Accountability through Uncomfortable Transparency

I will be able to retire within 10 years from (May 27, 2017). It will happen; it’s on the calendar.
I said it before, and I’ll keep saying it until it happens. I’ve shared this goal privately with a few people, as well as made it a public announcement last month in order to get some Kickass Motivation through Public Accountability. As with many things “unordinary”, I’ve received a number of comments from doubters and seemingly haters. Some people were genuinely curious about how I would do it. One of the key steps I’ve taken is to understand where my money is being spent, and seeing if those things are adding appropriate levels of happiness. So in order to pile on even more Accountability through Uncomfortable Transparency, you can take a look at my baseline spending with my Ultra-Luxurious, Carefree Lifestyle. If you think I should be spending less than this, then I agree! I’ll be following up with how I am reducing my own spending to a Still-Awesome, Intentional Lifestyle, where I’ll still be plenty happy and healthy while progressing towards the goal of Early Retirement within 10 years. So I hope you stay tuned (all doubters, haters, curious, and believers), keep me honest and motivated, and enjoy the journey!

My Ultra-Luxurious, Carefree Lifestyle
(baseline simplified average expenses from 2011 to 2016)
This excludes my student loan payments, which I paid off in 2016!
Category Spending Item Monthly Total
Rent $1,640
Gas, Water, Trash $65
Electricity $35
Renters Insurance $17
Car Insurance $85
Car AAA $8
Car Maintenance $25
Car Smog $3
Car Fuel $60
Phone /
Phone $85
Internet $85
Consummables /
Consummables $20
Haircut $18
Food /
Coffee $14
Food $500
Membership /
WordPress Blog $3
Perfume Fanclub $2
Amazon Prime $9
Games $60
Electronics $25
Obligatory Giving
Birthday Presents $54
Christmas Presents $64
Events /
Anime Expo $100
Trips $100
Combined Average Monthly Total $3,077
Combined Average Yearly Total $36,924
How Much I Would Need to Save and Invest
to Maintain This Lifestyle in Retirement
(assuming 25 times yearly spend, or 4% Safe Withdrawal Rate)


My Still-Awesome, Intentional Lifestyle
(starting in 2017 and continuing to adapt to and improve upon)
I hope you follow along, keep me accountable, and enjoy the journey!
Category Spending Item Monthly Total
Rent $1,640
Gas, Water, Trash $35
Electricity $25
Renters Insurance $9
Car Insurance $30
Car AAA $0
Car Maintenance $15
Car Smog $3
Car Fuel $35
Phone /
Phone $25
Internet $85
Consummables /
Consummables $10
Haircut $0
Food /
Coffee $7
Food $150
Membership /
WordPress Blog $3
Perfume Fanclub $2
Amazon Prime $0
Games $0
Electronics $0
Obligatory Giving
Birthday Presents $0
Christmas Presents $0
Events /
Anime Expo $0
Trips $0
Combined Average Monthly Total $2,074
Combined Average Yearly Total $24,888
How Much I Would Need to Save and Invest
to Maintain This Lifestyle in Retirement
(assuming 25 times yearly spend, or 4% Safe Withdrawal Rate)

Kickass Motivation through Public Accountability

~ I will be able to retire within 10 years from today. ~

This is a challenge to myself, as well as encouragement to anyone else who wants to join me in this journey to financial freedom. This position of strength will grant us the time to do whatever we want to do (even continuing optional work) without having to worry about money. I write this here in this public forum, not to brag, but to hold myself accountable to you and to the me 10 years in the future who will be very disappointed if they are not yet financially independent.

If I had started thinking about this earlier, I could be much closer to this goal. But part of this process involves making peace with my past, and I invite anyone else of any age interested in joining me to look forward with optimism. Today is the first day we can change the rest of our lives.

Don’t worry, there will be no need for major windfalls like winning the lottery or gambling with individual stock-picking or timing the market. Financial freedom does not require working until an “official retirement age” or “hitting a homerun” to amass a stash. Unlike current popular belief, early retirement is really simple.

We will succeed by following 3 simple steps: (1) avoid debt, (2) spend less than we earn, and (3) invest the surplus. The more we save and invest, the shorter the timeline. As a safety margin, I am giving myself up to 10 years, but If you could maintain a 75% savings rate, the you{+7} could already be retired. How exciting would that be!

