixing your cable TV service. Maybe it’s driving less during the week.
- Then, you observe the results. Did those changes work for you and your family? If they did, then it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks. They worked for you under your conditions. But if it didn’t work, try something else.
- Finally, you repeat this process over and over. The experiments never end. Through trial and error, you keep getting better. Stronger. More efficient. And yes, even richer.
Someone else’s experiments might yield different results, and that’s fine.
It’s their experiment, not yours.
When someone throws hate your way, they do so by assuming their scientific conditions match yours, and therefore, what works for them will also work for you.
This is flatly incorrect. And frankly, a dangerous assumption.
But, does that mean we should ignore anything and everything that goes against our “truth”? Of course not. There is lots to learn from other people.
It means that we shouldn’t immediately lose confidence in what we’re doing based on other people’s criticisms (and hate). Doing this will drive most of us bananas.
And, here’s the brilliant part in all this: If you feel so compelled, all you need to do is run it through your trial-and-error system to see if someone else’s perspective works for you.
You never know what you might discover!