The most powerful force in the universe, and how to use it

Post image for The most powerful force in the universe, and how to use it

Einstein is supposed to have said that the most powerful force in the universe is compound interest. It looks like he probably didn’t, as nobody can seem to find a context for that remark. Whoever said it, it’s profound enough that it warrants endorsement by a famous genius.

I bet Einstein would have been someone who understood that compound interest applies to much more than money. Compounding works everywhere, and our interests concern a much broader set of values than money.

Every established blogger knows, for example, that the hardest web traffic to earn is the first few thousand hits, because they must come from nowhere. You must put in time promoting it: commenting on other blogs, making connections, manually pitching your produce to people who have never heard of you and may have no reason to give it a look.

Once you’ve earned some traffic, then more traffic grows on that initial hard-earned traffic. If your labors have built something with value, then you soon reach a point where you don’t need to promote it. You just need to maintain an active blog. The promotion you did in the past is now promoting it for you. You are living off the interest.

With money, we know that it’s a better deal to buy something that makes money than something that loses money, even if they cost the same today. The idea of harnessing compound interest is to understand the tremendous value of that that which naturally generates what you value. A thousand dollars worth of rising securities is worth way more than a thousand dollars worth of currency, because with you’re not just receiving their current value but many years of their capacity to create value.

The whole point of life is to get rich. If you would scoff at that, then maybe you define riches too narrowly. Actual wealth is the capacity to create quality of life. Money is secondary to actual wealth, because it’s worthless except for one purpose: a flexible tool for building quality of life for you and your loved ones. What you build is your *real* estate, which really only amounts to what it feels like to live your life, and your capacity for making it feel like you want.

Regular readers may have noticed a surge of money-related posts recently. I haven’t become more materialistic — this new fascination is not with money or even things, but with the power of compound interest with respect to real wealth. 

Every choice we make is an expenditure of some sort, of time, of energy, of patience, of well-being. Some of those expenditures return us a straight-up, one-time gain: spending an hour on something that would take two hours tomorrow, for example, like washing your dishes before they get crusty and harder to clean. You could call this simple interest.

In 2012 I experienced astounding levels of compound interest in my quality of life. I made a few good investments, and the payoffs were tremendous over the course of the year.

In particular, invested socially, because that’s where I felt a deficit. I reached out to old friends. I went to meetups with strangers even though it made me nervous. I asked for dates. I spoke up at times when it was slightly easier (in the present moment, at least) to say nothing. These felt out-of-character at the time.

For most of my life I had always tried to scrounge the low-hanging fruit of the social world. I was dependent on my existing friends to deliver social wealth to me. I never made the plans. I waited for invites, I never offered them. I put little into the whole sector and got relatively little out of it.

This year I discovered that friendships compound beautifully, if you invest in them. One new friendship, if you consciously contribute more than the minimum, is likely to deliver several friendships over time.

The most amazing part of of managing your quality of life as you would financial wealth is that the returns can be astronomical in comparison to those of even the most lucrative monetary investments. An index fund that returns 15% a year would be a relative gold mine in terms of financial wealth, but that’s nothing in the realm of actual wealth. Investing in one budding friendship with enthusiasm and proactivity can easily deliver several additional rewarding friendships over the next year, which each in turn can deliver several more over the following year. You can quickly generate more social wealth than you can actually use, just as you would with monetary wealth if you found a mutual fund with a 200% annual return.

Last January I stepped out of my comfort zone a bit to stay with a friend I only knew online when I went to New York City. I have houseguest anxiety, and at the time I was nervous of any unfamiliar social situations (I can’t believe this was only a year ago!) and I remember having the thought that it could be awkward, and I would not have to risk that if I stayed in the YMCA for the whole time instead. I used to have thoughts like that a lot, and sometimes I heeded them.

Of course, we had an amazing time and today he is one of my favorite human beings. But that’s only a sliver of the overall returns arising from that little leap. Through that friendship I almost immediately gained a whole circle of friends in New York City, and had a wonderful romantic relationship that left me permanently more open and more confident, leading to more fulfilling relationships back home.