I turn 29 years old today, May 27, 2017. Before I turn 39 years old, I will be able to retire. This is simply a fact for I{<39}; I{>29} will make it so. And so it must become.

So this post is a birthday can of kickass motivation through public accountability; this is the best gift I could think of to give myself. If I fail in this goal, I will be the first to mock and criticize myself (and I’m asking that you throw stones too), so I better not disappoint!

Dealing with Resistance to Change

“If anything, people should be afraid of lack of change.”

Not every change is an improvement, but every improvement is necessarily a change. When I am trying to introduce change in a workplace, I will inherently meet resistance to that change, regardless of whether the change will be an improvement or not. Justifying that the change is in fact an improvement does not even seem to satisfy those resisters. The resistance instead shifts to another topic of: “Well you might have grand ideas of this, but what happens after you win the lottery and leave, or you are promoted and someone else takes over, or you are hit by a bus and someone else takes your place?” How do I deal with this resistance to change? Even if I manage to satisfy these questions with improvement plans and ways to sustain the gains, will they just shift to endless other points of resistance?

Why do you believe what you believe? Are you just arguing from the Bottom Line, a fixed conclusion of not wanting to change, that no matter what counterarguments and weight of evidence against your position, that you still Won’t Change Your Mind on the matter?

If I accept that nothing else will change unless I do it, then what is it that I am agreeing to in the future?

The idea of “Managing Change” in the workplace seems to build up a negative stigma about any change, whether they be improvements or not. The Expressed Culture propagated when we are coached to “Manage Change” results in an environment which is inherently resistant to change. Instead of building this aversion to the progress necessary for improvement, I think it would be much more meaningful to teach a culture of Continuous Improvement. The comfort of constance, whether it be at the workplace or in our own personal endeavors, is a Habit to be Broken.

From a Position of Strength

As a successful Single Player, you will be able to live and thrive on your own, for yourself. It is from this Position of Strength, where you can better show compassion and live for others. When we try to show compassion without strength, is where we might have others applaud our efforts because we are showing that we care; but we are not really helping.

For others will have to help us. For others will have to take care of us. For others will have to save us when we are over-committed and under-resourced.

“But how can you say that, you monster!” you might tell me.

Why aren’t I handing out money or food to every helpless person I see? Why aren’t I putting in all my extra time at charities? Why aren’t I helping others not starve?

I am not ready yet.

I am not yet in a position of strength. If I were to slow down now, I would be that much weaker when the time comes where I truly need this strength. But the very real concern here is – What happens in the interim? What happens in the transition period, the growing time towards that Single Player Strength?

I cannot save everybody. You (probably) cannot save everybody (yet).

But we can, first and foremost, save ourselves. If everyone saves themselves, then there would be no need to save others. But even if more people were to save themselves, then we would be able to save more. If we try to affect and help those within our circle of influence, from a position of strength, then we are doing more than our share already, for our only responsibility should be for ourselves. Anything beyond the goal of becoming a strong Single Player is already us showing compassion.

Be mindful of who you help, too. Some people thrive under adversity. Some people need no help, or only a minimal push. Blanketing everyone we see with the same kind of compassion is not good, even though it might sound good. It might trigger Applause Lights. It might win the audience. But it is not good.

Build your strength for yourself first. Then, if you wish, appropriately help those around you to also become strong. Do not deprive others from growing their own strength. But also, watch out for those who really do need your strength. If you can help them directly, then do so if you wish. If you can’t help them directly, then you might have to let them go. You can grow yourself, and you can help grow those around you. Eventually, a future world with more stronger players may be able to help everybody; in the interim, we cannot.

Is it frustrating? Is it monstrous? Is it sad?

We must work quicker.

In Defense of the Meek, the Timid, and the Quiet

There is a difference between self-confidence and exhibited confidence. One appears inwardly, only seen by the actor. The other appears outwardly, observed and interpreted by those around the actor. Do not confuse someone’s exhibited confidence for their self-confidence. The exhibited confidence is a function of many factors, including other’s interpretation of such confidence. The self-confidence is usually harder to observe, but it is more meaningful and better representative of someone’s beliefs and actions.

When people say that you should be more confident, they usually mean that they want you to appear more confident. This is like saying to someone who looks like they weigh 250 pounds, “I want you to look like you weigh 150 pounds”. There is a lifestyle behind that 250 pounds. You cannot just expect someone to immediately change the surface-level observation of their final weight. You would expect there to be some period of time with deep internal change, like a change in diet, increased physical activity, or name your other weight-loss activity.

