Meet Lotu. No, that’s not his real name, but that’s not the point here – he wants his blog readers to reflect on themselves not on him. Lotu quit his investment banker dream job on Wall Street and everything that came with it – lots of money, limo rides etc. Why? Because he wanted to enjoy life, and no, working 16 hours per day isn’t exactly the life, is it? He’s now enjoying the Lifestyle of the Unemployed, taking some freelance projects from time to time to keep him rolling (money-wise).
Read the interview below. I’m not saying it will change your life today, but it will surely make you reflect on tomorrows.
Beside the Tim Ferriss’ book, what were the other factors that made you take the big decision (quitting your old lifestyle)?
Lotu: It was really a confluence of events that led me here. First, the economy had fallen apart and my firm was top heavy, making the odds of a promotion slim. About the same time, my mom had her third reoccurrence of ovarian cancer. That caused a lot of introspection of my own life. I kept asking myself “why am I working like this?” No career growth. No time with dying mother. No life outside of work. I just wasn’t interested.
How do you make a decision like that? Does it take a lot of planning, or you just need to do it as you feel it?
Lotu: Up until I left my job, I was big on “life planning”. I believed that you had to do “X” before you do “Y”. But there are 24 other letters in the alphabet. I knew I wanted to live somewhere warm, have freedom over my time, and be the best man that I could be. I started the blog to help visualize my life. Once I knew where I was going, getting there was easy. My advice: Once you have a goal in mind, take the leap. As long as you’re aggressive about getting what you want, it will happen one way or another.
Men are usually scared of such sudden change. Most feel like money is power, and as a man you need that power. How do you argue with that?
Lotu: I’d argue that influence is more powerful than money. I know a lot of filthy rich people who are so scared of losing their money that they’re a slave to their work. They never take a vacation, go out with friends, etc. As a result, they’re so boring to talk to that they can’t influence anyone beyond a paycheck. True influence comes from being able to articulate how to make someone’s life better. Most often that comes from being an example.
[adsense300gray]How did you feel right after the change? The “I’m actually here, doing this” scenario.
Lotu: That’s a great question that I’ve never been asked. It took me about a year before I realized this isn’t just a temporary lifestyle. But my life now is absolutely remarkable. And not in the self-centered way that I had sort of expected. I’ve made a difference in the lives of my friends, raised money for charity and connected with my family in a way I never have before. Add to that some incredible traveling, feeling healthy, and building a blog I’m proud of, and this lifestyle is something that just feels right.
What did you discover about yourself that you may not have already known?
Lotu: I found out that if I stopped focusing on the risk and started focusing on the opportunity, I could do extraordinary things. Now, when I think about risk, I ask myself, “If I fail, how long would it take to be back to where I am now?” Almost nothing takes longer than a year. And I have plenty of those left.
Was there any point where you just wanted to give up and go back to Wall Street? What got you through it?
Lotu: There’s something cool about telling people you’re an investment banker. They assume you’re rich but never ask a follow up question. But telling people you don’t have a job is instantly more intriguing than Wall Street. I do miss competition and the aggressive personalities, but not enough to go back.
So you travel a lot now. Let’s say I want to quit what I’m doing and just move abroad, leaving the past behind. What would you recommend?
Lotu: First, be honest with yourself. Are you running from something? A man settles his affairs before moving on. Hook up with the couch surfing community. It’s a little weird at first but you’ll meet the most interesting people doing it. Also, check out the Big Mac index and pick a place where you can leverage purchasing power to make your money go farther. Look for a country that will let you work part-time (like Australia) so you can spend a solid year traveling. If you’re serious about a trip of the lifetime, buy a round-the-world ticket from the Star Alliance. It will cost about $15,000 but it might be the best purchase of your life.
Do you have a list of places you’re dying to visit — and why?
Lotu: This could be a pretty long list, so I’ll just give you my plans for 2014 so far: France, Italy, Spain, Amsterdam, Croatia, Turkey, England, Iceland, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, British Virgin Islands, Nicaragua, Hawaii, Phoenix, Nevada, Washington, Colorado, Mexico, Canada, and a California road trip.
Do you have a bucket list? Are there things you still want to achieve?
Lotu: The next monumental task is probably starting a family. Not sure how that fits in with my life now, but like I mentioned, I’m not supper into planning.
If we’re at achievements – people guide their success by reaching work-related milestones. Is there such a concept as success?
Lotu: Everyone’s definition of success is different. But they all have one thing in common: Happiness. For me, that means being the best man I can be, not closing a deal. I’m still trying to figure out what makes a good man. But I’m making progress.
Who’s the most interesting person you ever met?
Lotu: Keith Saarloos. He’s a winemaker near Santa Barbara. But more than that, he’s a modern day philosopher. He was the first guy I interviewed for the blog. I called up, said “hi”, and he talked about everything important in life. It was the most educational 45 minutes I’ve ever had. If you’re in Southern California go visit him. If you aren’t, read his blog. You’ll be a better person from it.
You’re a cocktail man – recommend us one! Also, recommend us a cocktail to impress that special lady.
Lotu: Try the scotch-based Blood and Sand. The name comes from a 1920’s silent movie about a peasant-turned-bull fighter. You’ll know why when you taste it. For the ladies, give a champagne glass a sugar rim, add a 0.5 ounce gin, 0.5 ounce St. Germain, fill with champagne. They’re going to love it.
We’re big fans of your gentlemen wisdom section. What’s your favorite quote you live by?
Lotu: If you’re working for someone else, you’re working to achieve their dreams, not your own. Keith Saarloos told me that. I couldn’t agree more.
In a sentence, convince me (or the readers) to take on this lifestyle, to make the change.
Lotu: It’s so much easier than you think it is.
You can get a feel of Lotu’s new life by following LifestyleOfTheUnemployed.com If you’re big fans of our Friday Inspiration series, you’ll surely love LOTU!
Stay smart and Happy New Year!