The trip left me feeling inspired and connected. I moved to my own city’s most interesting and densely populated neighborhood, falling in love with my own city the way I had with New York, and naturally meeting even more friends, which opened me up even further. Almost all social tentativeness, which had defined and stifled my life for the last decade, is now gone.

The compounding continues. My rapidly-developing outgoingness means that I find my daily to-do items far less intimidating. And so I’m procrastinating less, which naturally leads to my being more productive, which leads to greater confidence in what I believe I can achieve in life, all of which together make me more relaxed and assured, which improves even my posture, my health and my attractiveness to the opposite sex, which compounds confidence again, and so on. The difference between what it feels like to be me this January compared to last is staggering.

Quality of life compounds, even better than money does.

But you do need to invest. If you want extraordinary returns, you need to pay, which inevitably amounts to leaving your comfort zone in some area. This is something you should do anyway, because the act of operating outside your comfort zone is the act of expanding your comfort zone.

Most people reach a state of equilibrium, with respect to comfort zones, and stay there. That’s the natural influence of a comfort zone: to keep you in the same place. Comfort zones are actually kind of sinister in that way. There has never been a year in which I confronted more long-standing fears, and never was a year so fruitful.

Just like a financial nest-egg, simply having more relationships — to name only one area where quality of life can compound — creates space and security that makes you less dependent on any particular source of social wealth. You can have a falling out in an important relationship and be fine. So you don’t worry so much about the impressions others have of you, and you feel freer. By the same principle, the lifelong money-saver can lose his job and be fine, and so his working life is devoid of the fear of financial ruin, even if he never has to touch his reserves. This alone is a tremendous dividend.

Opportunities for harnessing compound interest are all over. I keep discovering them hiding in my comfort-zone-derived habits.

An example: cleaning up a mess at the first possible opportunity creates consistent, daily returns, because messes borrow from your quality of life at interest. I can clean up the dishes immediately after dinner, which is the cheapest time to do them (in terms of effort), or I can let them sit and look and smell gross for four hours, which detracts quality of life from every single thing I do in their presence during that time.

Would you rather watch a movie on Netflix with a sinkful of dishes waiting behind you, or watch the same movie knowing you have no outstanding dirty work afterwards? Each option has the same cost in effort, and one is clearly worth more. Invest in that one, even if you’re less inclined to initially.

Take a broader view of this. Imagine what you could do with a few years of habitually aggressive investing. By making wise investments, you can gradually build a life so well-populated with relationships that all the social activities and connections you can handle come right to you without your even needing to reach out. You could make a life in which you’re fit enough that working out is more of a thrill than a drag, one in which it’s easier to keep your place clean than let it get messy, one in which your discipline is self-sustaining.

The ultimate goal, just like in personal finance, is to reach the point where you can live off the returns alone.

***

Photo by ComputerHotline

Learn to live in the present

Everyday mindfulness has transformed my life, and has for countless others. You can use it to reduce stress, deal calmly with trouble, and experience joy and peace throughout each day. Making it a habit is easier than you probably think. Learn how.


{ 56 Comments }

Vilx- January 14, 2013 at 2:25 am

Interesting article, I see your point. Though I wonder if some things wouldn’t be better described as debt rather than investment. Like the dirty dishes, for example.

The difference is what happens when you don’t do anything about them. An investment slowly generates more and more returns, exponentially. A debt slowly generates more and more expense. Also exponentially.

In programming (my chosen field of work) there is a long standing term of “code debt” (aka “Technical debt”). If you see a problem in the program, you can either fix it now, or do more important stuff. But if you postpone fixing it, later it will only get harder to fix it. Because new code will rely on the old behavior, you will not only have to fix that old bug, but also all the new code that relied on it. Delay long enough and fixing it can become a monumental task taking entire teams of people months of work.

I’m not sure where friendships fall in this categorization. They do generate revenues exponentially, but the same can be said about expense. A friendship requires maintenance. If you ignore your friends long enough they become “acquaintances” and over the years fade away to “strangers”. I don’t think that friendships can be categorized as either “debt” or “investment”. It’s something else. Maybe currency exchange.

