FIXed: How to be more free...
This is an article about how consumerism and the 'have it now not later' culture we live in is slowly fucking us and our freedom to pursue our dreams.
I think this is a problem and what annoys me is that this is actively pushed by capitalism and consumerism. What we believe to be opportunity nearly always ends up locking us into a commitment, or FIXing us . But before we get to the juicy stuff a brief lesson in British military doctrine…
In the military to help ensure everyone in the team is interpreting the mission in the same way, a lexicon of what are known as effect verbs are used and doctrinally defined.
For example the commander might say he wants to ‘ Defeat the enemy on Objective A’ and then say he wants to ‘Destroy the enemy on Objective B’ to the uninitiated or non-military person you may assume this commander wants to achieve the same thing on both objectives. But of course, you would be wrong, or at least a little bit wrong.
Let me explain.
The doctrinal definition of Defeat is to :
Diminish the effectiveness of the enemy to the extent that his is unable or unwilling to participate further in the battle or at least cannot complete his mission.
The definition of Destroy is to :
Damage an object or enemy force so that it is rendered useless to the enemy.
Now that we understand those definitions we can see that the subtlety in the difference actually means I have a lot more options available if I just have to Defeat the enemy. If I have to Destroy the enemy then I basically have to roll up my sleeves and go and kill everything on the objective, whereas I could potentially Defeat the same enemy with a precision strike from afar.
Side Note* The requirement to Destroy bad guys is
probably the main reason we have
Infantry/marines…someone’s got to
go and make sure that bad
guy doesn’t have the ability to
influence the battle.
Anyway the reason I wanted to explain that is the title of this article uses the word FIXed , this unsurprisingly has a doctrine definition. It means to remove the enemy's freedom of action and ability to achieve his goals . So basically, to prevent the enemy (or thing) from moving and sometimes from communicating.
Are you FIXed?
I think this term is highly applicable to civilian life...
I’m going to make a bold statement and claim that 90% of people who live in the western world are FIXed in their current life circumstances.
People may want to change things or do something different but their circumstances, that are most of the time self inflicted mean they can't do what they want. They are FIXed.
For example, lets play a game of put your hand up, Put you hand up and keep it up if you have any of the following:
· A Mortgage?
· A rental agreement greater then 18months?
· A motor loan or finance agreement?
· A phone contract?
· A loan?
· Credit card debt?
You get the point, we all have these things to a varying degree. Now if I said pack all your stuff up and move jobs/relocate to another part of the country you would struggle. Because you have a financial burden that you are legally beholden to pay and that fixes you to a specific set of circumstances.
Lets play another round of put your hand up if…
· Do you have kids in school?
· Do you have a medical condition that requires specific care?
· Do you have a geographically focussed group of friends?
· Does your job require you to go to the ‘office’ or employers site?
All these things further compound the restrictions on our lives, further FIXing us to a specific box, which normally comes with a specific way we must think.
A lot has been written about financial freedom, but I feel like most of what has been written is missing the point. That point is 2 fold:
We like to be FIXed.
Society wants us to be FIXed.
Point 1 is linked to our desire for routines, we like building the nest but I feel that the nest is stifling us, our loved ones and a our creativity.
Point 2 is the venomous essence of consumerism, we are all cattle to be milked gradually month on month through various finance arrangements, legal commitments and other non financial social factors.
Do I have an answer for this, not really, in fact some people reading this will be more then happy to be FIXed and milked on a monthly basis. The level to which we choose to be FIXed in our circumstances should be a deliberate decision!
For me I dislike the idea of being FIXed.
My dislike for this has been realised recently when I did my budget and realised that 80% of my monthly income was going on predetermined finance stuff. Now I’m on the extreme end mid way through a divorce from a person who is doing all they can to fuck me over financially. But the point stands...Im fixed in certain aspects of my circumstances.
If I wanted to earn less money and be a full time Viking enthusiast I can't, because of Adult stuff, the good news is that I’m only partially FIXed, I'm FIXed in a job band that must pay a certain amount.
Im not fixed geographically, I don’t have a long term rental agreement and I own a campervan so can fuck off pretty much when I want to, client meetings and 4G dependant.
3 Steps to Un FIXing yourself to enable you to pursue that dream and be more free:
Do a budget. Identify finance agreements and dedicated outgoings. Then make a plan to either accept these or remove these. Just because you have a mortgage doesn’t mean you are FIXed, however if you can’t rent your house out for more / the same as your mortgage then you may be FIXed.
Stop buying stuff on credit. By this I mean don’t take out a phone contract because you want the latest phone NOW. Save up over a few months and buy it outright, you then have a depreciating asset rather than a complete liability. Cars are a big one here, do you need to be paying hundreds of pounds (or Dollars or Euros…) on a fancy car? Probably not. (More on this soon look out for to an article on the Art of the minimal viable product)
Decide how you will spend your new found freedom. Why bother doing all this if you don’t have a way of enjoying your newfound freedom? Also, this is a key part of understanding to what degree you need to un FIX yourself. If you just want to play golf on a Friday morning there are probably a number of ways of creating this freedom. If you want open your own Yoga Studio and run it full time then you probably need to seriously plan how you are going to make the transition.
I’ve taken an extreme tone throughout, but I think the concept of being FIXed is an important one that is lost on most of us.
What decisions are you making now that will FIX or stifle your ambitions in the future?
What level of freedom are you willing to give up to achieve your personal happiness goals?
I suppose the hope I have in writing this article is that someone can properly analyse their life and decide what level of freedom they are willing to live with. Do you want to #Vanlife it and have very little holding you down but perhaps not as many creature comforts, or do you want to #Houselife and build an epic nest for all your mates and family to enjoy but at the expense of having to work 50 hours a week and only taking 1 holiday a year….
The decision is yours, I hope I’ve managed to trigger the brain juices a little bit and perhaps help you along your path through life.
God Bless, Dave.