“I want you to be more confident.” There is a reason someone exhibits such outward confidence (which may or may not be an indicator of their self-confidence). We shouldn’t just shoehorn everybody into Type A personalities. It’s everyone’s accountability – everyone’s responsibility – to see people for who they are, and learn how to better understand and communicate with them. In doing so, we would be better able to gauge each individual’s self-confidence about their beliefs and actions.

It might be easier to treat everyone as the same foundational being, with their actions interpretable with the same lens across the entire human species. It’s easier, but it’s just wrong.

When our workplaces or other communities say they are seeking Diversity and Inclusion, are they asking for everyone to speak up? Or are they asking everyone to listen carefully to each member? Do we expect everyone else to communicate the same way that we communicate? Or do we start from ourselves, as Single Players, to become better listeners?

Judging and ranking people’s ideas by their voice’s decibel level seems like a silly idea; isn’t it just as silly to treat people who are assertive, charismatic, and loud as being more important than people who are meek, timid, and quiet? What are some examples of less-silly ways of comparing the beliefs and actions of Person Type-A and Person Type-B?

Running Away from Words

“Don’t call it a failure, call it a learning opportunity.”

“Why are you so negative? Instead of saying they lost, say that they almost won.”

“Instead of saying we can’t do something now, say that we might be able to do it later.”

I don’t consider these cases of being pessimistic vs optimistic. No new information is gained when saying these things one way over the other. So why do we sometimes run away from one version of these statements? I think we should let words describe, as close as possible, the real Simple TruthIn cases we win, let us say we win. And in cases we lose, let us say we lose.

Human language is just a medium for communication. It can be manipulated and misconstrued, to sway yourself and your audience. But truth is stubborn. True things stay, regardless if we believe them to be. That which can be destroyed by the truth should be

Let’s learn to face the truth, and also face the words which describe the truth. Let’s learn to use the truth, and also use the words which describe the truth. If our actions are aligned with winning, our words can just describe that truth. If our actions are not aligned with winning, our wordplay can’t make up for running away from that truth.

What Comes After And


Otsuka Ai – End and And

On this lonely roadway, I’m shut off from everything.

But it’s okay that I’m lonely on this roadway,

If I can reach you.

To God, a little bit of “Thank you”, and

Without hesitation, I must move forward to the end, and And.

I cannot ignore when you last said “Bye bye”, and

I won’t forget that was our beginning, end, and And.

Sorry, my love slowly grows.

My heartbeat rings out, trying to connect us.

If only it could grow faster, crying out to you.

But was it too late? Please open your eyes.

To mama and papa, “Thank you”, and

My tears will dry in the end, and And.

I will run away and say “Bye bye”, and

I don’t want this to end, and And.

On that lonely roadway, trying to reach you.

I will never forget;

That was our beginning, End and And.

Of Two Minds, but One Body

“If I were to grab her hand, would she hold it against me? Would I know where I stand?”

Once this trip ends, things will go back to normal. We'll go back to our peaceful, lonely lives. ~ If only we would never arrive there. ~

Once this trip ends, things will go back to normal. We’ll go back to our peaceful, lonely lives.
~ If only we would never arrive there. ~

Different people can have different perspectives, different mindsets. We are just one person. People hold us to a certain image, with certain habits and a certain history. Sometimes we just want to change it. Sometimes we just want to try something else. Sometimes we change our mind and form new beliefs. But we are held to the same image by others, and sometimes restricted even by our own selves. We’ve acted this way up until now; it’s common to have an urge to remain consistent. There could also be a fear of admitting that we may have been wrong.

What if we could live out two (or more) minds? What if we were not restricted to one image, contained in one body? I think we would be able to commit more of ourselves to those different minds. I think we would have a better chance to actually, really see those beliefs in action, and experience what goes on in that mindset of thinking. And then we would be able to better figure out which one we prefer. Which one results in a lifestyle we like? Which one results in ideas closer to what happens in reality?

We could try an image reset by moving, by abandoning the relations we have. Would we also have to wipe our own memories? Or at least repress the past image? In games, we can sort of accomplish this, by creating a new character, a new name. With a new class, different skills and specializations. And we can try role-playing to fit those different minds, those different playstyles. Can we reroll our own selves?

