• Rhodri Jones

Money On My Mind

"A calm mind, a fit body, and a house full of love.

These things cannot be bought.

They must be earned"

Naval Ravikant

There is a line from one of my favourite films, Fight Club, which has always stuck with me

'The things you own end up owning you'

I promised myself that I'd never let this happen to me.

There is nothing wrong of course with owning nice things, and earning plenty of money.

It all depends what your relationship to the money is - is it a status chase or does it come from a deep love for the material things in life.

Earning money can bring great freedom and increase opportunities in life of course, but it will never fill a sense of psychological lack.

It's always puzzled me as we are always encouraged to build financial wealth.

Yet in practice many of those who are rich seem to be far less content than those who have less on paper.

This just cemented my view that it is all about your relationship to money.

Many people would argue that the reason they work so hard is because they want their children to have a good life, and provide for them. I have a young family to provide for myself and would do anything required to ensure that they had food on the table. But quite honestly in most cases this is an excuse and a smoke screen

When you were a kid think back about what your fondest memories were with your parents. Was it the things they bought to you, that was fun for a bit but the pleasure soon wore off, or the memories spent forming experiences together, which lasts forever, and doesn't have to cost a penny. Ultimately the greatest source of wealth I can provide my own kids is an abundance of fond memories.

This is a quote from the book Psychology of Money, written by investor Morgan Housel:

'When you see someone driving that car is cool, you rarely think,

"Wow the guy driving that car is cool." Instead, you think, "Wow, if I had that car people would think I'm cool." Subconscious or not, this is how people think.

There is a paradox here: people tend to want wealth to signal to others that they should be liked or admired. But in reality other people often bypass admiring you, not because they don't think wealth is admirable, but because they use your wealth as a benchmark for their own desire to be liked and admired.'

In the book 30 Lessons for Living, Karl Pillemer interviewed thousands of elderly people about the most important lessons they learned from decades of living experience.

Not one person said to be happy you should try and work hard to buy things you don't want

Not one said to have more money than the person next to you was a real sign of success.

Instead they valued friendships, being part of something bigger than themselves, and spending unstructured quality time with their children.

It's easy to lose sight of what is truly important in life, when the ego is leading, and you measure your level of self-worth against your bank balance.

You may find yourself constantly competing with those around you and comparing yourself against others.

Not knowing what is enough for you.

Operating from a place of fear.

Playing zero-sum games.

Trying to gain, while the other side misses out

You can become addicted to anything, not just the usual suspects like alcohol, drugs, and smoking. Building wealth or buying things is no different to these, but usually they don't have such a calamitous impact on one's life. The ego though may never be satisfied, and you can keep banking the money, until you slowly become blinded and your soul begins to bleed. And suddenly your nearest and dearest become strangers to you.

What is at the root of your drive to accrue wealth?

Do you even know? Do you ever even question it?

Do you just reel out the automatic answer that has been fed and sold to you by society all around you.

When is enough enough?

You may need a period of stillness to truly reflect on it by being honest with yourself.

For those who are just making ends of meat - survival is all on your mind. I get that, do what you need to do.

Fortunately, most of us though, are not in that position.

In ancient Stoic philosophy they were aware of how too comfortable an existence can slowly suffocate a person. They knew that attachment to wealth has predictable consequences. When we have it, we worry about keeping it, are anxious for more of it, and feel loss when we lose it. So they encouraged periods of going without. It meant periods of living simply so that you were safe in the knowledge that you are ok without so much of your riches. Knowing that if you lose it, don't grasp on to it, and don't measure your level of self worth against it that you will be ok.

The easiest way to wealth, is to be happy with less.

'He who has need of riches feels fear on their account. But no man enjoys a blessing that brings anxiety. He is always trying to add a little more. While he puzzles over increasing his wealth, he forgets how to use it. It is not one who has little, but one who craves more, who is poor. It is the mind that makes us rich. It goes with us into exile, and in the most untamed wilderness, when it has found all that the body needs to be sustained, it relishes the enjoyment of it's many own goods'


That for me is true freedom.

It always exists in the mind, not your bank balance, ultimately.

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