Earlier this year, I wrote a post titled, The Ten Things You Need to Do Daily to Become Financially Independent. In case you didn’t read this post, and don’t want to now, here are those ten things.
1. Spend at least 15 minutes cleaning something.
2. Spend at least 15 minutes exercising.
3. Make your breakfast and your lunch.
4. Read at least one personal finance blog post or one page from a personal finance book.
5. Save the amount necessary to reach your saving goals in five to ten years.
6. Invest the amount necessary to have a million dollars by the time you’re 65.
7. Keep track of your spending.
8. Spend at least 15 minutes learning something that will make you a better worker/earner.
9. Do something silly.
10. Do something nice.
What’s interesting about this list is that several of the items don’t pertain to personal finance directly. They’re more about cultivating a great life. Items 9 and 10, for instance, doing something silly and doing something nice, won’t increase your returns on your 401(k). But they will make you a more appealing person, and that is bound to have some beneficial side-effects on your finances. People are more inclined to help the nice than the surly.
In the comment section, Mrs. Picky Pincher from the Picky Pinchers blog picked up on this and made a keen insight. Here it is.
I think this is a fantastic checklist! It’s funny because FI is all about questioning the mainstream and developing your sense of self—which can be achieved with many of these activities.
I would add that you should take time to create or build something. That can take the form of journaling, cooking, drawing, etc. There’s nothing like the feeling of pride once you become a creator instead of a consumer [emphasis mine].
My reply to Mrs. Picky Pincher was a follows.
Consider my mind BLOWN! Excellent insight, Mrs. PP. Somehow I got to incorporate creating and building into my revised checklist (perhaps habit #11). One of the things that troubles me most about the de-industrialization of America is that we build fewer and fewer things. There’s only one person in my social circle who actually makes something for a living. Everyone else provides a service. Of course, creating and building isn’t only limited to the workplace. But here too, the act of creating and building seems to be waning. How many Americans do you know have a workshop in the garage or basement? When I was growing up, workshops were very common. Practically every home on the block had one. Nowadays? Not so much. Sigh. I don’t think you can be fully human unless you create and build.
A Happier Life Through Creating
Now, claiming that someone can’t be fully human unless he or she creates something is probably a tad overblown. But here’s something I’m positive about when it comes to creating: it will make you happy.
I first become aware of this phenomenon when I was in the second grade, way back in 1969. Our school had an art contest and I won for my grade with a drawing of a clown (see below). I was so proud. All the winning drawings were hung on the wall in the principal’s office. When the principal retired some ten years later, he called my mom and asked her if she wanted the drawing. My mom said “yes,” of course.
Oddly enough, while I learned about the connection between creating and happiness at a young age, I didn’t become mindful of creating until much later in life. In other words, my creating wasn’t purposeful. I didn’t do it out of habit. I did it when the inspiration struck me.
But, thankfully, that’s no longer the case. For at least five years now, I’ve been a mindful creator. Hardly a day goes by when I’m not working on bringing something to life. This blog is a great example of that.
Lately, I’ve been focusing my creative muscles on mobile app development. I downloaded an app to track my “miracle morning” activities, but it just wasn’t suited to my needs. For one thing, it had way more bells and whistles than I needed. I didn’t need a streak tally, and I didn’t need email reminders on what activity hadn’t been completed. The biggest limitation of this app was that the free version limited me to tracking five activities. And I have six activities in my miracle morning routine, by gum!
So rather than pay for the more robust version, or download another miracle morning-like app to track my one additional activity, I decided to create my own. Below is a screen shot of my miracle morning app to date. It’s basically done. I can enter as many activities as I need, flag each activity as it’s completed, and trash an activity when it’s no longer part of my miracle morning. My app even retains my activities from one session to the next. There’s no need to re-enter my activities every time I open the app. The only thing my app doesn’t do is reset all my activities for the next day in a single step. Right now you have to reset each activity to “not completed” manually. I hope to have a functional reset button added to my app soon.
Is my miracle morning app amazing? Hell no! As far as apps go, it’s rather pathetic. But how many 55 year olds can say they’ve created their own app? And while creating this pathetic app has brought much joy to my life, it will bring even more joy to my life when it’s sitting on my phone in a week or two.
Okay, groovy freedomists, that’s all I got. Here are the key takeaways from this post. First, if you’re not familiar with Mrs. Picky Pincher, become familiar with her. She’s a terrific blogger and I especially love her frugal weekend wrap-ups and her cat pictures (Zap rocks!). Second, if you want more happiness in your life, become a mindful creator.
Have a wonderful weekend. Peace.
P.S. Oh, shoot. I’m sorry. I almost forgot to point out that I did another episode of Talking Trash. Here it is. I’m a little curmudgeony in this one. I rail against sports.