Stagnation is in my opinion the most dangerous aspect of the journey to financial freedom. It can be defined as “a failure to develop, progress, or advance” and “the state or quality of being or feeling sluggish and dull”. When it comes to the journey, stagnation simply means that you are not making any progress.
Now as flawed human beings it’s quite normal to stagnate from time to time regarding our responsibilities such as washing the dishes or filing a yearly tax return. The problem is that when it comes to something more daunting like financial freedom, it’s very easy to lose track of how long no progress has been made and before you know it it’s been weeks since you’ve done anything productive. These weeks turn into months, then into years, and what’s the end result? a “normal” life.
It’s perfectly “normal” to just go with the flow of life as long as it “seems” stable, even though deep inside we wish and hope for some lucky good fortune to somehow come our way. Yea it’s much easier to simply wish and hope for something better than to take daily action and put in the work to make it happen yourself. Heck, Most of us only have regular jobs because we don’t want to be homeless, hungry, and cold. If you routinely hit the snooze button on your alarm clock(like I do) than you’re only working because you have no choice. We do this for a 5 days then chill on the weekends to reboot a little for next week and the cycle continues. Stephen King once wrote that hell is repetition and this is exactly that. In order to escape the cycle you must work for yourself. Think about it, what’s the more efficient way to achieve financial freedom, putting in years of work into someone else’s company and be at their mercy regarding your career success, or working directly for yourself and skipping the corporate middle man? The answer is obvious.
To get back on point, stagnation is something you should do everything in your power to avoid. It’s a daily battle and that’s why I created a “Stagnation Log” section in the sidebar to keep me sharp. Now I know as well as anyone else how hard it is sometimes to just have a seat and get some work done, which is why I have a personal rule that as long as I do something, anything really, then I’ll be satisfied for the day. Even if it’s just one sentence for a new article or one line of code for a piece of software or a 5 minute piano practice session, it still counts. Yes, one sentence a day is abysmal but you’ll find that it’s much easier to have a seat with the intent of writing at least one line and then ending up writing a complete paragraph, or 2, or 3, and before you know it the whole thing is done(or not) and you’re in a great mood 🙂
You know what? If you’ve done absolutely anything productive on any particular day than you win that day. “Normal” people do that from time to time and they feel real good about themselves for awhile. That’s not enough for us though. We must take it to the next level and be productive for as many days in a row as we possibly can. If you start to feel burned out than slow down briefly but don’t ever stop completely. If more than 1 single day goes by without getting any work done then it’s a problem, because it’s not that difficult, even one sentence is enough.
You know those timed missions in video games where you race against the clock to get somewhere or achieve a certain score or whatever? Well the journey to financial freedom is a race against time. Different people have different priorities but I personally really want to get to the finish line before I’m 30, because I haven’t truly enjoyed myself yet due to a lifetime of school and hardcore gaming. I have now finished school and simply stopped playing video games so much, but instead of being a good little “normal” person wasting my 20’s doing a 9-5 and partying on weekends I’m doing my absolute best to continue the journey and not take the “easy” career path. Don’t get me wrong, I love having fun and one day the parties will come back with a vengeance, but not until I quit my job first. If I don’t make it by 30 though I’ll seriously consider crime, because at that point I’ll be a broken man. I truly fear that eventuality becoming a reality but I must say that fear may be the best motivator there is.
Basically you have two options, either work 5 days for 2 days your whole life, or 7 days for 0 days a part of your life and then massively enjoy the rest of it much more than those pathetic little weekends. How long will you have to trade 7 for 0? It depends on what you want, 4 days for 3? 2 for 4? 0 for 7? What type of lifestyle do you seek? rich? monk? All these aspects factor into the time It’ll take to get there, but continuous progress is the key here. So please, please, please… do yourself a favor and DON’T STAGNATE, or you’ll only be doing yourself a disservice. Your one and only life is worth more than that, don’t you think so? Know so.