Money motivation & being the LeBron of FIRE

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What’s the main difference between you and LeBron? Motivation. Other stuff too but definitely motivation. LeBron is motivated to crush at basketball so he works hard at it. We need that motivation to get where we are going too.

Specifically, we need money motivation to crush at having money so that we can live our our dreams. I will teach you how to turn yourself into a motivated machine below.


Everything impressive starts with motivation so if you want to do something impressive you should go get yourself some motivation too. You know what, gaining financial independence is impressive too, so that means we need to get ourselves all FIRE’d up! (zing!)

The reasons are simple:

  • You need to be motivated or you won’t work very hard to achieve your goals.
  • If your goal isn’t easy to achieve then you’ll need to work hard.
  • Attaining financial independence is not easy.
  • Therefore you need to be motivated to achieve financial independence.

So to achieve financial independence we need to create some motivation to spur us onward! From here I will show you how to make a crap ton of motivation. So buckle up!

‘I’m already motivated.’ Not enough sir, not enough

Want to join me on the fire escape? Then there are a few things you’ll need to convince yourself of.

Motivation is very important. We specifically need money motivation to power up our financial lives. Without it you’ll cop out and blow your money on something dumb or give up.

“I’m motivated alright” you say, but what does that really mean? Well, you probably have some blurry vision of your goal like “I’d like to travel” and “I want to live comfortably” but we need to do better than that to really generate some momentum.

We all need clarity

You need a fire lit under your butt in order to get places and we will light that fire by making your vision more clear. Way more clear. Get it to a point where you can practically taste it. Make your money motivation so clear and visible that you feel like you’re letting yourself down by not feeding your dreams some money.

We’re talking details. “I plan to spend three months on my Ducati riding down to California when I’m 32” not “someday I’ll take a long trip on some bike.” 

The 5 types of people

Got it? We need to turn your vision into something crystal clear. To start, we will give you a jump start by figuring out what kind of person you are.

There are 5 types of people out there looking for freedom. Each with a different reason to yearn for it.  Our first stop is to figure out what kind of a person you are. So read on to uncover your inner calling. 

1 – Your work is horrible and you just want out

Maybe it’s your boss, the stress, the hours, or the entire field but you just don’t want to do it anymore. The thought of showing up for work everyday until you are old shrivels up your soul. You want independence so you can gain your life back and control your destiny.

You know that feeling you get when you wake up on the first day of vacation? This could be how you feel every day for the rest of your life. Thats your money motivation.

2- You want to be more than you are

You’ve always strived to give your 100% to everything. Working hard and being good at what you do but you’re aren’t being all you can be. Somehow you know you could become a better you and you want that.

With your freedom you can find a way to evolve. You can spend more time reading, learning a language, or doing yoga. Maybe you’ll travel to Japan to learn Japanese and Buddhism first hand. You want to be an impressive human!

3 – You want to make a difference

Let’s face it. Is what you do consequential in the grand scheme of things? Does it make any discernible difference in anyone’s life? You want your efforts to benefit people whether it’s on a small or large scale and that won’t happen with where you are now.

With your independence you want find a way to make a change in the world whether that’s through teaching life lessons to your kids, volunteering, or starting a new company. Thats where your money motivation comes from.

4 – You need more time for yourself or your family

Your life is just fine but you know you want better. Once upon a time you were fit and healthy, you were best friends with your partner and you had impressive hobbies. Now it’s all slipping away and you can’t imagine doing much better while also keeping your job. You want your time back.

To get fit. To get acquainted with yourself.  Time to forge better bonds with your loved ones. With more time you can turn your momentum around and be the person you once were. Every day you would designate some quality time to becoming the person you were meant to be.

5 – You have an itch that can’t be satisfied with a normal life

Do you have a strong  desire to do something abnormal? A need to travel, the desire to live your hobby, or just having odd ideas about life. If you aren’t satisfied when you aren’t living how you want then anything stopping you from living it might as well be poison.

You need to get out from the under the umbrella of normal and go be the travelling monkey tamer you always wanted to be. You need some money motivation to get there.

This person is living it up in her own special way


You are one of these people and figuring out what kind of person you are is critical to finding a way to light that fire under your butt. All of these types of people can become motivated to save and invest their way to the top.

Maybe you are all of those people or a mix of a few. That’s allowed. In any case, now that you understand the source of your motivation what do we do with it?

We steal something. We steal it from the very workplace we’re working so hard to escape.

Stealing from work is a good starting point

Those vaguely worded posters found somewhere near the entrance to a cubicle farm are actually believed to be useful. The ones you walk by every day without noticing. That is what we want to steal.

The mission statement poster.

Something you have likely thought very little about at work yet your corporate overlords think that they are so useful they spend many thousands of dollars working on and refining them.

‘Why is that?’ You ask.

The goal of a mission statement is to determine what matters. Then you write it down and use it to help guide your future decisions. You can get really fancy but once you have determined what matters to you, you just write down some positive statement about what you want from life. Then that statement becomes your mission statement.

Don’t think too hard. Just do it.

Maybe I’m a simple guy but I would recommend writing your mission statement in a short sentence in the form of ‘I want to gain financial independence because I want to ____.’ You can be more wordy if that’s who you are but you are just making something to help you remember what’s important when life gets confusing and complicated.

Here’s an example. ‘I want financial independence because I want to spend more time with my family every day and take extended time away with them to make some great memories’.

Think happy thoughts

Its also worth saying, your money motivation should be focused around something positive. Something that includes the root of your motivation and something about your successful future.

