Aside from developing a crippling Adderall addiction, I wish there was a way that human beings could skip sleep. Don’t get me wrong I fucking love sleep. I could sleep for 12 hours each night if I let myself (especially in the winter), but there is too much opportunity on the Internet to sleep.
Up to about a hundred years ago our ancestors had to plant seeds every year, hunt animals, and forage for food. If they failed then they died. Simple as that. Thankfully we don’t have our lives hanging in the balance if we don’t start our own garden, but the opportunity costs of sitting on the sidelines are almost as great.
There seems to be a cultural narrative that the government should supply us with jobs, and take care of us during retirement. If you listen to any political rhetoric the term ‘job creation‘ is spewed at least 10 times in a 5 minute period. Imagine the cultural explosion of creativity and resilience that would follow if we replaced this term, that implies dependence on an employer, with one that implicitly suggests developing valuable skills that people will pay us for. This used to be how the workforce functioned, but with the fall of trade-skills like plumbers, electricians, etc, and the rise of the American Religion (College) the new coming of age moment seems to one’s first full time job. As a species we are too intelligent, too creative, and too adaptive to settle for a corner office in a middle management job.
This desire of the government to provide for us probably extends from the ingrained, paternalistic desire for our parent’s to shower us with unconditional love. Unfortunately, I’ve recently realized that this desire is doing more harm than good to my life. It’s nice that my parents pay for the insurance on my car, as well as my cell phone- many would probably call me ‘spoiled’. But I’m heavily invested in financial freedom- freedom from student loans, freedom from being under my parents wings financially, freedom from the nagging feeling of only having a few thousand dollars in my bank account.
Before I go too Ayn Rand and rant about how we should let the market decide everything, let me clarify myself: relationships seem to be the most important thing in life. Across all cultures the happiest people are those who have the strongest social ties.
Do you know what the most common cause of divorce is in the United States? Money issues. I’m not a Christian, but the Bible seems to take a negative stance toward wealth:
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God
I wonder why that is? Perhaps because money and wealth building can be predatory.. Think of a sleazy used car salesman trying to hoist a Ford Pinto onto you.
But times have changed. The economy seems to reward those who add the value to people’s lives. There are YouTube stars pulling in millions each year for the simple fact that they entertain people. We don’t need to be a cut-throat Rockefeller (who was actually a philanthropist) in order to make money. Let’s call this new era the time of benevolent-capitalism (I wish I could say that I came up with that term).
It’s true that there are a lot of terrible things in the world: millions of refugees have been displaced from their homes, millions of people die every year due to preventable diseases, and most don’t have access to quality education. If you are reading these words on your computer screen then you likely have access to healthcare, education, quality food and water and live in a relatively stable and safe place. That’s wonderful news. Not to say that the discontent and the monotony that seems to plague western life isn’t real, but there is a lot to rejoice about.
So who can positively impact more people: the radical ascetic ( ex: Chris McCandless from Into the Wild) who disavows all things that have to do with capitalism and tries to take 3 second showers to cut down on their environmental impact, or Warren Buffet, who has vowed to donate almost all of his wealth to help the less fortunate. Which person will have more of a positive ripple effect on others and the world at large?
Some people don’t seem to be interested in making a lot of money. That’s fine. It’s their life. But whenever someone claims to ‘not care about money’ I always sense a twinge of self righteousness and superiority. Like it’s a competition to show how spiritual they are (spiritual materialism)
I’m writing this article to try and organize my thoughts around money and the coming year. For better or worse, my identity is tied around what I’m doing to make money. And that’s what this year is going to be about: developing multiple streams of income and recording them on this blog, and god-willing, help other people do the same.
I don’t think wealth accumulation should be the most important thing in one’s life. Once we take our last breath no one but the person receiving our inheritance cares about how much money we have created in our lifetime. But to spout that ‘money isn’t important’ and then proceed to spend a full five days out of the week, for ~40 YEARS going to job in order to support one’s self seems wildly hypocritical.
Typically when I focus my attention on my eBay business or other ventures I obsess about what I should be doing.
‘I should be trying to build relationships with other people. It feels like I have no friends’
‘What I’m doing is worthless in the grand scheme of things.’
‘There’s no way I can create multiple streams of passive income.’
But let’s call these thought patterns for what they are. BULLSHIT. The first one does have some truth and it would serve me to socialize like 3 times a week, but I have one resolution and one resolution only this year: To create wealth for myself by adding value to other’s lives. I hope you will follow me on this journey.
PS. Stay tuned for a free book on how to resell things full- time on eBay. It should be out within a week