For instance, his advice on how to get rich includes tidbits like: live where luck strikes, say yes to everything, pursue market value not personal value, shamelessly imitate success, benefit from human nature.
One section of the article includes Sivers’ thoughts on “how to stop being rich and happy”. (Or, to put it another way, how to make yourself miserable.) His list seems especially relevant to folks who are financially independent — or hope to become so.
Here’s what Sivers wrote (verbatim):
How to Stop Being Rich and Happy
1. Prioritize lifestyle design. You’ve made it, so it’s all about you, now. Make your dreams come true. Shape your surroundings to please your every desire. Make your immediate gratification the most important thing.
2. Chase that comparison moment. You have the old thing. You want the new thing. Yes! Do it! Be happy for a week. Ignore the fact that the happiness only comes from the moment of comparison between the old and new. Once you’ve had your new thing for a week, and it becomes the new norm, seek happiness from another new thing.
3. Buy, not rent. Why rent a house, castle, boat, or car, when you can buy? It’s not about the thing, it’s about identity. This shows who you are now.
4. Internalize your new status. You worked hard to get here. Celebrate. Relax. Admit you are in a different class of people now, with different needs. Understand there is no going back.
5. Be a connoisseur. Learn what others say is the finest. Insist on only the finest. You will now be unhappy with anything but the finest.
6. Get to know your possessions. Now that you own the best, it’s time to focus on what you’ve got. Learn all about the features of your new possessions. Spend more time getting your surround sound and heated floor just right. Work out the solar panel charging of your Tesla car. This is important.
7. Acclimate to comfort. Eliminate every discomfort from your life. Blame others when the world seems hard, and is not living up to your standards.
Again, these are the things that Sivers says you shouldn’t do if you want to be rich and happy. Do you agree with him? Disagree? Are there other warnings that you’d add to his list?
Sivers’ list is interesting. It makes me think. I agree with a lot of what he has to say, but also feel conflicted about a couple of points.
I wonder about the first item on the list, for example: prioritizing lifestyle design. As you know, I’m a vocal proponent of finding purpose and making meaning in your life. I believe it’s vital for each of us to to build a life around our personal goals and values. Isn’t that the essence of lifestyle design?
At the same time, I agree that it’s dangerous to live a life built around immediate gratification, one in which you satisfy your every desire. That’s a path to ruin — financial and otherwise. But is it truly lifestyle design?
Also, I’m not convinced it’s a bad thing to know and appreciate your possessions (#6 on his list). In fact, it’s often a good thing to understand how things work so that you can make the most of what you have. Perhaps this can be taken too far — to the point of obsession — but I’d rather people were familiar with the features of the things they own than they remained ignorant and had to rely on outside help to make things work.
My own personal weakness is #5, the dangers of becoming a connoisseur. If I don’t police myself, I can fall into this trap. I’m fond of good whisky, nice electronics, and high-quality travel gear. Because I subscribe to the notion of conscious spending — the idea that you should actively spend on the things that matter most to you while cutting back on the things that don’t — I can sometimes convince myself that it’s reasonable to buy that bottle of 18-year Macallan single malt whisky.
In case it isn’t clear, this video is meant to be funny.
Every time I make a purchase, I need to force myself to decide between “good enough” and “the best”. There are times that “the best” makes sense; most of the time, though, “good enough” is the correct option.
We are not perfect. I’m not perfect, and you aren’t perfect either. What are some things that you’ve done with money that hindered your happiness instead of helping it? What other traps and pitfalls do people face along the road to financial success?