David January 14, 2013 at 6:59 am

Don’t get hung up on the analogy. The real-life principle is pretty clear. Gains made by way of increased investment in different parts of your life give you more to work with, and so you have more of a capacity to increase your investment (and therefore your gains, if your investments are the kind that return gains rather than losses.)

Marianne January 15, 2013 at 3:59 pm

David, One of your best, I think. The idea of a comfort zone gets more and more pointed as one ages–I know that you are still quite young so trying new things and breaking out of old patterns is a wonderful habit to acquire. It makes me want to possible make a move that seemed very scary but could reap tremendous rewards! I know that our Maine group will be discussing this at length–we hope you can still come and visit sometime–best, Marianne

David January 15, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Thanks, and good to hear from you Marianne. I will come by one day!

jastibral January 14, 2013 at 1:38 pm

The dirty dishes aren’t the investment. The time and effort invested to clean them is the investment. The return on the investment is the joy of having the job done, having a clean looking kitchen. And being able to watch a movie without having dirty dishes nagging at you. (Being able to have piece of mind while watching.)
ps. You can focus on the negitive or the positive. I prefer to focus on the positive, it seems to give more positive returns.

DiscoveredJoys January 14, 2013 at 4:20 am

By some strange coincidence I was thinking along similar lines the other day. My thoughts were that a small steady pressure (to change habits, to generate wealth, to change attitudes) is far more effective than short bursts of extreme effort. Think of tree roots cracking concrete. Think of long gentle dieting.

One of my favourite Latin mottoes is “Gutta cava lapidem” – which is loosely translated as “the drip excavates the stone”.

Vilx- January 14, 2013 at 5:18 am

Talking about purely financial explanations. I recently realized that if you wish to get a lot of money, then working hard or any kind of other “trading time for money” is almost never a viable strategy. There’s only so much you can earn per hour, and if you need to stop, then your income stops too. You need something that generates income in the background, while you are doing other things.

Kenneth January 14, 2013 at 8:24 am

Jim Collins philosophy, which is a succinct summary of all the financial advice you will ever need to know, is “spend less than you earn and invest the difference”. It just grows over time, through the power of compound interest. Even if, when you are starting this thoughtline, your investments are simply paying down little by little, your credit card, auto, student loan or mortgage debt. All forms of debt charge interest. If you are paying down 14 percent credit card debt, you are receiving 14 percent compounding on your investment.

Levi Mitze January 14, 2013 at 6:56 am

Hi David!
Thanks for an awesome article. I found it concise, powerful, and delightfully insightful. I recently had a huge falling out from one of the social circles I (used to) interact in. This was a huge problem for me, because, as it turns out, I seem to have no more than 2 real friends with whom I actual share an active relationship outside of that circle. I have, for basically my entire life, been extremely socially conservative–I almost never invite anyone anywhere to do anything with me, ha ha; I’ve always relied on others to provide my life with social vibrancy. But I found your article very encouraging and think I may start actively pursuing a more active social life.
Thanks again!
Levi

David January 14, 2013 at 7:07 am

I was in a similar place not long ago. I had a small circle of friends that I could actually call and say “hey let’s do something,” and any socialization beyond that was dependent on my close friends to set something up.

So it was the investment equivalent of putting my money in a shoebox. It just sat there as inflation (atrophy) ate away at it. You have to put in, or there’s never going to be much to take out. But you get back a lot more than you put in because of compounding.

Kimolisa January 14, 2013 at 7:20 am

Very interesting article, only now I’m understanding this. Although I invested in friendships and experiences in the the past and I’ve seen results as I got older I’ve gotten lazy. Recently, I’ve made the effort to go out and meet new people and it had opened up some amazing experiences. I must say I’m richer for it. Strangely enough your articles arrive at the right time in my life. Veddy veddy interesting. LOL. Have a good week

David January 14, 2013 at 4:27 pm

I’ve noticed that breaking new ground in a particular area doesn’t take that much more effort than you’ve been putting in, especially in areas where you’ve been putting in no real effort :)

So that’s good news.

Maia January 14, 2013 at 7:29 am

Hi David,
great article and timely too.
I have a few close friends but recently I’ve been upset as they seem to always be busy and basically I feel that they don’t always make the time to pritoritise meeting up with me. To be fair they are in relationships, whereas I’m not and so perhaps I’m expecting too much. But I do feel that I should go out and seek new friendships elsewhere so I’m not only dependent on my close circle of friends from school and to be fair I also need to meet different people.
Only problem I have, I’m not sure if you do, that after a certain age people seem to be reluctant to invest time into new friendships. They have their own circle of friends who they see regularly and making an effort to get to know and meet up with someone new seems like it takes too much time. I’ve felt this myself sometimes.
But your right the best was forward is to really make the effort and get to know people and go to parties where you might not know anyone.
I guess that’s another new years resolution to put on my list…

David January 14, 2013 at 4:31 pm

At the beginning of 2012 I made the goal of becoming “socially independent,” which ended up happening even though I forgot I had made that specific goal (I found the forgotten sheet of 2012 goals two months ago and found I had done most of them.)

By socially independent, I really meant I wanted to be able to have a full social life without counting on anyone else to invite me or make plans that include me. Now there are quite a few people I can comfortably call and make plans with any time, when before there were only three or four.

Amber January 14, 2013 at 7:54 am

Thank you for the great article – I’ve always waited for my friends to invite me. Time to get proactive!

Reikalein January 14, 2013 at 7:57 am

This is so aptly timed.
My boyfriend was lamenting the fact that his life is boring (despite it being seemingly action packed). I pointed out that he’s in a somewhat unique position to have had many of his closest University friends not all move to the same city as him at the same time, but also all work at the same company as he does. He’s made little to no effort to make any other friends, as a result.

Now that his friends’ interests are diverging a bit, he finds he spends less time with them. I am urging him to do exactly what you just did last year. I hope he will feel the way you do now in a year’s time.

I just need to find a way to encourage him that doesn’t sound patronizing…that’s the tricky bit!

mariavlong January 14, 2013 at 8:35 am

Wealth redefined. Well done David. I must mention that social media has made a big difference in how we value, accumulate and invest social capital don’t you think? I also believe that our deriving pleasure and satisfaction from our relationships decrease the spastic impulses we feel to spend other currencies.

David January 14, 2013 at 4:34 pm

>I also believe that our deriving pleasure and satisfaction from our relationships decrease the spastic impulses we feel to spend other currencies.

Yes. This is a huge point. I think many of us are used to spending money when we feel like we’re missing something. If we don’t have enough social stimulation, we’re going to seek fulfillment somewhere else, and that may cost us money, or empty calories, or both, or something else.

et January 14, 2013 at 8:44 am

But are people you immediately gain really friends? Or are they acquaintances?

Jardley January 14, 2013 at 11:53 am

What do you mean by immediately gain?
Personally, I think it depends on the comfort and chemistry you both have where it can quickly feel like this person is a friend.
But, I also would say I think it takes a couple of interactions and honest communication and less anxiety over what they think before I can consider this person to be a friend.
I think before that they’re people you’re actively getting to know.
Acquaintances to me just implies they’ll stay that way. You know them in passing but have no interest to know them further.

David January 14, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Time is necessary for compounding to take effect and for gains to be achieved. But it doesn’t have to be a lot. There are quite a few people whom I consider close friends today that I had never met one year ago.

Notyoda January 14, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Every friend was once an acquaintance just like every retirement fund was once $50 a month.

Anna-Maria January 14, 2013 at 10:24 am

This is one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever read, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart! You spent a lot of time talking about deficits in your social life, and that is something I’m really struggling with right now. I am exactly where you say you were a year ago. The fact that you have gained so much from pushing out of that particular comfort zone really makes me feel like it’s something I’m capable of doing and that there will be an eventual payoff. I am just about to relocate to a new city in a few weeks, and I’ve been thinking hard lately of how I can make good first impressions and build new relationships, and use this new opportunity to break free of my comfort zones, which I agree are horribly sinister. Thank you so much for this, I actually plan on reading this every day until I move so I can keep feeling the way I do right now.

David January 14, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Yesterday I cleared a ton of audio “notes to self” from my phone, and some were six or eight months old. I had to listen to them all to find out what they were so I could delete them or act on them. One of them was “write down 20 ways to meet new people in this city”. It struck me because I feel complete social abundance now, and it took me back to a time (not that long ago) when I knew I had a serious deficit in that area. You can make a lot of progress in a short time.

pentago January 14, 2013 at 10:46 am

TL;DR

may i suggest you pay a little bit of attention to typography, whitespace and maybe spicing posts with images to ease up reading experience in the future?

You automatically loose good percentage of people who would read this post when they see it that long with no any breaks, maybe to try making it a little bit more receptive for visitors?

In case you’re wondering who the hell i am and how do i have right to criticize you i’ll say only that i’m professional web designer and i care about typography. A lot.

I appreciate your posts and find them fairly unique and worth of reading but please make it a little bit easier to read and digest.

Thank you.

G.

Chris January 14, 2013 at 11:23 am

Pentago, I didn’t read your complete comment. Unfortunately, I noticed that you failed to capitalize the first letter of your first sentence, and that your second sentence contains a word error (“lose,” not “loose”). If you’re wondering who I am to comment on the mistakes in your message, let’s just say that I care about typography. A lot.

I do look forward to future comments you may have, though!

Daryl January 14, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Pentago, I too noticed all the mistakes that Chris pointed out but also would like to add that you used a lower case “i” when referring to yourself six times.

I couldn’t care less about typography and I’m not a designer, but if you have such a hard time digesting a post as clear and well written as this one, perhaps you should spent a little more time honing your reading skills and less time criticizing something you apparently have no credibility in.

David January 14, 2013 at 4:47 pm

You may suggest whatever you like, of course. I am fine with losing whatever percentage of people do not want to read 1500-word articles that make use of full paragraphs. If this article was truly TL;DR for you, this may not be the blog for you. I know I am asking for a higher level of engagement than the average web page asks for. I see that as a good thing.

We all have different ideas of what makes for better reading. I like complete sentences, for example. I don’t like subdividing a paragraph only to make white space. The internet is a huge place and we will all find what we like somewhere.

A regular reader of this blog January 18, 2013 at 7:58 am

LOL!

“pentago”, starting from how you spell your name, to the typographical errors galore (yes, absolutely GALORE), in that fairly short comment of yours, to actually talk of being a stickler about these things, it’s just hilarious!

It isn’t April 1st yet: was that comment of yours some kind of a joke?

Intentionally or otherwise, thanks for a nice laugh!

Cheers!

jastibral January 14, 2013 at 2:26 pm

ha ha ha ! Altho I prefer to focus on the positive; Altho I try to keep things as positive as posible; there is also a time to consider the negitive in order to turn it into a positive.

I find that sometimes it is hard to recieve a ‘critical’ comment about myself. But as I learn to look at those ‘negitive criticisms’ with an open mind, I find the positive in it. I may find someone who cares about me and is only wanting the best for me. I may find good advise in it. I may find points worthy of consideration that may make me better. Or I may find that they are totally wrong and encourage myself in the way I am.

Whatever defects Pentago may have in his typing, I think he has a valid point.

To me, a big long page of ‘same style’ typing is physically strenuous to me.
It makes it EASIER reading when different fonts, font sizes, font colors, highlighting, boldfacing, italisizing, underlining and other such techniques can be employed.

Oh ya, a spellchecker is nice. At this point I keep open a word processing document in which I can write questionable words to use its spellchecker.

jastibral January 14, 2013 at 2:32 pm

PS. Don’t you think that making any website more reader friendly is a good investment for that site??????????????????

David January 14, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Yes I do and I’m always looking to make things more concise and readable. But as I was saying above, we have different ideas on what makes it more reader friendly. Tastes differ. Some people don’t want to read anything over 700 words or so. They might not like this blog. Others think one question mark is always enough, and that an additional sixteen actually make it less readable. The great thing about the internet is that we all get to make these personal choices and we’ll never run out of reading material in the style we prefer.

jastibral January 14, 2013 at 6:06 pm

All true!
Never change your site just to please what others want or what pleases them. Because you will then just be displeasing someone else. You have to do what fits you the best. Then those who like that will follow along.

I like your site. You have a lot of ‘interesting’, ‘thought provoking’ posts & comments.

jastibral January 14, 2013 at 6:10 pm

PS. I will be continuing to invest time to get to know you by at least reading your posts for now. Thanks for letting me to also get involved by adding my comments.

Denny Reed January 14, 2013 at 7:13 pm

I enjoyed your article.
It makes me think about the term ‘karma’, what you sow is what you reep.
I also enjoy your level of honesty and authenticity. It is so refreshing.
Thank you.

David January 15, 2013 at 4:27 pm

It really is about karma, yes. I avoid that word on this blog though, because it’s such a misunderstood concept.

A regular reader of your blog January 16, 2013 at 6:43 am

Perhaps you could do a piece on that, on Karma that is, one of these days?

I’d enjoy reading your take on that, yes I agree, much misunderstood concept.

Cheers!

Cali January 20, 2013 at 7:26 pm

I agree David, I’d love to read a post in which you ‘clear the air’ about the concept of Karma. Just a thought !

Nitya January 14, 2013 at 10:33 pm

I’m amazed that you have ever felt socially inhibited. You come across as being incredibly competent and confident in your social interactions. The big difference between the “David” on paper and the “”David” in the flesh, I guess.

It probably won’t always be thus, but to date I’ve always made friends very easily. I’m not at all shy, and I’m happy to respond to friendly initiatives. Not all these initial social connections stand the test of time,however. As I have quite strong opinions in many areas, and I’m not at all reluctant to expound them at the slightest provocation, this can and does, result in the loss of some superficial acquaintences.

Those lasting friendships are the ones were we can have our different take on issues but for the most part, share important core values. The more casual relationships can fall by the wayside, but I’m not perturbed.

Now, how can I relate that in terms of investment? Perhaps I can think of it as making many small, low risk investments , in the hope of a big payoff and finding a potential soulmate. It’s worth the effort, as a friend with whom one can completely relax , pays huge dividends.

David January 15, 2013 at 4:07 pm

One of the reasons I gravitated toward writing was because it gave me a chance to organize and edit my thoughts before I shared them. Speaking to people in real-time is different, and I was self-conscious, which creates a self-defeating cycle of shyness. I feel altogether over that now, but last year at this time I didn`t.

steph in berkeley January 15, 2013 at 1:58 am

another good read. thanks david. i hope you don’t mind the lower case writing. i notice some of your commenters do ;)

David January 15, 2013 at 4:08 pm

I think it`s hypocrisy more than lower-case letters :)

larry elford January 15, 2013 at 11:17 pm

The only wealth that truly matters is your health, your reputation, and the freedom to spend your time and your life in the manner you choose. If you have that, you have it all.
Larry Elford

Thanks David, for another thought provoking post.

Gerson Cifuentes January 17, 2013 at 10:32 am

David,

This is the first time I have read your work. I must say that I am very impressed. You were able to articulate something that I have been striving for, for a long time. I have seen the benefits of good investments in my life, I always knew that everything I do has a potential return. This is the first time I have heard of anyone being in tune with that train of thought so well. Great post. I look forward to more articles from you.

Gerson

Bucksprout January 17, 2013 at 10:43 am

What a wonderful perspective on compound interest. Wealth is not about how much money you have it’s about options. And those options surely extend to friendships. Great post!

Partha January 18, 2013 at 7:44 am

Wealth, however defined and in whatever currency, can I suppose be defined as the excess of what you have over what you want.

Now it’s rather common sense really, but to address just one side of the equation can never work, since the other side tends to grow too, and often in pace with (or faster than) the supply side.

You can equally well become wealthy by simply bringing down the ‘wants’ side of the equation without doing anything else at all. The mendicant who has truly renounced the world, for instance–and the operative word here is ‘truly’, since true renunciation is separate from, although it may sometimes overlap with, formal renunciation–and who lives in his monastery or forest retreat in full contentment is (to take a rather extreme example) is perhaps the wealthiest person in the world.

Retiring to the forest or an monastery needn’t be every person’s goal, but if we approach the concept of wealth with both sides of the equation clearly in mind, and with the full realization that the second part (the ‘wants’ part) is not a given at all but a discretionary amount, we can approach the question of wealth much more effectively.

Of course, every man must work this out for himself, and what he works out may differ at different points in time, but I’m willing to wager that most people who’ve worked for a decade or so (as you yourself, D.) — and have at least some amounts of savings and are not neck-deep in credit card or other debt and perhaps have some kinds of assets like their own house or flat and some money tucked away are ALREADY wealthy, most people — are ALREADY wealthy, are already retirement-ready (without going quite the extreme of becoming a hermit). Provided, of course,that that’s what they want.

As with your article, D., this applies to all kinds of wealth: your actual stock of (or flow of) money as well as the stuff that money can buy; your friends and what you do with your friends; yours and others’ ideas and thoughts and how you interact with those; everything. For instance, you may realize that you can very happily (indeed, perhaps MORE happily) live with far LESS friends, even ‘real friends’, far less people around you and with you, than you may otherwise, unconsciously, imagine. Less can often be more.

Moving one’s emphasis from putative wealth to actual wealth (as you’ve spelt out in your article) is a great first step, but without the second part of the equation simultaneously and clearly in view, the exercise of trying to become wealthy can only be blinkered and ultimately futile (or at least, if not always quite futile, not half as effective as it might otherwise be).

You have, indeed, talked of curtailing wants in more than one article earlier, here in this website; and perhaps you’ve internalised the second bit enough to take it as as self-evident: but I thought that when we’re talking of wealth it might be worthwhile to spell out, explicitly, that we need to simultaneously keep one’s eyes on both aspects.

K from India January 19, 2013 at 2:26 am

Hello David,

Nice post. Please do write something about how to maintain friendship or How to be to make people like you. Since childhood parents and role models have been there who keep telling you How good you should be, etc. But its just that when David says, it is more convincing and put to practise.

Thanks again for what you have been writing and writing it so well.

Cathy Zheng January 19, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Excellent writing and excellent advice.

Miss Becky January 26, 2013 at 9:55 am

David – I was pointed towards your blog from another website that I am only marginally interested in, but how refreshing to have found you! Excellent insight, eloquently put. I too would like to hear your take on Karma…if nothing else, I know that it will make me re-evaluate some of my own thoughts on the subject. Thanks again for intelligent, thought provoking work

Maria January 27, 2013 at 8:31 pm

David,
thank you so much for another great post. It’s encouraging to know that even a talented, well traveled and and inspiring individual like yourself has had “meeting new people” anxiety. Getting out of my comfort zone and going to “scary” meetups with “strangers” is one of my new year resolutions. As well as eliminating meat from my diet.
As always, thanks for inspiration and reassurance :)

Hector January 28, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Who wrote this article and when was it published?

Gabie February 14, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Hey,
I really liked this post. It’s all true, you know. I have a hard time with it, though… I feel like a lot of the time I’ll put myself out of my comfort zone and try to talk to a lot of strangers and make plans to hangout with them. Literally everyone I meet who I have a good time with, I’ll try and start a friendship with them but it never seems to work? It’s come to the point where I don’t want to try anymore because the rejection is killing me…

J Cota March 13, 2013 at 12:17 am

I think the “whole point in life” is to be (a good human being) not to ‘get’ anything.

Genghis John March 28, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Not sure if Einstein said that quote or not. Interesting enough, compounding interest is mathematically the same as exponential growth and decay which dictates the chain reaction in a nuclear explosion. So compounding interest really is the most powerful force in the universe!

World of Tanks Hack Télécharger June 30, 2013 at 2:00 am

Its not my first time to visit this site, i am browsing this web page dailly and take good facts from here every day.

S March 10, 2014 at 5:31 pm

I really enjoyed your articles, thank you for sharing the wisdom. I can totally relate to thi. One thing from experience, when you can live off on the returns alone, one still need to be grateful and not take things for granted. Sometimes the compounded returns can run out.

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 6 Trackbacks }


Raptitude is an independent blog by . Some links on this page may be affiliate links, which means I might earn a commission if you buy certain things I link to. In such cases the cost to the visitor remains the same.