Three things I’ve been thinking about.
1. Frustration lives in the gap between expectation and reality
Stoic philosopher, Epictetus, wrote of freedom:
“Freedom isn’t secured by filling up on your heart’s desires but by removing desire.”
Author, Ryan Holiday, followed up on this:
“There are two ways to be wealthy—to get everything you want or to want everything you have.”
The theme of removing desire to achieve true wealth and happiness can be found throughout all of history. A common rebuttal comes from a fear of complacency. If I remove desire won’t I become lazy? I’ve found that question comes from a place of misunderstanding the true lesson. Where is your focus? What is being desired? A drive for things and external accolades leads to a life of emptiness. A desire for internal progress leads to fulfillment and joy.
2. Fall in love with the process or risk never enjoying the progress
Author, James Clear, wrote:
“When you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don’t have to give yourself permission to be happy. You can be satisfied anytime your system is running.”
Good financial planning strikes a balance between securing your future and being present for the moments along the way. I hear people say, “I need (insert amount) before I can slow down.” You know that’s not true. That finish line just keeps moving. Be careful of the disease of “I’ll be happy when…”
A system based on your values is more satisfying than a plan based on a dollar amount. Don’t hang your happiness on an outcome.
3. Consistency is a superpower
Charlie Munger once said:
“The first rule of compounding is to never interrupt it unnecessarily.”
The unsexy truth of success is that it usually takes time. That goes for building wealth or a skill or a relationship. It goes for everything most of the time. It’s easy to point to exceptions to prove the rule. It’s easier to think something is an exception when it’s not. You see the results of others’ success every day, but you rarely see the work.
You want what your parents have now. You forget what it took them to get there. You see the Netflix comedy special—not the years of bombing in dingy nightclubs. When you rarely get a view behind the curtain of others’ lives it’s easy to feel frustrated with your own. When encountering someone you admire with something you want, ask yourself, “I wonder what it took to get them there?”. The answer is probably a lot simpler than you think. In most cases, it’s just about sticking to it.
Here’s to making money matter!