Refresh, Reset, Re:Zero

What would we do when given a chance to start over? Are we afraid of starting over? Do we not want to feel like a Beginner again?

The same job, but with a new manager, new expectations, new cubicle. It’s not really the same job anymore. The manager in mind whose volition was understood, is now a different entity with different desires.

To win, to forget, to remember, to try to win again, and to forget again.

The 12 year old me –  how did they feel? What was it like to want to never lose?

Could I return to that 12 year old mindset? If I could commit a self to that mindset, and compare with my current mindset, which would I choose to continue with?

Single Players for Humanity

We are the good news we want to hear and see. We are also the bad news we tire of. We are the silliness, the lightness, and the positivity in the world. We are also its seriousness, heaviness, and negativity.

We are inherently attracted to drama, rubbernecking and gossiping. We are by nature political creatures, arguing to win, not necessarily to be on the side of the Simple Truth. These traits reflect us in how we talk, what we listen to, what we learn, how we relate, and how we feel.

So let us today begin and continue to make a conscious effort:

Let us be silly, light, and positive. We must turn away from spreading negativity, not because we are trying to forget and be ignorant of it, but because someone must be the healing for it. In this digital world, we are even more connected at the keyboard and through the camera. We can share our pain, but let us also share our healing. We can share our despair, but let us also share our hope. We can share our sadness, but let us also share our happiness. Though we might die, let us also remember that we must live.

For humanity is but a collection of single player life. A single light shining brightly can lead others through the darkness. Let us be and share that single light. Let us live, let live, and love live.

With Clarity, Life, Never Death

This blog has been around for a year now, and I have tried using this forum as a way to help me improve my communication skills. Has it helped? Has it hurt? I have also tried blogging in order to help me achieve more clarity, to better understand myself, my thought processes. Has this worked? Has this failed?

Today, I will try to refocus, with clarity. Of some of this I have written. Of much more of this I still need to write. But today, I will jump to some of my conclusions. Bare with me, for I am still an amateur storyteller. I have not yet painted a fine portrait nor woven a great fabric. But I must tell this story, for myself and for those who read this now.

What is this blog mostly about? It is about first learning how to win on our own. It is about recognizing that we can do better. It is about living.

We are alive. Each of us is a single player in this game called life. We each choose how we want to live, but whatever we choose, we must live. It is our life to choose to live. We must live our own life. We can choose to live just for ourselves. That is fine, first and foremost we must take care of ourselves. We can choose to live for others. That is good, as long as we are still taking care of ourselves.

We might die. I say “might” because death is not a certainty. Death currently exists. Death is game over. Death is worse than bad. But death is not necessary. Never let anyone convince you otherwise; living does not require death. Any meaning that might be found in dying is a false promise. Whatever you think you would have learned upon dying, you will have lost immediately, because you would have been completely annihilated. You can live and wonder what might happen if you die. You cannot die and wonder if living was better.

It’s okay to live without death. I will borrow other’s words for now, as I am still crafting my art. But for now, this story must be told: a story about living, about seeing death for what it is, and about living without death.

  • “Once upon a time, infant deaths were part of the plan, and now they’re not.  Once upon a time, slavery was part of the plan, and now it’s not.  Once upon a time, dying at thirty was part of the plan, and now it’s not.  That’s a psychological shift, not just an increase in living standards.  Our era doesn’t value human life with perfect consistency – but the value of human life is higher than it once was…And I hope that the idea that people are disposable, and that their deaths are part of the plan, is something that fades out of the Future.”
  • “If other people want you to live, then it’s not just you doing something selfish and unforgivable, right? So I’m saying it to you. I want you to live.”

  • “Death is an extremely difficult technical problem, to be attacked with biotech and nanotech and other technological means. I do not tell a tale of the land called Future, nor state as a fact that humanity will someday be free of death – I have no magical ability to see through time. But death is a great evil, and I will oppose it whenever I can. If I could create a world where people lived forever, or at the very least a few billion years, I would do so. I don’t think humanity will always be stuck in the awkward stage we now occupy, when we are smart enough to create enormous problems for ourselves, but not quite smart enough to solve them. I think that humanity’s problems are solvable; difficult, but solvable.”
  • “Death hurt us, so we will unmake Death. Let that be the outlet for our anger, which is terrible and just.”

With clarity, I choose life; never death.