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Have you ever been strolling along the sidewalk, head down, minding your own business, and you stumble upon a shiny quarter?
What about a buck? $20?
Mr. Accidental FIRE describes his journey to financial independence as such; he stumbled across the concept one day and realized that he had achieved FIRE.
That’s AMAZING!! Way better than finding 20 bucks or a crisp hundred!
In honor of how he reached financial independence, he named his blog Accidental FIRE. He didn’t get there by striving for a specific early retirement date as so many FIRE bloggers do today. Rather, in his own words, he worked really hard, spent way less than he made, and invested the rest.
In my mind, anyone with the wisdom to reach financial independence without being INSANELY focused has CRAZY wisdom that we should all pay attention to.
He’s an adventurer, teacher and mountain climber, who when he’s not scaling 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado, can be found sharing his mad money insights online.
I’m excited to have Mr. AF on Band of Bloggers today!
What is the one book (or books) that you have given to your friends? Or What are one to three books that have greatly impacted your life (money related or not)?
Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv, is a favorite.
Clinical evidence is conclusive that the more kids are exposed to nature and the natural world the better developed they will be. Physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. All humans are sustained by the planet and the outside environment – water, sunlight, soil to grow food etc. Yet we are increasingly separating ourselves from that natural environment more and more over time.
It’s not healthy and it’s not sustainable.
Younger Next Year would be another favorite.
We all get one body in life, so what’s the point of becoming financially independent if you’re obese and too unhealthy to enjoy it?
Our bodies are meant to move, and I fully expect to be climbing in the mountains when I’m in my 70’s and 80’s because I know some folks who do it now.
Matt’s two cents in red: This is a great reminder for me. In the last 10 years or so I’ve really been trying to take care of my body so that it won’t break down as I get older and I can stay healthy and active long into my golden years.
But this blog is sucking a lot of my time.
I know, I know, it’s no excuse.
But I’m using it as one.
And that’s a problem.
Because if I don’t get my mass in gear, my 60 year old neglected and falling apart self won’t care that my 30 year-old self blogged to be financially secure when older.
Mr. AF is right. Health is more important than wealth.
How has a failure or apparent failure, set you up for success later? Do you have a favorite success?
My first experience trying to climb a big mountain was a big failure but set me up for a lifetime of success.
We tried to climb Mt. Whitney, which is the highest peak in the contiguous 48. Not only that, but we were attempting a little-used technical route, and in the Spring, so it was still heavily snow covered.
I was young, had no experience on a big mountain, had little to no gear, and only piss and vinegar in my blood. I was wearing jeans, I kid you not!!
Needless to say, we didn’t make it.
Me and my partner got altitude sickness and were close to hypothermic from our soaked cotton clothes and had to bivy (that means just plop a sleeping bag down anywhere) on the side of the mountain overnight.
We crawled out the next morning like tired wet dogs, utterly humbled and butt-whooped by Mother Nature.
In short, the fearlessness that we attacked that climb with and the lessons of the failure taught me that you have to sometimes dive in head first when you want something.
About 5 years later, I took a teaching job at my agency with a horrible fear of public speaking and no teaching experience. I approached it like Mt. Whitney. I just dove in.
It’s my favorite success because I’m still a teacher today and on the faculty as an adjunct instructor at a local university.
I LOVE this story. The mental image of him camping on the side of a mountain in wet jeans is pretty funny.
I also love how Mr. AF didn’t use this as an excuse to give up on climbing mountains, whether of the literal or metaphorical variety.
Mr. AF has a growth mindset (so did Pete from Do You Even Blog, if you’re keeping track).
Is it a coincidence that these successful adventurers both look at the world through a lens that makes obstacles look like opportunities?
I don’t think so.
What advice would you give to a smart, industrious, newbie blogger as they start out?
Focus on good content, and use your own voice.
Posting trendy listicles or imitating how SEO bots tell you to write is not a good game plan. The kind of readers and audience that you want, the kind that come back, see through that stuff.
My second piece of advice would be don’t subject your readers to things that you don’t like yourself. If pop-ups and flashing ads all over the place annoy you when you’re on someone else’s blog, why would you put them on yours?
What one thing has been most effective for increasing traffic on your blog?
Probably replying to comments.
If someone is going to take the time out of their day to not only read my blog post but also to comment on it – especially if they have something of value to contribute to the dialog – then I’d be inconsiderate to not reply back to them, at least with a thank you.
Time is precious for everyone and I’m grateful when I get comments.
Which is better? A goal that is too small and you achieve it, or one that is too big and you don’t? Why?
Can we combine the two, make a goal that’s too big, and still achieve it?
There’s an old quote that says “if you don’t make mistakes you don’t make discoveries”.
I’m a big proponent of failure as I feel we learn far more from our failures than we do our successes. Successes will come in greater quantity and magnitude if failures are mixed in along the way.
The two have a ying/yang relationship.
Failures teach you to face fear and to have humility.
I did a post recently about a day of failure I had while ice climbing in the Adirondacks. As always, I learned a ton and it will no doubt pay off going forward.
Umm, two words.
This is what it’s all about, whether you’re dealing with money, your career or relationships.
When you view failure as being a necessary ingredient for having success, failures aren’t nearly as scary.
Yes, they’re still crappy.
Very few people I know actually LIKE failing.
But you’re able to regroup from a failure SO much quicker when you look at them as opportunities to grow and get even better at whatever it was you just sucked at.
Bringing It All Together
Mr. AF is a super interesting guy,
I don’t know too many people who accidentally achieved FIRE or who would attempt a 14,000 foot peak…in jeans! (I don’t know anyone like that, in fact)
That one story sums up much of Mr. AF’s wisdom. He has taken his past failures and used them to learn and grow. Whether it’s becoming an accomplished mountaineer or a fantastic teacher, he understands that the only way to get better at something is to actually try and fail at it.
The road to success often appears smooth to outsiders watching. For the person who is actually successful, they know the truth.
They remember the cold, wet nights on the mountain and the times they were scared spitless but powered through to find rich wisdom on the other side.
Mr, AF is one such guy. And quite a guy at that.
Accidental FIRE (Mr. AF) is a GenX outdoor adventurer and teacher who lived a mostly frugal life only to find out “accidentally” that he was financially independent before he knew it was a thing. He practices and preaches the principles of stoicism and intentional discomfort and believes many can achieve financial independence by doing the same. He writes all about it at Accidental FIRE.
What failure of yours has lead to future success? Add to the conversation in the comments below or on Twitter @method_money or my Facebook page Method To Your Money. You can also find me on Pinterest. Want more great ideas about mastering your money? Sign up to receive my weekly emails detailing how to keep more of your hard earned cash!