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- ButWhatFor? Four for Friday | No. 034
ButWhatFor? Four for Friday | No. 034
Envy, a New Theory, If, and Thinking About Life
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ButWhatFor? Four for Friday
I have a colleague that is much older than me — approaching retirement — and sometime last year he said something along the lines of “Well, I realized I will never have private jet money, and there isn’t a lot of lifestyle improvement between an average person and having jet money, so why stress about it?”
I laughed at the time, but that idea pops into my head whenever I start thinking about the things I care about. Never are those things that require “jet money”, and rarely are they even money-focused desires. However, working in investments, I find so often that I fall into the envy trap that Charlie outlines above — comparing what I have, which is enough, to things I don’t need and then feeling bad about it.
Things like… That founder is worth $100 million (on paper). That other fund pays better (than my already good pay). He has a big house (that I don’t need). That person has a way easier job than me (that I would hate even if I had it). And so.
To look to another frequent source of quotes in this newsletter…
So, while keeping up with the Joneses in terms of physical possessions is an easier practice to stay away from, the mental game of comparison is harder to avoid… and maybe just as damaging?
A number of you know that I have spent a good deal of time in Asia but grew up in the American Midwest. One thing that I have always found interesting is the clash between my own personal inclination to focus on me, myself, and I, while my friends in Asia tend to define their personal goals in the context of their family relationships and situation.
Now — before I get into trouble — that is a broad generalization and exceptions to that exist all over the place… but it is something I have noticed, right or wrong. And my friends have noticed too — I am often told I don’t think about family enough, define life through personal achievement too often, and so on.
Growing up in the U.S., my personal inclination is to say “why do they think differently?” The above article was an interesting summary of an idea that basically says, “No, you Westerners are the weird ones.”
Apparently, this is a well-known and popular poem, but I just came across it this week. I’ve re-read it over ten times now.
There are so many things in life that can tear you down — and you can tear yourself down easier than anything else can — but if you have the right character and make sure to not lose it in the ups and downs that are thrown your way, things just might work out well enough in the end.
Is ten years of life really so much less than forty that we should view the two so differently?
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Have a great weekend,
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