There is one characteristic of American society that is antithetical to financial independence and that is the need for instant gratification.
From sex to money, to retail therapy, too many people sacrifice their long term interests to satisfy their fleeting short term appetites.
This general inability to delay gratification has significant deleterious consequences in nearly every aspect of your life. The married man that can not master his sexual impulses and practices infidelity can not have a healthy satisfying relationship with his wife or any woman for that matter.
The woman that lives beyond her means, derives self worth from the opinions of her peers, and therefore can not control her impulse to buy designer clothes will never be free on two levels. For one her peers control her happiness and therefore she is a slave to what the Greeks called ‘doxa,’ common opinions, and 2) she’ll always have to work to live, unless she marries rich, but like all addictions access to the drug only intensifies the addiction.
The young adult who consistently makes the decision to go out and party with friends instead of study for his professional credentialing exams is making a grave mistake.
In all three examples mentioned each person failed to exercise self discipline and sacrificed what was best for them in the long term for what was pleasurable, satisfying, or fun in the moment.
Before the rapper Drake made Y.O.L.O. (You Only Live Once) a popular term amongst teens, there was a Latin phrase that conveyed a similar message, ‘carpe diem,’ seize the day.
In many aspects of life, carpe diem is sound counsel, but it is important to not cop out of your long term dreams by saying “YOLO!.” If you were to make sacrifices for let’s say 6 years and at the end of 6 years you had achieved financial freedom and could live with complete autonomy would you take that route?
Carpe diem is all about taking life by the horns and doing what you know in your heart is right. I’m of the firm belief that those that plan their life out intentionally and set out to do whatever is necessary to achieve their goals are the ones who are seizing the day.
In any event having the fortitude of saying no to a cookie today for a cake tomorrow is an invaluable personal attribute to possess in the pursuit of financial freedom and any worthwhile endeavor.