Izteraab, Restlessness & Early Retirement

A few days ago I did a twitter rant about the inability to find equilibrium in life. You can read the rant below

My friend Haris pointed out that this is because the natural human state is not meant to be at rest. In fact, the natural human state is izteraab or restlessness and instead of avoiding izteraab one needs to embrace it.

I started writing this blog in order to finish my early retirement experiment and re-engage with work on some level. It was an effort to resume what I term in my rant as light work. Next thing I knew was that I was working full-time running e-commerce stores, content arbitrage and more.

After going through the experiment of early retirement, working lightly, and then working full-time, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can not and should not avoid work. I haven’t bought freedom from work completely probably because I don’t want to. The only freedom I’ve bought is that I can and should work on things that are most meaningful and fulfilling for my personal happiness and not whatever pays the biggest buck.

I’m also willing to engage with whatever pays the biggest buck as long as I can find people I can invest in who can then carry on that work.

One thought on “Izteraab, Restlessness & Early Retirement”

  1. Bit of a rambling comment coming up…

    While I haven’t taken early retirement yet, I have struggled with this conflict between… working really hard, growing fast professionally vs. working at a medium pace, and using the extra time for meaningful activities outside of work vs. working lightly and using allll that extra time to do whatever. I’ve swung like a pendulum between all three states for the past decade, and now feel closer than ever to what feels right.

    Working hard and making progress feels good, but it’s never ending, and once you reach your goals you realize oh bhains that was… it? Hun k kariye? What comes after success?

    On the other hand, working too little makes me feel guilty about not realizing my full potential and just slacking too much. Doesn’t feel good.

    The middle path is where I’m at today, and I’m enjoying it. The key here is this middle path is different for everybody. You have to keep experimenting until you hit that sweet spot. You also have to connect all of this with some larger goal, or personal value otherwise it’ll still feel meaningless.

    I’ve benefited immensely from reading philosophy — people like Seneca, Ryan Holiday, Alain De Botton / School of Life. It helps you build a framework for how you want to live life.

    To stave off that feeling of competition, I feel you also have to define for yourself what is “good enough.”

    I used to have this extremely competitive, growth-at-all-costs, #1 or nothing mentality that helped me grow fast but led to burnout, poor physical and mental health, weak relationships, and a narrow mindset. Now I’m happy with being in the top 10-25%, and using the additional time to do meaningful things like running UXDP (arguably the biggest professional source of meaning for me because it has such great impact), spending quality time with family, traveling, reading, and just having big bouts of time to think at a stretch, to write in my journal, reflect and more. At the same time, I’m growing well professionally because I’m mindful about spending 8 good productive hours at work. Prioritization helps there too.

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