What Really Matters

Prioritizing The Important Things In Life

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A few weeks ago I was poached by a competitor. A recruiter reached out through the DMs on LinkedIn, which is ironic because I never update my bio or log in to check it.

I decided to go through with the conversation, fully well knowing it could lead me down a new career path that I wasn't sure I was ready to take yet.

The conversations went great. They were open, respectful, and candid. The numbers haven't been put on my lap but from estimates, I could likely see a 50-60% bump in total compensation if I make the switch.

Sounds like a slam dunk right? It's not.

Freedom vs Fiat

The pandemic opened up an entire new world for me. One that doesn't require my leg shackled to an office cubicle for 8-10 hours a day.

So the choice I am now faced with is flexibility (freedom) or money.

But I'm at a crossroads in my life.

I just finished building a new house. I have 3 small kids under 5 that demand my undivided attention every day. I currently have the freedom and flexibility to do my job and mostly just be left alone to let me cook.

To take this new role, I would have to give up a healthy amount of my currently enjoyed freedoms, and I'm not sure if that's what I want yet. It would also require me to go back to the office at least 4 days a week (Larry Fink golf clap).

At some point, the extra money in the bank just doesn't matter. I'll likely never own an expensive boat, or a lake house, or a timeshare in Vail, or whatever it is that the uber rich people throw their money at. And that's just fine. I've accepted that reality--a long time ago, mind you.

There's a constant battle between time, money, and the freedom both can offer. It's up to your own personal aspirations to decide what's more important to you.

If I become a workaholic and make a lot of money but never have time to spend it, what's the point? If I miss spending quality time with my kids as they grow up but I have hundreds of thousands of dollars more in the bank, what's the point?

If you are struggling to put food on the table or living paycheck to paycheck then of course money should be the main focus over time. But as you become more financially stable, your priorities may start to shift more towards gaining more time and freedom. Everyone is different.

Take, for instance, this insanely twisted post by Mr. Wonderful. (Note: Yes it is real, I had to temporarily unblock him on Twitter to take the screenshot to confirm it.) While I debated even adding the tweet to the blog post, or even mentioning his name, I decided it could be used as a good teaching moment.

Kevin appears to lack empathy and has his priorities mixed up from what a normal caring human or functioning member of society would likely say.

What truly matters is that you not only achieve success and attain freedom, but also receive unwavering support from your loved ones throughout your journey. It doesn't matter if you achieve success and become free if you have no one to share your victories with. It is a sad, lonely existence. Mostly because you begin to value objects over people, just as Kevin begins to cry looking at a god damn watch.

Another example of misaligned priorities is prioritizing work over your family. You'll never hear someone on their deathbed say "I wish I would have worked more or went to more meetings." It's always the opposite.

What really matters?

Ultimately, what holds true value in life is being present for your friends and family in their time of need, rather than relinquishing your integrity for the sake of money or material possessions. Moreover, it involves supporting others in their endeavors towards financial autonomy, rather than leveraging their potential for personal gain. It also means abstaining from climbing the ladder of success at the expense of others.

Taking a moment to pause and reassess your priorities from time to time is crucial.