Life is simple. Why do we make it so hard?
This is what Jon Jandai, a farmer from northeastern Thailand, asked the audience while delivering a TED speech in 2011.
He echoed what Confucius had said 2,500 years earlier, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
While I recommend you watch Jon’s complete speech, the crux of what he says is that we don’t have to do what society tells us, we can have the life we want, and our choices determine if we get such a life.
Consider saving money and investing it well over a long period of time. This is all you need to create wealth. Simple, right? But the question again is, like Jon asked, why do we make it so hard?
Look at this chart that talks about the three simple steps to get wealthy over time…
Could this get any simpler?
Of course, money isn’t everything in life. But it sure does help to consistently spend less than you earn and invest the difference well. Over time, compounding will do the rest for you.
Now the path to saving money is not to be a penny pincher. You need to enjoy the present as much as you must save for the future. You also need to find ways to grow your income (legally, please!), and that’s a very important step in the wealth creation journey. But the key idea is that you avoid spending big money just to keep up with what (you think) the society demands of you.
“What you own, owns you” is a dictum I have believed for quite some time now. And that has helped me make choices that have subsequently helped me create a life I always wanted to live.
Living a minimalist, no frills, life is a powerful idea, my dear friend. Try going on a high-altitude trip where you cannot carry a heavy baggage with a lot of stuff, and you will realize how little we need to survive in the world (even with its headwinds).
But now the question you may have is – If it’s really about minimalist living, what’s the point of getting wealthy anyways?
I have three reasons.
One, if you have money, you don’t have to worry about it.
Now, this isn’t something that is guaranteed. I’ve seen a lot of rich men who are always worried about their finances. However, the real idea is that if you save and invest diligently, and you start doing this early in life, you should reach the point where money worries are relatively rare.
Two, money can give you the freedom to pursue your what you love doing.
When you picture your financial independence, what do you see? Enjoying your life to the fullest given that you’ve ensured that your family’s needs have been taken care of? Seeing around the world? Working on a cause you are passionate about?
Saving and investing can help you achieve such freedom from your financial worries, so that you can attain complete peace of mind and pursue your passions.
Three, money can buy you time with friends and family.
Research has found that regularly being with your friends and family can provide a huge boost to your happiness. And money can help you in this regard. If you don’t need to work or you only work part time, it helps you spend more time with your family and friends, go on regular vacations with them, and spend other quality time in their company.
You see, you don’t usually need millions of rupees in your bank account to spend time with friends and family or pursue your passions. But in order to get somewhere there, you must skip out on that flashy mobile and glitzy car you were looking to own, save that money, invest it well, and repeat this over a long period of time.
The quicker you grasp this simple idea about saving versus spending, the quicker you will be able to start living like a free bird…even if you don’t have many millions in your bank.
And at the end of it, even if your bank account may seem inadequate, your life will be far, far richer.
Charlie Munger once described the secret of success as “take a simple idea and take it seriously.”
Spending way less than you earn and investing that difference well over a long period of time is that simple idea.
If you wish to get weathly, you need to take it seriously.