I listen to a few podcasts on financial independence. In ChooseFI, there was an episode titled "Race or Journey?" They talk about how you should enjoy the present life and not try to get to FI as fast as possible. I both agree and disagree. If you are already happy with your life, there is no reason to hurry. But I think most people who are interested in FI are not happy with the current situation and want to change it. Until you get to FI, you cannot get away from your job. To me, no tricks can eliminate the pain of having a job, so I'm willing to do anything to get to FI as fast as I can. 2 years of intense race is so much better than 7 years of jogging.
The moment I discovered FI, I knew I would be good at this, because I graduated from college in 3 years despite being an international student. I did it because I was 21 years old when I was freshman and didn't want to delay entering a real world. Graduating from college and retiring early are very similar. They both have a clear goal(120 credits, investment return > expense). There is a set of rules within the system. There is little to no luck involved. You don't need a special talent as long as you know how to navigate through the system and have discipline to follow through. They are a solo activity, so you don't have to rely on other people, and you are not affected by them either. I'm very good at operating in this environment.
While I was writing the last paragraph, I realized there is another similarity between the two. Not the process of getting out of the environment, but the environment itself. College is a fake environment where they teach stuff that you think is valuable. But once you graduate, you quickly realize that most of what you learned in college is useless at work. Similarly, the work environment is fake. I'm not saying that every work is fake or useless. What I'm saying is that we are brainwashed into believing that working for 40+ years is normal. Just like college, everyone around you is doing the same thing, so you never question it.
I have a rough idea of what my post-retirement life looks like. But I'm sure I'll be doing totally different things than I planned. Humans are not very good at predicting our emotion. That’s why we chase a wrong thing only to find out it’s not what we wanted. It’s possible, though unlikely, that I will not like a post-retirement life. I might end up getting a job again after a few months. Whether I will like post-FI or not, it’s better to find out sooner so that I can adjust my life accordingly.
I majored in computer science in college and got very interested in AI. I seriously thought about doing PhD, but I decided not to do it because I knew it’s important to get some work experience first. At a first and second company, I worked on AI, and I realized that I was neither good at it nor passionate about it. So I switched to web development, which I really like. So I’m glad that I didn’t pursue PhD. Had I done that, I probably would’ve dropped out after a year or two.
You only have one life, so it’s important to shorten your feedback loop in order to keep moving in the right direction. Working towards FI is one giant feedback loop. That’s why I chose such an extreme path to get feedback as soon as possible. I might need more than $500 a month to be happy. If so, all I have to do is get a job again and increase my portfolio. I might need less than $500. If so, I actually could have retired early. The only way to find out is by reaching the goal.