The problem with FU Money

Ja Rule vs. 50 Cent

50 Cent has FU Money.

The rapper-turned-entrepreneur has so much money that he bought 200 front-row seats to Ja Rule’s show.

Just to keep them empty.

How’s that for some shade?

FU Money is the holy grail for hard-charging bankers, software engineers and entrepreneurs.

FU Money lets you play by your own rules and blaze your own trail – without caring what others think.

If you think that’s cool, what about FU Identity?

What’s an identity?

That begs an important question, what is an identity? Is it how you see yourself? Or how others see you?

It’s a deep question that spans psychology, theology, biology, culture and countless other disciplines. There’s no way I could do it justice with a single post.

So instead, here’s a simple framework that can lead you to the promised land of FU Identity:

1. Does your identity come from inputs?

Identity is outward facing. It’s how you send your Bat Signal to your peer group. This can show up as:

An Ivy League degree that tells future employers that you’re “smart.”

A Let’s go Brandon sticker that shows your political affinity.

ATesla that shows how much you care for the planet.

You collect a bunch of inputs. And poof, these inputs spit out your identity.

But be careful.

While this identity can serve as your anchor and a porte-manteau to the outside world – It can also be a self-limiting crutch.

And like many things in life, it often fades.

2. Is your identity an output

FU identity, OTOH comes from not being pot-committed to an identity.

But it comes from having a dynamic and versatile identity. One that adapts. One that is resilient and opens possibility.

One that makes you an identity shape-shifter.

Take Donald Glover, the entertainer. Heck, he literally has two identities since performs as Childish Gambino.

He’s a rapper, crooner, actor, activist, comedian, writer and producer.

(Yeah, that’s a mouthful)

His fellow rapper, Vince Staples said he admires Glover’s ability to “do something different every time.”

When your identity is the output, you do things, irrespective of the labels they bring you.

You do things for the inherent joy of the activity.

You do things because you’re passionate about the craft.

Sure, these activities often come with benefits. They’ll often give you an identity – even if you weren’t explicitly looking for one.

But if you love the process, you can never become a prisoner to the identity.

3. Taking the “F” out of FU

I love to curse, but the F in FU Money/FU Identity is problematic.

And it’s not that it’s vulgar, patronizing and uncouth.

(Though, it is.)

It’s that it presupposes that you don’t need anybody.

That your actions don’t impact others.

That you are your own ride or die.

And that couldn’t be further from the truth.

We’re a social species. We don’t live on islands. We don’t want to live in gated communities.

Our actions impact others.

Regardless of FU money.

Regardless of FU identity.

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