The Ticket To Happiness: Extreme Wealth Or Extreme Perspective
The amount you require for happiness is far less than you think it is.
Painting The Picture
When you really boil it down, we’re on a rock hurtling through space at thousands of kilometres per second, in an ever-expanding universe with an infinite number of possible other “Earths", all the whilst contemplating our own existence and our place in this infinitely large ecosystem.
Yea, when I put it that way it gets depressing real quick. Contemplating my existence always makes me feel that sense of dread and nothingness; but luckily, our day-to-day operations disallow that from happening. We’re all so caught up with what we have to do for work/school the next day, that we rarely stop ourselves and think:
What’s the meaning of all of this? Does any of this actually matter?
I think that the answer can be best found on Google - more specifically, Reddit threads that discuss the last thoughts of people who’ve had “near-death” experiences. I particularly like this one, and I think it pretty much sums up the question of whether anything really matters:
In essence, I believe that the aim of our short lives is to make them as fulfilling for ourselves as much as possible, in the best way possible. For different people, that means different things - for me, it’s to donate regularly + do what makes me happy.
So, How Do We Be “Happy”?
For specificity’s sake, the following of what I’m about to write only applies when you have the base layer of your hierarchy of needs comfortably fulfilled - that is, you’re not struggling to find food every night or to put food on the table. I’m also assuming you’re not already uber-wealthy - if you are, you probably don’t need to read this article.
Anyways, I’ve established a pretty good baseline of why it’s important to think about these things - and that when you think about them deeply enough, everyone more or less reaches the same conclusion - it’s imperative for each one of us to fulfill our individual “happiness meter”, whatever that may look like.
And a lot of the time, people think it means being able to travel the world, being able to buy whatever you want, basically doing whatever you want, whenever you want. That also means that you require a certain sum of money to be able to achieve your ideal level of happiness.
And I side with you - money is required to achieve your ideal level of happiness. I’m not arguing about the importance of money in attaining fulfilment - I’m answering the question of how much do you need?
The Argument For Extreme Wealth
I don’t really think I need to break down how being extremely wealthy means that you can do whatever you want whenever you want. For the sake of definition, let us define extremely wealthy as, say, 8 figures or higher.
I would, like to point out that on the route to extreme wealth, many of us sacrifice things such as youth and pain on the perilous road. My peers who enter typical hedge funds that pay upwards of 5 figures a month often complain about an “unfulfilling job, and insane work hours". These complaints can be heard many times near the end of the month when they get tired - then the fat paycheck comes, and they endure another month of hardship.
And the cycle continues. Many of my friends have said that they “want to quit” but only after “ a few years” of working tirelessly for them. They want to amass that “nest egg” before they set out on what they truly want to do in life.
And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that - I think that if you have the grit to do something you don’t like for the sake of your future, it’s applaudable - despite not agreeing with your approach, I do think that it’s fair and justifiable.
Now, some people argue that entrepreneurs fall on this side of the fence. I don’t disagree - I believe that some types of entrepreneurs do - the ones with no intention of creating a value addable business, whose main goal is to be absorbed by some larger acquisition and retire off the money.
However, for the young budding entrepreneur whose intentions were not to be acquired, but to have some sort of positive impact on the world, I believe that he deserves to be on the other side of the fence. More on that later.
Hence, it can be seen that one of the ways to achieve one’s ideal level of happiness is to first amass an egregious amount of wealth to sustain all past, present and future desires. I think that this is definitely one way to go about attaining your sense of fulfilment - be rich, to be happy.
The Argument For Perspective
John lives on a farm, and every day he does what farmers do best - he sows seeds, harvests crops, feeds his animals; and when the day ends, and the dwindling sun shines its dim orange light across his bountiful crops, he looks to himself and feels fulfilled, and happy.
Is John uber-rich? Probably not. But is he happy? Definitely.
The point here isn’t that farmers are happy - it’s that John, who has spent his whole life on a farm, who doesn’t know anything about cryptocurrency, inflation, or even current affairs, is happy in his isolated chamber.
John is happy because he’s satisfied with what he has, and recognises that he’s good at what he does, he loves what he does, and most importantly he does not worry about that which is out of his control.
Old Macdonald might have a farm size 10 times the size of his - does he care? No. He focuses only on himself, in this isolated environment, just doing what he loves. Comparison with others - i.e things outside your own control, is -EV to John.
This is why I believe extreme perspective can bring happiness - when you reach a certain point of enlightenment where you don’t worry about what’s in your control, and only focus on YOURSELF - that’s when happiness can be attained.
But don’t you still need to have money to fulfill your own desires, you might ask. Well, yes - but the argument was never “you don’t need money to be happy” - but that the amount you require for happiness is far less than you think it is.
I.e. you don’t need to be extremely wealthy to be rich - I think, that as long as you have the personal capacity to leave your job at any time and not worry about putting food on the table, is the minimum (hence the definition of certain specifications at the start of the article).
This is probably best shown with an analogy closer to home - After working for a 9-5 for several years, Peter reaches a realisation - that he doesn’t need that much money in the first place. He quits, relocates to Thailand, and does what he loves - he opens an MMA gym. He has mid 6 figures in his bank account, but doesn’t worry; after realising that he doesn’t need extreme wealth to be happy, but to do what makes him fulfilled.
And this is also why I believe the subset of entrepreneurs who create businesses because they believe in it fall on this side of the fence. If I have to be very honest, being an entrepreneur is playing the game on extreme difficulty; Across a large dataset of alternate histories, the hedge fund manager will consistently be paid high five figures whereas the entrepreneur will only have that handful of people who get uber-rich while the rest just don’t reach that level of wealth.
I do think that this is why I view entrepreneurship as something admirable - the ability to chase your own dreams and build what you’ve always wanted to create from the deepest depth of your soul, not for monetary purposes but for the sheer reason that you believe it’ll have some sort of net positive impact for the world.
So the one thing I want you to takeaway is to go back and think - how much do you really need to sustain the lifestyle of your dreams? Strip back the needless desire to flex your Lambos to other people ( competition with others is often a factor in driving people to want extreme wealth as well)
Really go back and think - what do you want to do in this life, and how much do you actually need?
For me, I think my greatest desire is to travel the world for a while, settle down and work on my startup ideas or play an advisory role for protocols. And I don’t need 7 figures for that - probably 6 figures farming stables in a good protocol is good enough (100k in Anchor provides 20k yearly)
When you strip back life to its barest form ;
When you choose to focus on yourself and not on anybody else, to truly analyze, from the depths of your soul, what you want
You realise that happiness was in arm’s reach all along;
That you didn’t necessarily have to sacrifice an arm and a leg just to “reach a satisfactory point”
By lowering your standards, you would have gained so much more emotionally
I leave you with one of my favourite quotes of all time, by Robert Frost.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.
Till next time, fren.
PS. Would like to thank Javier (https://twitter.com/JavierAng_) for inspiring this article, and Gary Vee (yes, that Gary Vee) for the idea topic of extreme wealth and extreme happiness.