What Stoicism, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Financial Independence Have In Common

Being an analyst, part of my job deals with pattern detection. If I or my teammates start getting hit with multiple customer issues of the same type in a cluster, there is likely a system-wide issue that is occurring and further investigation is warranted.


In that same vein, I’ve noticed some patterns among both my personal interests as well as the interests of certain others in the financial independence niche. Certain types of people appear to be drawn to various philosophies, possibly due to common threads and similarities among them. Lately, I’ve begun to train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu several times a week and also just finished my first book on Stoicism. Oddly enough, these 3 wildly different subjects have some interesting similarities:


1. A Focus On The Long Game


The practicing Stoic’s goal is to maintain tranquility in his or her daily life. Additionally, other key tenets of Stoicism are learning to enjoy and cherish your current situation as well as adopting a solid “philosophy of life” in order to ensure that one does not waste their life in pursuit of frivolous things. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the martial artist engages in sparring with others and is constantly trying to “play 2-3 moves ahead” of his opponent, similar to a game of chess. Your current position or stance should be preparing you for the attack or submission later in the match. Savvy folks on the path to financial independence slash their expenses and aim to increase their incomes in order to enjoy freedom for the rest of their lives. Focus is placed on rapidly obtaining enough wealth to sustain oneself for future decades to come.


2. Mastery of Self


Stoics recognize the need for maintaining tranquility and controlling one’s emotions and attachments is vital in this endeavor. When you have control over yourself and your emotions, it will be immensely more difficult for others to disrupt your tranquility. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners ingrain countless techniques and maneuvers so that they become habit. They also must remain calm and poised under pressure in order to protect themselves from submissions and later go on the offensive. Those looking to become financially independent have become proficient in answering the question: “Will this add value to my life and is the value worth the cost?”. Controlling your impulse nature to buy junk and avoiding the draw of mainstream commercialism can be the difference between achieving financial independence and being a debt slave forever.


3. Voluntary Discomfort


Choosing to endure slightly painful or uncomfortable situations allows the practicing Stoic to fully appreciate the comforts he or she normally enjoys. You gain a new appreciation for your situation, possessions, surroundings, etc. when they are removed or diminished. Similarly, BJJ martial artists endure years of intense training with opponents of much greater skill. Choosing to suffer many bumps, bruises, cuts, and sore muscles is necessary if one wishes to learn and master the highest level skills and a black belt in the art. FI/ERs will sometimes sacrifice what they consider “luxuries” because the payoff is worth much more to them in the end. Financial freedom and the enjoyment it brings is higher on the priority list for them than amenities that the average person “just can’t live without”.


4. Prioritizing Efficiency


The Stoic seeks to use his precious time on this Earth in pursuit of a worthwhile life. He avoids those things which do not bring him lasting joy or which disrupt his tranquility. The BJJ artist uses stances, positions, and movements that place the focus on leverage and technique, not size or physical strength. This allows him to endure through a match with an opponent because he is efficient with his energy. Financial freedom enthusiasts seek to squeeze out all available value from their hard earned money. They know that a dollar invested today becomes many dollars in the future and they take pride in investing in index funds with low fees, reducing needless expenses and by using their time to generate additional income.


Like the braid of a rope, many different threads come together to form a tight and durable bond. Practicing any combination of Stoicism, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Financial Independence is very likely to enrich your life, whether emotionally, mentally, physically, or financially. Mine certainly has been better for it!



Since starting on the path to financial independence, what other seemingly unrelated avenues have you ventured down?




  • Amy @ LifeZemplified

    May 24, 2017 at 12:53 am

    Interesting post Dogged FI! Ironically enough I’m on the path to financial independence, recently started training for a Spartan race, and just purchased The Daily Stoic. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • DoggedFI

    May 24, 2017 at 12:53 am

    Hah. Thanks Amy! Very interesting that some of us FI’ers tend to gravitate toward similar things. Good luck on your Spartan race!

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