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.
Changing your attitude
Solitude is a book full of wisdom that I recommend everyone to read. In the book, Storr has a chapter about “the desire and pursuit of the whole.” This is something that I often hear from people.
They feel like something is lacking in their lives. At some point, they feel like they didn’t spend enough time on self-actualization. They gave too much attention to following the herd.
This doesn’t mean life is about the self. No, life is still about making a contribution and giving. But the person who’s not whole can never give fully. This is something we all find out sooner or later.
Storr heavily quotes the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung in the book. In one section, he quotes Jung about what it takes to achieve peace of mind:
“If you sum up what people tell you about their experiences, you can formulate it this way. They came to themselves, they could accept themselves, they were able to become reconciled to themselves, and thus were reconciled to adverse circumstances and events.”
Now, you might think, “isn’t this article about becoming wealthier?” Yes, and here comes the main takeaway from philosophy.
- To be happy and content, one must accept themselves
- With self-acceptance comes peace of mind
- One no longer tries to force life to be a certain way
- One accepts the way life is
Storr says that “this is not healing through insight, nor through making a new and better relationship with another person, nor even through solving particular problems, but healing by means of an inner change of attitude.”
Change your attitude. Profound, yet simple.
Play the game of life
And it’s the same thing when it comes to building wealth. To be happier, you want to let go.
To be wealthier, you also want to let go. Of what? Of every desire you have. Of all the things you think you need. Instead, focus on playing the game of life.
Storr continues by sharing a letter from a former patient of Jung who made that discovery:
“I always thought that when we accepted things they overpowered us in some way or other. This turns out not to be true at all, and it is only by accepting them that one can assume an attitude towards them. So now I intend to play the game of life, being receptive to whatever comes to me, good and bad, sun and shadow forever alternating, and, in this way, also accepting my own nature with its positive and negative sides.”
The patient intends to play the game of life. I love this mindset because the most wealthy people I personally know look at their lives, careers, and wealth as a game.
The best traders and investors are the ones who have no fear about the outcomes. They just love to play the game. Jung’s patient continues by saying that this way of life makes all the difference:
“Thus everything becomes more alive to me. What a fool I was! How I tried to force everything to go according to the way I thought it ought”
Here’s to the game of life. Let’s play.