Change your attitude, change your world

By | April 21, 2016

This motivational poster told me that changing my attitude would change my world. Or something. I don’t remember the exact words. It was a close-up of a drop of water. Or maybe a sunset? Regardless, the motivational poster was right. Outlook is everything.


Santiago, Chile. 

I used to despair when I would do research on an article and notice how many other people have written about the topic already. It’s all been done before. Everything is derivative of something else which is derivative of something else. I have nothing new to say. You don’t either. Nobody has anything new to say.

Well, that’s depressing.

There are a million personal finance and financial independence voices in the InterGoogle. There are a billion cooking videos and tweets and pinterests (I’m assuming, I still haven’t done anything with my Pinterest). Travel sites litter the landscape. Seriously, you can find a detailed site for pretty much every single country out there.

It bummed me out.

Not Santiago, Chile. I mean, I guess it could be. I didn’t take this picture.

Then I decided to take the drop of water’s advice and took a different perspective. Now, when I do research on an article and notice how many other people have written about the topic already, I stand up and cheer, trying to start the wave.

That’s gnarly!

The fact that so many intelligent and thoughtful people exist and write eloquently about things that interest us unequivocally makes our world and our lives better. It’s all out there for you to find. You just have to stumble across it or actively seek it out. The world is your freaking oyster and you can decide what you want to do, learn about it, and then go do it!

It thrills me!

So yeah, attitude. How you look at things. The way you think. Here’s a list of the ways I’ve applied that mantra to my life:

“Attitude is everything” life changes implemented

  1. The way I think about research as described above.
  2. Giving up Operation Big Time.

Hmm, I guess I didn’t really need to make that into a list.

But yes, Operation Big Time a.k.a. Operation Create My Version of a Successful Blog a.k.a. Operation My Version of the Big Time a.k.a. Operation Fail. This is the problem with writing about whatever notion flits across my brain in real time. I started formulating and writing and list-making about Operation Big Time in December 2015. The second I published the article on it in February 2016 though, I knew I made a mistake and that the mini-goals that I set for Operation Big Time weren’t quite right. Maybe that’s why there was so much face-kicking in that post.

Detours to Success Operation Enjoy the Crap Out of Sydney, I had a couple of items on my Australian Bucket List that I hoped would quantify my goal to make friends. They were items #6 (Throw a party) and #7 (Make two dozen friends to invite to the party so you’re not a loser throwing a party that nobody shows up to). I did indeed cross both of those items off my bucket list about eight months into my stay in Australia, but I didn’t feel satisfied after #7 because I realized that most of the people I invited were acquaintances and not friends at that point. They were names on a list to cross off and it didn’t sit right.

Some things can’t be measured. Or a more comforting thought, everything can be measured, you just have to find the right angle.

Abandoning Operation Big Time

So, I went back to Tip 1 (understand exactly why you want this dream to come true) for my dream of having a successful blog and read my thoughts again. I wrote a bit about what I wanted from you, which is all still true, but since this is a narcissistic post and because I can only change MY behavior, I’m going to reprint what I wanted for me:

I want to be a successful writer….I consider this site my “job” for this year and since I spend a good chunk of time on it, I want acknowledgement…

Ah. That’s the problem. I need to change my attitude because chasing this goal does not make me happy. It actively bums me out. I am not making time for it and getting F’s on my resolutions chart for it. I hate checking my stats. I allot enough time to write two posts a week, but not much else.

Bathroom entrance

Bathroom entrance.

I want to write because I enjoy the writing. Full stop. I’m retired. I don’t want a job right now. I don’t want to increase the amount of time I spend on this hobby because there is so much in life to do and see and learn and explore and try and touch and be yelled at for touching.

I’m the one who is always preaching that money gives you options. Money lets you live the life you want to live. What do I want? I love the writing. I don’t like the social media or the learning wordpress or playing with the colors or despairing about pictures. I like the reading and (now) the researching. I love your emails and your comments. You knew before I did that Operation Big Time was not quite right.

Change my attitude and I’ll change my world.

At the end of the day, I don’t consider myself a personal finance blogger or a travel writer or a cooking person. This is a “Thriftygal blog”, thinking-aloud-therapy and musings, a tool for me to make my life better and a place for me to write regularly…when I feel like it.

