A key lesson about living a good life is to not force things. People who want to control everything end up frustrated with their results. It’s harder to be wealthier that way.
This is something philosophers of all ages and places have agreed on. The concept of letting go is so unnatural to human nature. We all have experienced the drive to control things.
If this wasn’t such a universal thing, people wouldn’t write about it so often. One of my favorite philosophical books is Solitude: A Return to the Self by the English psychiatrist Anthony Storr. In the book (published in 1988), Storr challenges the idea that external relationships are at the center of human existence.
What attracted me to Solitude is that I never believed in the idea that life is about externals. I think life is all about the relationship you have with yourself. As an introvert, that idea came easy to me. But since the world forces you to be outgoing and part of the bigger social structure, I never fully followed my own instincts.
I developed my view and lifestyle over the last seven years thanks to technology and the ability to publish articles, books, and courses. That helped me to earn a living by doing something meaningful.
And solitude has been the driving force behind everything I do. This is not a new idea. Everyone knows it requires alone time to make anything big happen in life. From running a marathon to building a business, we must rely on ourselves to pull through.
We have to spend thousands of hours on training and developing skills. But there’s also another thing that’s critical.
To be a good investor, you need a deep understanding of human psychology and behavior.
The first time I heard about that was when a friend told me to read Poor Charlie’s Almanack in 2015. It’s a book about the investing style of Charlie Munger.
So I bought the book, started reading it, and thought, “What does this have to do with investing?”
I found it very insightful, but at the time I didn’t grasp why the book was mostly about investor behavior.
You’ll find a lot of ideas about what not to do as an investor. You’ll learn about the most common mistakes. But you won’t get a step-by-step program for investing in stocks like Charlie Munger or Warren Buffett.
Since then, I’ve learned that investing is mostly a matter of a deep understanding of human behavior. Just reading a few mainstream books on psychology isn’t enough.
That’s something I’ve been living by for the past few years. I like this life philosophy because it inspires me to improve in the long term, but also reminds me to be content with my current life. Contentment is hard in a world obsessed with more.
I didn’t have that short-term contentment in the past. For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to have a better life.
- I wanted to get more degrees
- Read more books
- Earn more money
- Visit more countries
- Put on more muscles
- Run more miles
- And so forth
It was always more, more, more. When I got my high school diploma, I didn’t care. I said, “College is the real deal.” So I went to college and got a degree, and still, I didn’t care. “Got to get a post-grad degree.”
It was weird because I was the first college graduate in my immediate family. My family came to the graduation ceremony and my parents were very happy.
I’m not the kind of person who likes to celebrate things most other people like to celebrate. To me, it was just part of the process. While others were celebrating their graduation, I was mostly preparing for the next big thing.
I was talking to my friend who’s a financial advisor the other day. He told me about wanting to convince someone to stay at his firm of about 90 people. In the past two years, they’ve been having labor shortages like everyone else.
He mentioned one of his employees quit his firm to work a government job. The former employee’s new government job is very stable, low intensity, type of work.
The person didn’t want to work in a dynamic environment anymore. It was too much pressure.
My friend asked, “What can you do to avoid this? And inspire people to stay at work?” It was more of a rhetorical question.
The truth is we can’t convince people to do anything, let alone convince them to stay in a job they can’t perform. Another friend experienced a similar situation. He runs a consulting firm and a new employee quit after three months because he felt like he wasn’t successful.
If we can’t convince people to do anything, what should we do instead?