Very interesting topic, and a great opening post. This is something I spend a lot of time contemplating, and I purposely never mention early retirement or financial independence (up until now, anyways) on my website, because for me, that's not what it is about.
Actually, to be honest, I haven't really reached a conclusion yet, regarding what it's all about for me. Instead I apply the lens of having control over your finances means freedom to live the life you want. For some, that will entail investing a small portion of their salary every month, and to be able to comfortably afford the luxuries that make them happy, in addition to having enough of a safety cushion to weather a storm or two. And that's fine, if that's what you want.
What has me frustrated though, is all the mindless consumption in our western society. So many people spend so much time working just to buy stuff and experiences they never derive any meaning or considerable pleasure from, without even stopping to think about why! My mission is to make a dent in the universe by changing that, and making at least one person realise that if they just take the time to get to know themselves and what truly matters to them, they don't have to spend all that money on crap they never wanted in the first place. And if I can teach them something about how to instead put that money to work for them, to increase their freedom in life, that's a bonus. And if I can learn something along the way about myself, and pick up knowledge that helps me live my own life in even better sync with my true values, then that's another big bonus!
I digress and ramble, but hopefully it's possible to derive some sort of meaning from the mumblings above I feel it apt to mention here that I just casually mentioned in a Twitter-conversation that I need an editor