About Voluntary Simplicity-not just for lazy slobs like meSubmitted by Smudge Pot on Mon, 06/25/2012 - 14:24
OK so I have this business that I'm very proud of, a technology development shop and we have two things that are rather uncommon in our industry:
1. We've been around for over a decade.
2. We have a STERLING reputation, we have never let a client down.
Our movement also has this really sharp young developer/consultant called George Shepherd. He really is great, he knows how to focus in on a good idea and make it work and he was kind enough to spend some time on the phone with me.
One question he asked was how much more money do I want to make and I told him $0. I'm making the exact amount of money that I want to make.
He asked how much is that and I told him a grand. $1k per month.
And I heard crickets for a few long seconds and then George told me there's nothing he can do for me. I think he saw me as an uncommitted client.
As a consultant myself, I see the point, I don't touch uncommitted clients with a 10 foot pole but I think he missed something of great value.
Voluntary simplicity is a value system. It's all about getting by with less and using your brains and "work smarter not harder" and respecting the Earth and making quality time for friends, family and especially children. And by simplifying life down to basics, you get a lot of stress break and you are actually HAPPY.
Now given, simplicitarians give up some things like mobility, I cannot afford to travel to Greece or Spain where people need conservative activists, I cannot charter a plane to party in Vegas. I cannot afford desperately needed medical care and I am literally dying. But it's my simple life. I don't ask for anything and I don't have anything I didn't work for and pay cash for up front.
I'm gonna die not owing a single penny to any living person or any agency. I even got my burial plot hooked up and paid for. All anybody has to do is dig a hole and roll me into it. Don't even want a coffin. WHAT GOOD IS FURNITURE IF YOU ARE DEAD?
And I think people get the wrong idea. I am actually a home owner. Yup, whole house, MINE. Given it's on wheels but I AM SO HAPPY IN MY LITTLE HOUSE. It's so pretty with the wood paneling and huge windows, it has a real kitchen and a real bathroom and a hot water heater and a stove and a fridge and a microwave and a TV that hasn't been plugged in in over a decade and it has closets and skylghts and a furnace to keep me warm in winter and a swamp cooler to keep me cool in summer and 3 quad-core computers running fulltime and still I spend about $25 a month in electricity.
And most of all, I AM HAPPY. Every window I look out of I see trees. Every morning I am awoken by the songs of birds.
And I owe nothing to any living man woman or child monetarily. I give away more than I keep for myself. That's how I keep my shop running. I take what I need and give the rest to my people. They want more money and it's part of my job to get it to them because that's what friends do: they help you get what you want in life so they can be happy.
Paradoxically, I'm almost always working. People say Smudge, you are so smart you could have any job you want and I tell them "I'm willing to work as hard as necessary not to have one".
And it's not exactly work if you like doing it. It's more like entertainment. It's more like getting paid to play. Which is exactly how it feels to me. Complex business or technical challenges I just chop apart into little pieces and then I prioritise them and serialise them and I pound them out one by one and at a certain point all the pieces come together and shebang! My job is done and once again the people that rely on me start making money.
A LOT of money.
Where I am going they don't need money. I am going exactly where I want to be going in life because I know exactly where I want to go in death. I want to go home and lie with my ancestors. That is what I want. And I know I got friends that will bear me back to my mountains whole or in pieces.
I got a woman that says she loves me and kids that say the same.
So I consider myself to be a wealthy man.
But I thought I'd get your take on it. Having heard this, do you think I am living in some denial candyland? Or would you like to enjoy the simplicity? It's not like you don't work hard you just do the work you wanna do when you wanna do it.