Everyone lives their lives trying to not be boring. They don’t want to live like everyone else. They don’t want to seem average. People prove they’re not boring by buying nice houses, interesting cars, fashionable clothes. “I couldn’t possibly be boring. Just LOOK at me!” In this cycle of trying to prove we’re not boring, we also expect boring answers to be wrong.
The Boring Answers are the Best Ones
People want shortcuts. They want to hear the anecdotes and not the research. Everyone wants to be in shape and everyone wants to be rich. Why do you think the weight loss and financial industries are so large? We want a pill or a get-rich scheme. Do you know how to get in shape? You exercise. You actually work the muscles you want to be strong. Do you know how to get rich? You save money. You let money grow by not touching it.
We’re Backwards about what is Boring
Let me tell you the most boring story ever. There once was a couple that went to work. They saved half of their income. After ten years, they stopped working. Now let me tell you a more exciting story. There once was a couple that graduated college with tons of debt. They got good jobs, but they bought two nice cars and a fancy house. They didn’t have time for saving. They were busy paying minimum student loan payments, mortgages, and car payments. Every month was exciting. They went out to eat with friends. They had the latest clothes. And they always hoped they had enough to pay the bills when they came. Credit cards helped cover the difference, but those got pretty exciting as well. Juggling balances and staying ahead was thrilling. How could anyone ever have enough to save money?!
But guess what? People consider the second story to be the boring one! That’s how everyone lives! Tell them a story about a couple that saved their money and retired early and everyone goes bonkers! These people become millionaires in ten years? “What’s the secret?” they think. There has to be some secret they’re hiding. Inheritance? Lottery? Eating nothing but ramen for ten years? When we tell people boring answers that have awesome results, people don’t believe us: “I’ve tried saving, and I didn’t become a millionaire!” “I’ve tried exercising. I just didn’t see results.”
Be Consistently Boring
Yes, I also wish that saving money could be something you just did once. And I’m not in love with exercising either. Can’t I just knock out both in a weekend and emerge an in-shape and wealthy woman? No. That’s the problem. You have to pick the boring answers and you have to be boring about implementing them.
Next time you want to do something, think about whether it would make a crazy story or a boring story:
Should you be crazy and pull money out of your retirement funds to do something cool today? No. Would that be the boring choice? Nope. Should you eat nothing but ramen every day in order to retire early? No. That would make a crazy story! Should you incur giant amounts of debt? Nope. That wouldn’t be a boring story. Should you save money every single paycheck. Yes. Should you consistently treat your body well with both food and exercise. Yes.
If you’re doing it right, you’ll have the exciting story later. When you retire early, everyone can go crazy over your story and you can tell them exactly how you did it: by being boring.