Appendix A - Case Study 1
Here is how Daniel Vassallo approaches his path to freedom.
It’s a comprehensive mentality, which allows him full autonomy over how he works, what he works on, whom he works with, and extends even beyond work…
Everything below is in his own words:
Do you want to develop a f*** you attitude?
… And become immune from the judgment of others?
… And not be at the mercy of things outside your control?
Let me share with you how I used negative visualization throughout my career to build my own f*** you attitude.
First of all, negative visualization is a technique dating back at least 2000 years where you imagine negative outcomes, and then figure out how you’d deal with them. The goal is to free yourself from the anxiety of losing what you have, or not obtaining what you want.
And a f* you attitude is your capacity to say “f* you” to people who demand that you to do something you’d rather not do. Or the ability to say “f*** it” when something outside your control affects you negatively.
So, here are a few things I tested on myself:
1. Write your resignation letter on your 1st day on the job.
Okay, I never actually did this literally, but whenever I was working for someone, I always kept an up-to-date plan of how I’d handle the situation if at any point I had to resign on the spot.
I would thoroughly plan what I’d do next, how I’d explain the resignation to my family, where I’d get the money to cover expenses until I found a new income source, how I’d handle my immigration situation, etc. And I kept that plan always up-to-date, ready for execution.
2. Go to work every day assuming you’ll get fired.
This is similar to the previous one, but much harder, since it requires preparation on how to deal with the embarrassment of getting fired.
Imagine your boss telling you that you’re fired for performance reasons. Imagine security escorting you out of the building, and having to go home in the middle of the day.
You’d always be at the mercy of others if you’re not comfortable with that possibility.
My main preparation was to be very careful to never attach any part of my identity to my employer. I made sure I never felt I belonged there. I was simply selling my time, skills, & knowledge to whoever I was employed with. This arrangement was just a business transaction.
The harder part is making your family, friends, & acquaintances think of your relationship with your employer the same way. I made sure I avoided glorifying my employer, and I voluntarily shared what I intended to do next once my current arrangement ended.
When you share your next steps, it shows that you see your current arrangement as temporary, not as your identity. Getting fired would simply let you execute your next steps earlier, rather than dent your self-worth. But build your story in advance — before you get fired!
3. Treat job interviews as a hunting task.
Before you invest any time & energy preparing for a job interview, make yourself comfortable with the idea that it could be for nothing. I took every job interview expecting a rejection. If I got an offer, it was just a bonus.
The same attitude can be taken with college admissions or exam results. Expect a failure. Get comfortable with it. Imagine how you’d deal with the failure, and how you’d recover from it. If you get lucky and don’t get a failure, you simply win one additional option.
4. Assume all your wealth can disappear overnight.
A strange phenomenon happens when you accumulate some wealth. You start worrying more about not losing it, rather than how to benefit from it. The way I free myself from this “burden” is to mentally write it all off.
Imagine waking up tomorrow to find that your wealth has shrunk by 90%. It could be a stock market crash, a flash economic recession, hyperinflation, defaults of gov bonds, or something else we can’t even contemplate yet.
As soon as I had a plan on how I’d recover from that scenario, a lot of new options opened in front of me. Instead of worrying about preserving my wealth, I started seeing how I could use my wealth to design my lifestyle in a way that better matched my preferences.
Then if something outside of my control forces me to make a lifestyle regression, it’s no big deal. I can say “f*** it.” I’ve already imagined how it would be, how I’d transition into it, and how I’d cope with it. It also helps that most likely I have already lived it.
5. Have no expectations.
Imagine if you never got another promotion or another raise. Imagine if you had to live in your current house for the rest of your life. Imagine if 30 years from now you’d still be driving the same car. Imagine if you never retired from work.
Getting comfortable with no expectation of any improvement is probably the easiest step towards a f*** you attitude. Preparing for a downgrade is probably more important, but much harder. At the very least, expect no upgrades.
In many cases, the lack of f*** you money can be compensated by a lack of desire. If you don’t want anything from anyone, you won’t be beholden to anybody.