Tackling the hidden dichotomy of adulthood: Money is Everything Vs Money is not Everything

money map

Recently I was having a conversation with my friend and we touched on this sticky topic: Is money everything or money is not everything? We got into an interesting debate, and clearly, neither one of us were willing to back down from our viewpoints. It got me thinking, how much do I know about this topic? How much do I understand? Why haven’t I spend sufficient time pondering about this? What is my view on this? And so I spent 2 weeks talking to friends, reflecting upon my past experiences, and doing a little research on my own.

Here are my findings.

Disclaimer

I’m neither a subject matter expert on economics nor Nobel Peace Prize laureate, these are my opinions based on my observations, research, and general experience. It is also meant as a satirical, opinionated, and critical piece trying to promote self reflection and discussions.

Arguments supporting ‘Money is Everything’

1. If you have no money, how are you going to do anything?

cash rules everything

The first and perhaps the most powerful statement of all time. Dished out to shut out money haters. One could argue all day and never win because we simply need money. We need money to buy food and water for survival. We need money for transportation. We need money to buy clothes. We need money to buy a home for shelter. We need money to buy a phone for communication (or the latest Apple X or Samsung Note X). We need money to do stuffs. If we have no money, we simply cannot survive.

2. Money makes the world go round.

Currency is the basis for trade, used as a medium of exchange for goods and services. The common denominator of most trades uses money as currency. Try explaining that we exchange food using money to a 2 year old kid or an alien who just arrived on earth is just pure garbage.

But that is the world we live in. This goes deep into STEM disciplines, but for the layman, let’s just accept the fact that everything in life requires money.

everything is money

3. If I have $X, I’m will be/can __________

If I have $X, I’m will be happy.

If I have $X, I’m will not worry.

If I have $X, I can travel around the world.

If I have $X, I can visit michelin star restaurants.

If I have $X, I can buy my dream car(s)/ house(s)/ watch(es)/ iPhone(s)…

You get the idea.

People here are purely in pursuit of hedonistic pleasures, which quickly turn into a never ending treadmill where one is constantly seeking the next fix.

Kind of how Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) describes himself in Wolf of Wall Street.

It also grinds my gears that when people say if they have $X, they will be able to invest the money, which in turn generates even more money. I’m no expert in investment, but I do know there’s no investment that is risk free. Statistically saying, even if the risk rate is 0.0000001%, you still can lose money, right? But the unwillingness to forego this argument is madness. Why? Because when you have no money (i.e. currency, or resources), what you have is time. If you have a keen mind to learn and better yourself (i.e. spending your time wisely, see what I did there?), one day you may well earn enough kah-ching to do the things you want.

Arguments supporting ‘Money is not Everything’

1. Money is the root of all evil

Because money makes people do really mean things, like war. Lives are lost. Once you lose your life, you can’t really get it back anymore. Therefore best not to let money run your life.

2. Some things in life are priceless

Like altruism, which is defined as ‟a mental state that seeks to accomplish the welfare of others.”

A truly altruistic deed must not be motivated by the desire to gain some personal benefit, either in the short or long term, or by the wish to be praised or to receive a token of gratitude, or by the fear of being criticized should we not come to the help of others. An action is not considered altruistic if the sole aim of our behavior is to ease the personal distress that we feel when faced with the suffering of another.

In short: You can’t really buy altruism.

Like air. The air we are breathing can’t really be brought with money. It’s just free.

air is free

Like meaning of life. Most of us aren’t born with an end goal. We do not know why we exist on earth. We don’t know what are are meant to be or do. Even with all the money on earth, you cannot buy the meaning of your own life.

You create it.

Like the genuine look your partner or children gives you can’t really be brought with money. You simply just can’t pay someone $1million to love you genuinely.

500 days of love

3. Genuine relationships can’t be bought with money

Relationships requires a lot work to nature. It takes a cumulative series of goodwills and compromises to achieve the state of genuine mutual connection. Similarly, you just can’t pay someone $1million to the friendship or love.

money can buy love

Summary

At the end of the day, like everything else in life, balance and moderation is key. Even if you have acquired $X, you won’t be truly happy if you don’t have genuine relationships. On the flip side, even if you purely undergo altruistic pursuits, you still need money to survive. Different phases of our lives requires us to pursue each notion more than the other, what’s important is to bring ourselves back when we get carried away.

Header photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash

Believing the phrase ‘everything is just a google search away’ is hurting your success in life

What you are getting into: 664 words, 4mins read + 4mins video

critical_thinking

Photo via Pexels

“It is shortchanging our intellect if you believe everything is just a google search away.” — Nicholas Carr

Internet is changing our brains.