Instead of being sad that I don’t have my arbitrary 25,002 followers and 1,000,000 page views in a month, I am now going to play my super fancy Les Paul Moonves air guitar whenever I realize that hey – more than 2,000 people like me enough to read my prattle and plottings! How flattering!

It’s the journey and not the destination, another motivational poster told me. This one had galloping horses. Life is good. I love retirement. You should try it.

Oh! I counted the kind souls who wrote to tell me that I made a positive difference in their lives and I am officially crossing off Life Bucket List Item #13 (make a positive, lasting difference for 50 people) because the number I ended up at was higher than 50. Thank you, my dear reader, for reading. My target audience is “people who like to read what I write” and I feel so grateful that you exist. The fact that any of my nonsense helps anyone delights me.

27 thoughts on “Change your attitude, change your world

  1. Jack

    Great read.

    Haha – You’ve inspired me to ask myself some “why am I doing this again?” questions, too.


  2. Joel S

    As I see it acquaintances gets promoted to friends after sufficient time and effort you put into doing stuff with them. Your acquaintances were not the means to cross off #7, but rather #6 was one of the means to move them away from just acquaintances towards friends.

  3. Lucy

    I believe this is what they call “putting on your perspectacles.” Congratulations! Doing life through a new lens is a great thing.

  4. Gerard

    Once you post your stuff, it exists outside your goals or intent. We enjoy it and take what we can from it, but most of us probably don’t think about how it fits into your plans. In the same way that we admire an interesting-shaped tree and don’t wonder what the tree was thinking.
    I’m not saying you’re a tree! But I am saying that we’re probably all fine with whatever your goals are, because you give us interesting things to read and ask nothing in return. Even if your blogging doesn’t take you where you expected/hoped, you increase the number of good things in the world each time you post.
    So maybe what I’m really saying is “Thanks, and don’t worry.” 🙂

  5. Luke

    I enjoy reading all your posts. Your perspective is valuable, and your writing style is unique and easy to read. Thanks

  6. AnnW

    Some ideas. Work on your writing. Edit, edit.Act like each word costs you a dollar. I think most posts should be less than a thousand words. End with a question. Read some articles on how to improve your numbers. It doesn’t take a lot of work. One tip is to leave comments for other blogs. Rewrite some of your best posts. I’m harping again about the how to make friends post. It is unique. I read all day long almost every day. I’ve never read anything like it. Try your hand at some Op-ed type articles. Just throwing words on a page doesn’t make a person a writer.
    If you really want to continue this, google Joyce Maynard’s writing workshops. Read about her life and how her mother taught her how to write. I think you will be intrigued. Figure out how to intertwine the other parts of social media into your blog. Facebook, and instagram. I don’t really get Twitter. You can make a living writing, so develop it. Did you know that Mr Money Mustache makes $400k a year from his blog? I don’t know that we have time to meet up this weekend, but our number is in the phone book. Let’s talk sometime. Single, brilliant, vegetarian, attractive young woman takes on the world. What’s more interesting than that? One who dances tango and writes about it. I dare you.

  7. AnnW

    Another thing. People don’t read everything written about a subject. You can catch someone the day they are reading. Your approach might be the one that they understand. You might be saying the same thing as everyone else, but you word it differently. It’s like teaching, everyone learns a little differently, so the best teachers vary their approach. I think there are at least three different ways to teach. Visual, auditory, and with a demonstration, or something.
    think of the newspapers. The same news is reported everyday. But it seems different. Buck up!

  8. amwickes

    I really enjoy your posts because they read as so authentic! 🙂 And I always want to remind myself about the benefits of being thrifty (also hoping to retire early, but I work in publishing so it’s going to take a little longer…)

  9. ellenlubylaw

    I look forward to your posts. You have worthwhile insights and present them in a compelling way. Please keep it up!

  10. Austin

    What I like about this post is your honesty about your own self discovery. Your ups and downs. Understanding what is really important to you. That’s an awesome journey to be on. Thanks for sharing.
    You are awesome!

  11. Morning Waters

    Dear Thrifty Gal, One of my mothers “momism” was: “The difference between adventure and adversity is attitude”. She also had some other more pithy ones like: “You can find sympathy in the dictionary…between sex and syphillis” and when we would complain, ” You have 3 choices…adapt, migrate or die…which is it going to be?” She is 85 now and still sassy.
    Love your blog.

  12. bebe

    I personally would like to see more pictures of you. It would make the blog more personal. Although your words and subjects are interesting more pictures would be nice to break them up.

  13. Anita

    I think you just did one of the toughest things ever … publicly set a goal and then publicly admit it was the wrong thing to do. If you did not have “admit public failure” as a bucket list already, when the day comes that you are ready to add it, just go ahead and cross it off. You have tenacity. There are way more than one million readers out there who could benefit from reading what you ha e to say. You are amazing.

  14. BobJ

    It’s true.. it’s all been done before.. but there’s only 1 “ThriftyGal”!

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      @BobJ – Actually, there is a Thriftygal on Youtube, facebook, twitter and reddit who are not me. 😀 Ha!

  15. DrJ

    Dear Thriftygal,
    I simply love reading your blog-You are wonderful! You have made a lasting positive difference in my life, through inspiration on personal finance, but more because of your writing, which is such a joy to read, so light and profound at the same time. Keep up the good work

  16. Liz

    Great post, Thriftygal. Your authenticity is your greatest asset. And I agree with Gerard — you’re putting positive vibes out into the internet ether and for those of us who appreciate it, it makes a big difference. Redefining success is a fluid target for probably most of us who find our way to your blog, so know you are in good company!

  17. lifesbreezes

    You are right, attitude is everything. Nobody will see something exactly the way you do, and for that it is important to be open, honest and from the heart. I really enjoyed this post, and I hope you continue to enjoy writing for your Blog. Mama Breeze

  18. Kim

    With your 1) determination and 2) talent, you are destined to succeed as a writer.

  19. Jenerra

    You have no idea how much I needed to hear this. This made me feel like I have permission to change my perspective and re-examine my goals. Thank you – you can add me to the list of 50+ people you’ve helped.

  20. Brad Strother

    Your revised plan has a lot of merit. Now that you’ve laid the foundation, make your blog less of a job and more of an enjoyable outlet. Stay on that path and I think your writing will stay authentic and interesting. Over time you’ll see the number of subscribers you hoped for.

  21. ambertreeleaves

    The remark on having the need to check out the stats is so an eye opener for me. I also have the need to check the stats to see if I am doing good. Does it make me happy? For a split second yes. When the number is lower than my expectations, I feel bad for a minute. SO, I should indeed stop focusing on the numbers of visits and followers, and more on the content, the reasons that make me blog/ Document my journey, enlighten/inspire others, and get quality feedback on my thoughts

    So, for your bucket item #13, you can add 1 to the counter just off this one post!

  22. Unconventional Sustainability

    Your post was very timely and I always appreciate your brutal honesty! And as some who is still working full-time, I enjoy hearing about your latest adventures and how you are approaching your life now that you are financially independent and retired.

    Over the last few years I have come to a similar conclusion that life is what you make of it. So while there are a lot of things that are outside of our control, we do have the ability to control our mindset and how we think and react.

    As someone working towards the goal of financial independence I find myself prioritizing the future at the expense of living in the present moment.

    Therefore, I am working to develop a more balanced mindset that will allow me to live like I am already retired. What I mean by that is to stop rushing through my pre-retirement years, maintain a realistic work-life balance, develop and pursue lifelong hobbies, etc. –

    It’s interesting how we can be our own worst enemies by setting goals that don’t contribute to our real happiness! So it was very refreshing to read this post – thanks!

  23. AnonEngineer

    Thrifygal, I think you put a fresh perspective on personal finance blogging! Thank you for providing an example of early retirement that professional women without a great love for DIY carpentry, car maintenance, and homeownership can relate to. Developing DIY skills is wonderful, but it is refreshing to see someone retire early who I can better relate to. Thanks for being you and writing about it!!

  24. Harsha Ramakrishna

    Stumbled on your blog. Love the way you have worked your way out of the rat race 🙂

    Inspiring, especially the letter to your Dad. 🙂


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