ep.011 – perspective… a tribute to Rob

And welcome to episode 11, so today I would like to take a step back a bit and talk about perspective. We have all heard about it, and it is not a new thing, but yet I struggle to put things into perspective in my daily life. This was really brought to my attention after watching various talks by Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary talks a lot about perspective, but where he differs from the norm in what he practices, is the regularity in which he does it, and the manner is brutal. Gary says he thinks about one of his close family members dying almost on a daily basis, in graphic detail and as morbid as this may sound it immediately helps him, but any current issue into perspective and suddenly nothing else matters as for Gary nothing is more important than his family, and I am sure for the vast majority of us this also holds true.

So what does perspective mean in the context of my FI journey? Well, Mr Money Moustache talks about the FIRE community as a cult ? in a good way, not in the creep Haley?s comet Heaven?s Gate Cult way. The FIRE community appears to be a movement like many movements that has many passionate followers, dedicated their lives to the greater cause, much in the same way as a cult, but the positives in momentum that this brings can also have negative side-effects. You see, my nature can be quite obsessional, when I latch on to something good, I look at all the ways I can exploit the benefits and get truly focused on the end goal. And this FI journey has been no different?. When I think of the benefits of the end goal, which ultimately is the freedom do like my family and I choose, to be in a position where money has no impact on the choices we make ? this is exhilarating, and it takes an enormous effort not to wish my life away to this end goal. This is probably one of the main reasons I started this podcast, to document the journey as the reality is there isn?t an end goal the whole purpose of being FI through my own perspective is the journey you go on to become financially independent.

Using Gary?s perspective methodology makes this incredibly easy if one of my close family members died today and if all I had been focussed on was penny-pinching and maximising income to the detriment of all other parts of my life and those around me, I would be deeply ashamed and regret not spending more valuable time with that person. Achieving a goal, even the goal of financial independence pales into insignificance when I consider the health of my closest family members, just as it does for Gary. That said, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve your own life and the lives of the people around you, top you eventually reach the point where you can enrich an even further circle of influence once you?re FI as you can give your greatest asset back, and that is time. BUT, being aware of the time and quality of your life and those around you in the present is just as important. I have mentioned previously as human beings it feels like we are pre-wired to drive towards goals, so this is important but let?s take those blinkers off whilst we strive and learn to smell the roses and practice gratefulness with those around us. This got me thinking about my FIRE spreadsheet, so focused on just the numbers, why can?t we also measure other aspects of our lives along the FI journey that brings us joy, gives us a sense of purpose, care for others and monitors our health and well-being. I have seen something similar developed before, and so I am going to create my own version and make it available on the happyfiday.com website ? so standby for that!

One of my idols for balancing the drive of entrepreneurship and the need and love to look after the immediate needs of his family was my father-in-law, Rob. I only knew Rob for just over five years, but in the time, I learnt so much. You see with your own parents it is quite easy to miss things as you are right in the middle of the experience and sometimes it is only with hindsight and deep reflection that you get to understand the value you gained. And I gained so much from my own parents growing up, and I still do to this very day, but what I would like to tell you about was the fruits of a man?s labour both at work and at home that I witnessed as a third-party. And I am so grateful I got the privilege to talk to Rob, learn from his wisdom and witness what he had achieved. I have meant to do this for a while, and with about one month away from the anniversary of Rob?s passing, I want to share with you my tribute to him for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because at Rob?s memorial, I was so emotionally upset I think this is an ideal platform to provide a more coherent tribute that can be locked in time. And secondly because, although most of you are unlikely to know Rob personally, I believe some of the stories I will share will ring a bell with many of you, especially those on an FI journey and help to bring perspective, as it did for me. It really was so cathartic writing Rob?s tribute. So here you go?

Rob was a deep thinker, so I think it is appropriate to start my tribute to him with a quote from one of the greatest Greek Philosophers ? I think he would have liked that. Aristotle once said, ?Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man? ? not very politically correct as Rob would have said. Unfortunately, I only knew Rob for the last five and a half years of his life, but in this short time, I was lucky enough to see the man he became. If Aristotle was correct, I think the world would have a fantastic future, if we could go back in time and bottle up all the childhood experiences that made Rob the man he was and feed it to every child.
Rob was a man who instantly put you at ease, and I remember the first time I met Rob, on what is traditionally meant to be a nerve-wracking meeting between a father and his daughter?s new boyfriend ? me. Whilst I might have been expecting the third degree, rather than an interrogation, I was met with a warm smile, light-hearted cheeky humour and a genuine interest in me, my family and my journey. From that day onwards, he was almost obsessed with ensuring that I always felt at home.

You see, this was the thing about Rob, he was so interested in other people and always put them first. Rob was a man of faith, so this is not surprising. Being a devoted Christian was important to Rob, and in leading a Christian life, so many people benefited from his values. He would play to his strengths, not only ensure that those around him were content and happy, but he would also seek out those less fortunate who could benefit from his kindness.

I remember him showing me a documentary, where the elderly in retirement homes would suddenly become overjoyed when they heard songs from their past. Being the true entrepreneur, Rob had a light-bulb moment and used his passion for music and his grand-daughter, Stella?s pink amp/speaker to be a retirement home DJ! Playing the residents their favourite requests, made them so happy, and this was his only payback. Hopefully, they weren?t just laughing at his girly looking amp ? but he was always frugal to a Tee and had no shame ? and we loved him for it!

As many of you know, Rob loved music, and I was fortunate to see the man who had become an accomplished drummer. Being a groupie at his band?s 2015 New Year?s Eve gig at the Mount RSA and helping him develop an online presence for his last band, Unjammed, I can testify that Rob loved helping people celebrate good times through music and in his words, he just wanted to make their celebration ROCK!

Personally – Rob?s greatest gift to me was his blessing to marry his daughter. I remember late one night in July 2014 at one of Rob and Petrina?s many houses in Papamoa, I plucked up the courage to ask him and even though he said yes, what I really remember was his panic that he had to tell Petrina straight away, as he kept absolutely nothing from her it couldn?t wait until the morning! This led to a farcical routine of Rob showing me their ensuite as an excuse to get out of earshot of Aleisha but most importantly to be able to let Petrina know as soon as possible before she went to sleep!

Anyway, without Rob and Petrina, there would be no Aleisha, and for that alone, I am eternally grateful. Aleisha shares exactly the same kind-hearted nature like her father, always thinking of others before herself (including me) and she has put so much effort into organising her Dad?s memorial, and inviting everyone here from all parts of Rob?s life to pay our respects and share the good times and memories we had with such a great man ? thank you Leish, and thank you all for being here today.

I would like to finish with what Rob taught me about life through various, meaningful and engaging conversations. Now, Stella, you might be five years beyond seven now, so sorry we have probably failed you, but here is some wisdom from your Popa that will hopefully put things right?

  • Firstly? Always look for the good in people
  • Be kind to each other
  • Look out for those in need
  • Love your family, unconditionally, with all your heart ? just like he loved you, Stella, Tim, Ash, Leish and Petrina
  • Find your own creativity, enjoy it and share it ? for your Popa, this was music and entrepreneurship
  • Show a genuine interest in other people; they will be better for it and so will you
  • Don?t sweat the small stuff, in the grand scheme of things that spot on the ceiling really doesn?t matter
  • ? And finally? if it is cold at night? sleep in your jeans

This certainly put my FI journey into perspective? so there you have it a brief snippet into the man I loved dearly, and I truly hope it has brought you a bit of perspective on your FI journey. Until next time? happy fiday.

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