The world we live in is hyper connected. A lot information is just a google search away. Hundreds of thousands of content are created every single day. Billions of emails sent per day. You won’t even be able finish YouTube videos uploaded a day in your entire lifetime.

google_search

A google search typically yields millions of web results. We typically read a few articles and start forming an idea of what’s happening. So, have you ever questioned if the top few results are manipulated by SEO experts and therefore the content you googled were ‘false’? The first few results may not be the absolute truth. Same goes for news publications (countries’ news censorship) and social media. It’s content are carefully crafted for the mass public, think public relations.

social_media_endless_scroll

Studies show that the average person spends 50mins on Facebook every single day. If you sleep for 8hrs, work for 8hrs, spend 2hrs on basic survival and hygiene like eating and bathing, 50mins of Facebook time is 13% of your free time. That’s not even counting commute time which the average person would have. If the average person spends 13% of their free time on Facebook, with the recent rise of fake news, how do they form an educated and informed opinion?

deep_thoughts

Disclaimer: I am not against the plethora of information available on the internet. It serves us well. It helps us to connect with people all over the world. Thus making everyone even closer, and humanity a little better.

Ask yourself honestly, when was the last time you spent time doing nothing, without getting bored?

When was the last time you spent some time daydreaming?

When was the last time you read a book without distractions? Enjoyed a good book without the constant buzz of notifications?

And when was the last time you had an opinion without googling for answers?

When was the last time you questioned the source of information? Be it news, books, articles, podcasts, MOOCs, Youtube tutorials, messages circulated via chat apps, etc. You have been well informed about the rise of fake news and how it is being contained at the moment. Even for mass media, sometimes news publications are politically controlled too. Do you believe everything you read, especially online?

Depending on where you are and where you get your source of news, it is really important to think about the relevance, validity, context, and accuracy of the content.

Nicholas then proposed these key points to practice:

  1. Pay attention
  2. Control your mind
  3. Think conceptually
  4. Think critically
  5. Think creatively

How much of your opinions are formed based on the information you consume? How much do you consume? Are your opinions merely opinions or they are facts? Don’t confuse opinions vs facts.

lebowski_your_opinion

The 5 key points requires years of practice. If you would like, please feel free to deep dive into specific techniques. But before you do, may I suggest that you write them down, find a place to relax or go for a walk, and ponder about it — whether are you practicing them.

Now, if you have reached this point, turn off the internet if you can, and get some offline time to think. Go sit somewhere without computing devices or internet.

Get some headspace. Go back to the real world. Not everything exists on the internet.

nature_walk

Musings on respecting people who workout consistently

What you are getting into: 622 words, 4mins read + 4mins video

Photo via Unsplash

Our body reflects the lifestyle we lead, healthy or unhealthy.

To give an introduction to people who are new to working out, here’s a short paragraph.

Working out is being active. There are two main types of workouts. Cardiovascular and resistance training. Popular workouts for cardiovascular is running where resistance training is lifting weights. Key component for cardiovascular is raising the heart rate where resistance training is exerting substantial force by using pushing and pulling motions.

In order to improve the level of physical fitness in almost any field, it requires pushing past your limits. This, equals pain. In other words, in order to grow, you have to go through pain, every single workout. People who have good bods (#instabod) go through a lot of pain. Day in day out. They go through pain in a very consistent manner.

And if you aren’t getting my message by now, let me rephrase it: People who have good bods go through a lot of pain and suffering.

Many people coast through life. Many spend their lives looking for the one change, the one thing that will turn their life around. Many people spend a lot of time on the internet, then tell themselves that they are not distracted. Many people want to get instant or fast results without suffering tremendous amount of pain.

I say these people are lying to themselves.

Photo via Pexels

Anything that bestow you with pain and yet you have to push past it requires tremendous amount of focus. Without focus, it’s easy to give up. That’s the reason why people give up in the middle of a run while some are able to push through it. That’s the reason why some people don’t look you in the eye while passing you because they are so damn focused on getting to the finish line. Just look at the faces of those runners who are in a race. That’s all they think about — the finish line. Look at serious gym-goers during a workout, they don’t look at anyone else other than focusing on getting and maintaining perfect form.

Photo via Pexels

Because pushing past physical limits requires tremendous amount of focus, it takes a lot to maintain the state of focus. The act of staying focused trains the mind. That itself is the rep of staying focused. Top athletes stay focused during the game. How do they do it? They are trained to focus during the game. They don’t think about anything else other than winning the game during the game. Which is why when athletes get bad press their game is bound to drop in quality – level of focus is affected and thus unable to perform at optimum level.

Now, why do the above matter and why should you respect people who workout consistently?

  • Because these people practice and understand consistency.
  • Because these people practice and understand how to remain focused.
  • Because these people understand pain and discomfort is a necessity in pushing past their limits, day in day out.
  • Because these people overcome the resistance to go through pain and do it anyway.
  • Because these people prioritise health over other things just so they stay fit to protect their love ones.
  • Because these people understand what is consistency, staying focused, pain, discipline, and overcoming resistance.

With all these reasons, I present my main muse: People who work out consistently and have good bods will go far in life. They know having consistency, staying focused, pain, discipline, and overcoming resistance is key to success because by doing all these things, they push past their limits. And because they are used to pushing past their limits, such attributes will spillover to their professional lives where it’s a requirement to success.

With that, I leave you with this video: