Thursday, May 7, 2020

The Stoic Way To Worry LESS About Money by Einzelganger

I used to be a fan of the Law of Attraction (LoA), until I realized it is pseudoscience. In other words, it is not a law, it is just a maxim.

Gravity is a law, it works whether you believe it or not.

But when people say LoA doesn't work, the gurus blame them when the truth is that there is no evidence that LoA actually exists.

However, I've also always been interested in Stoicism and if you've been finding ways to "attract money" to overcome your financial problems, I recommend you learn Stoicism instead.

Sure, it won't help you make lots of money and become wealthy like the "manifestation gurus" out there, but it will give you a much better perspective in your life.

There's a great video on how to worry less about money by Einzelganger.

Here's the script:

How to Worry Less About Money

by Einzelganger

If there’s something that stresses people out, it’s financial problems.

On March 11th, 2020, the coronavirus outbreak was officially declared a pandemic.

COVID-19 not only started to threaten people’s health on a global scale; it also severely affected the economy.

When you’re laid off by your company, or your business has to shut down, or this crisis damages your finances in any other way, there’s a likelihood that you’re struggling to make ends meet.

Money problems often cause anxiety, because they are a direct threat to our sense of self-preservation.

What if I have no income?

What if I become poor?

What’s going to happen next?

In this video, I’d like to share six Stoic teachings that will not solve your money problems directly but might help you to change your perspective, regain your focus and tranquility, and get through financially difficult times.

(1) Get back to basics

The ancient Stoics were masters at observing human nature and the nature of reality.

Being closely related to the Cynic school, they didn’t put too much value on material wealth.

Time, for them, was the greatest commodity.

And our ability to choose and act, they saw as much more valuable than any amount of money will ever be.

Wealth surely is nice, but not only is it beyond our control: it isn’t necessary to be happy either.

To survive, we need food and shelter.

And for the majority of the world’s population, even in the poor regions of the world, this bare minimum is available.

If you’ve got access to YouTube, then you probably have your basic needs met.

But for many people, this isn’t enough.

Especially in developed countries, there’s so much more to money besides it being a way to pay for survival.

We might want to ask ourselves: why are we so attached to our current income?

Why can’t we do, at least temporarily, with less?

Is it because we want to keep up with the Jones’s?

Do we have a social circle that attaches a lot of importance to status?

Perhaps we are afraid to lose our spouse if we fail to keep our wealth intact?

“Fidelity purchased with money, money can destroy,” Stoic philosopher Seneca once wrote.

Here’s another quote by Seneca to keep in mind:

“Suppose that you hold wealth to be a good: poverty will then distress you, and, which is most pitiable, it will be an imaginary poverty.

For you may be rich, and nevertheless, because your neighbor is richer, you suppose yourself to be poor exactly by the same amount in which you fall short of your neighbor.”

End quote.

Anything that goes beyond survival is basically obsolete.

It’s nice to have status, for example, but according to Stoic philosophy, we must be willing to give that up, if that’s the price we pay for tranquility.

(2) Focus on what we can influence

There’s no single worry in the world that can stop bad things from happening.

Yet, when we’re struggling financially, we’re often immersed in the future, and try to control things that we have no power over.

Our greatest fear might be losing our money, and not being able to pay the bills.

But not having money doesn’t take away the strongest tool we have, which is our ability to act.

Taking action doesn’t happen in the past, nor does it happen in the future.

It happens exclusively in the present.

The present is where the future is made.

Therefore, worrying is not only a complete waste of time: it’s detrimental to our ability to act when we should.

Instead of staring at a long, endless road of obstacles, we can compartmentalize our

undertakings and focus on the task at hand.

Only what we can change, right now, is what counts.

(3) Ask for help

The Stoics observed that everything nature comes up with has a part in the play.

We’re all in this together, and by helping each other out in difficult times we act in the benefit of the whole.

Looking at the way people behave during a crisis, like the COVID-19 crisis, for example, we can conclude that human nature has an inclination to help a fellow human out.

Moreover, there’s a lot of research indicating that helping people makes you happy.

In his Meditations, Marcus Aurelius wrote that we shouldn’t be afraid to ask each other for help.

I quote:

“Don’t be ashamed to need help. Like a soldier storming a wall, you have a
mission to accomplish. And if you’ve been wounded and you need a comrade to pull you up? So what?”

End quote.

When we look at the nature of the universe, we’ll discover that everything is interconnected.

We depend on our surroundings; on the oxygen we breathe, on the powerplant that supplies our homes with electricity, on the people that pick up our trash, and so on.

Refusing to ask for help in an interdependent world is kind of insane.

(4) Remember that you’re not alone

If you’re at least a bit wealthy, then you set yourself apart from an enormous group of people.

Especially in Western Europe, there’s such a strong social safety net, that it takes quite some hardships and bad luck to become truly poor.

No matter where you’re from, your financial struggles could lead to the loss of wealth.

This is what scares people.

The biggest fear of the wealthy is the fear to lose it all.

Seneca, for example, was quite hung up on themes like ‘wealth’ and ‘poverty’.

As a rich statesman, he was aware of the burden that the rich bear, which is that what you have, you can lose.

But so he thought: “I may become a poor man; I shall then be one among many.”

When you look at it from a wider perspective, you’ll see that you’re far from alone when you struggle financially.

So many people live in poverty, so many live paycheck to paycheck.

So, you might lose your wealth, but then you’ll share your troubles with many souls.

(5) Put your tranquility first

Stoic philosopher Epictetus was very clear about this: your peace of mind is more important than outside affairs.

Yet, when we’re struggling financially, we often let external circumstances decide our mood.

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to improve our financial situation; it means that from a Stoic point of view we have to set our priorities straight.

Looking for work, doubling down on our business, finding ways to make money on the side: there’s nothing wrong with that.

As long as we don’t sacrifice our mental wellbeing.

I quote:

“If you want to improve, reject such reasonings as these: “If I neglect my affairs, I'll have no income; if I don't correct my servant, he will be bad.”

For it is better to die with hunger, exempt from grief and fear, than to live in affluence with perturbation; and it is better your servant should be bad, than you unhappy.”

End quote.

This may seem a bit unrealistic and extreme, but since the Stoics value time more than anything, they’d argue that we should always aim to be happy under any circumstances.

A simple method that modern Stoics use to make peace with an uncertain future is ‘amor fati’.

This Latin phrase means ‘love of fate’.

Amor fati is the practice of embracing the future, regardless of the outcome.

I’ve made a separate video about this.

(6) Remember what you do have

Lastly, we tend to overlook the things we have and focus on the things we haven’t.

This is probably because we take so many things for granted, that we actually forget how blessed we are.

Marcus Aurelius teaches us to ignore what we don’t have, and try to imagine what it’s like to don’t have what we actually have.

I quote:

“Look at what you have, the things you value most, and think of how much you’d crave them if you didn’t have them.

But be careful.

Don’t feel such satisfaction that you start to overvalue them, that it would upset you to lose them.”

End quote.

There’s much more to life besides money.

Your healthy your body, your relationships, your freedom.

But the most important thing we possess is our ability to choose.

In any given situation, we have the power to choose how we deal with it.

And that’s priceless.

Thank you for watching.


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