Bad mission statement but damn it would feel good.

The statement of ‘I want to punch John because he keeps eating my lunch yogurt’ won’t motivate you very far and it focuses on all the bad stuff in life. It would be fun, but it won’t take you far.

Don’t focus on the bad stuff. If your statement is ugly then you won’t want to think about it. We want something that makes us happy and encourages us to think about our statement more often.

That is how we start developing money motivation momentum. Something we could make that into the delicious sounding acronym, mmm. However I’ll pass, it makes the think of cookies too much. (Side note: I am now eating cookies…damn cookie references!).

Better than rocket science

This isn’t rocket science. This is much better than rocket science…and easier. We are finding out what you care about, writing down how having financial independence will get you there, and how you will use your new found time. You don’t need anything fancy. Just write down something that matters to you.

If you try and a beautiful motivating thought doesn’t come to you then that’s ok. You just need to do a little soul searching but you do need a goal before you can figure out how to achieve it. I’ll make a little exercise here to help people through finding their goals later on this year.

Making a Lightning Rod – Hyper money motivation

To turn your statement into a motivating vision we need to put an exciting  concrete example of what you will do in your successful future. Something you can really make a good mental picture of that will draw in more motivation. Aptly, I call this exciting mental image my motivational lightning rod.

Lightning rods are powerful things!

Your concrete example should be THE thing that pops into your mind when you think of your freedom. Some specific thing you have long dreamed of doing. Maybe you don’t have something that pops into your head, but then ask yourself…

‘what can I not do right now but sounds super freaking awesome?’

That is your lightning rod. 

5 great examples to get your brain rolling

Here are some easy ones for the different motivations I mentioned above:

  1. You want to just stop working?
    What about moving to a tropical place for a few months and just napping in a hammock near the water with a drink while you decompress? That’s a great image.
  2. You want to be more than you are?
    Picture learning yoga in India for 6 months at an awesome temple.
  3. You want to make a difference?
    See yourself moving to Honduras and doing outreach for poor children.
  4. You want to be with your loved ones?
    Imagine spending the next entire summer school break RVing across the country in your fathers Airstream.
  5. You have an itch?
    Go traveling through South America climb Machu Picchu and become a travel blogger.  
This amazing vision could be yours!

All of these are awesome and very concrete. This is what we are looking for. This is a lightning rod. A specific, tangible, tastable thing you think would be amazing and you would really love to do. Something you can google pictures of and read about. 

Spend some time and come up with some specific thing that really excites you. Find your lightning rod.

‘I have a lightning rod but don’t know what to do with it’

Once you have found your lightning rod we tack on a special lightning rod sentence to our mission statement to remind us of our dream. It makes the mission statement stronger because it gives us a specific thing to latch onto like a money motivation leech. The LeBron of leeches. So motivated it will never let go.

Your lightning rod sentence is also easy. Make it along the lines of, “With my independence I will start by [dream thing here].” I’ll give you an example. A very personal one. You see if you didn’t figure it out, I wanted to spend more time with my loved ones. That was my motivation.

So I’ll show you MY lightning rod which pushed me to my independence and transformed some hard life decisions into obvious choices.

I wanted to be away from it all spending time with the family. Might as well be somewhere amazing.

Wielding your lightning rod to strike down your foes

I wanted to spend long vacations with my family so I thought up my dream vacation with them in as many details as I could. Something I had been dreaming about for a long time and I made this lightning rod sentence for my mission statement. ‘With my independence, I will start by taking everyone away to Greece for the 2-month school break where we will charter a boat and sail the Mediterranean.’

It gave me something to imagine when push came to shove, and that dream was something I cared about a lot. It was super awesome and it motivated the hell out of me, turning me into the LeBron of freedom. Seriously nothing was going to stop me.

Maximum money motivation – Conquering the World with your Lighting Rod

I would picture that sailing trip in my mind. Visualize everyone having fun on the boat and look up pictures of the boat I would rent and the places I would visit. Why? I did it to burn those images in my mind. Then, whenever I had a hard saving choice I would compare my lightning rod image to whatever was in front of me.

  • Basketball tickets or endless dream vacation with smiling children?
  • Bigger house or sailing into the Port de Bonifacio in Corsica with my little one on the bow yelling ‘Land Ho!’?

To me those choices were obvious and if you come up with a dream that you care about as much the choices will be easy for you too.

Dream hard and lightning up the world

If you visualize your dream hard enough, and you care enough about it, it will win out. This is how you achieve anything great. In our case that great thing we are aiming for is to never need to work again. It is great and it’s hard but possible with a lightning rod.

Zeus threw his lightning all over the damn place and he was a boss!

Zeus was super motivated. Look at him tossing that thing everywhere.

That’s it. This is how we motivate ourselves to do something good for us. Amazing athletes do the same thing. They are so motivated to excel at their sport that it comes before almost everything else. They choose to dedicate the time and eventually become unstoppable. Now that’s you, except with freedom instead of basketball skills. Go be the LeBron of FIRE.

See you on the FIRE escape.

TL;DR – Getting Money Motivation

  • To truly reach FIRE you need some money motivation
  • Money motivation comes from having clarity
  • You get clarity from knowing yourself and knowing what you care about
  • More clarity comes from having a very very specific vision of something exciting for your future – a lightning rod, if you will.
  • Imagine that lightning rod when deciding on things that affect your future to draw upon your money motivation.
  • Conquer the world

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