Found another interesting email in my inbox this morning, and even though I had to re-read it twice just to make sure I understood it all the way (which I blame on lack of coffee, not brains!), it was the perfect pairing with another item I wanted to share with you guys today…
We’ll start with the brain dump by Wilfred Waters, who if sounds familiar is because we’ve featured him before when he showed us his 1-page spreadsheet on figuring out when you can retire. Which if you recall, included one of the most brilliant features I’ve ever seen in a spreadsheet – a tracker on how long you have until death! The perfect reminder to LIVE while you’re in there crunching all those #’s! ;)
Here’s his latest epiphany:
I had a budgeting thought today that I wanted to share.
I think I’ve cracked the code.
Capitalism creates a numbers-driven life.
Each person is just a walking, breathing capital reserve expressed via a balance sheet.
Each person is their own defense against:
- Capital loss
- Their income and expenses sheet going out of balance (if that’s not repeating 1.)
It might look like people are brick layers and professors who need to know how to spell to participate in society, but actually they are each little engines for capital generation and, crucially, defense.
Their success at that can be gauged entirely mathematically via the sum of (things valued via) currency that they own.
The challenge then in a capitalist society is to:
- Be numerate, particularly regarding maths of capital
- Convince others to hand over their capital to you. This is because your value as a person increases with capital. So you need to come up with good ways to overcome individuals’ capital loss defenses, so you can have theirs.
This is not to say steal. Instead, create for example, marketing campaigns that distract people from a merely numerate approach to evaluating what’s in front of them. Through your campaign you can get people to effectively steal from themselves by forgetting that a facts and numbers based assessment is all that matters.
For example, you might shame them into thinking they’re not beautiful enough without your shampoo. Both the shampoo and marketing are just mechanisms to achieve capital transfer. You don’t have to care about shampoo, and your next such mechanism could as easily be a truck tire repair business.
Just like people in a capitalist society, company success is measured via your company balance sheet. After all is said and done, if the bottom line is black you have developed an effective capital transfer mechanism.
If you cannot speak in numbers, you’ll fail to participate fundamentally in a capitalist society.
And yet, what do most people end up hating at school? Feeling afraid of and confused about? The very language that they require to win in a capitalist, numerically reductive society.
The way to empower people, without changing the system, is therefore numeracy and not literacy. Otherwise we’re just raising lambs for the slaughter.
What do you think? Is he on to something?
I told him I agreed that we DO need to understand #’s right in order to flourish in this great world, but the part he was missing – and a biggie – was that humans are, by nature, emotional. And we don’t always follow the “smartest” path whether the numbers show it or not!
You can be armed with all the information in the world, but if your brain is scaring you or exciting you one way over another (as we saw with last week’s “Should I pay down the mortgage or keep saving?” dilemma), the odds are good you’ll lean towards what your body is telling you. Everyone knows how to save more or earn more or pay off debts – it’s a basic concept! – but they still don’t do it if they’re not motivated enough.
It’s not until they get so pissed off with their lives – or extremely excited about the possibility of a better one! – that they start to finally take action. Same goes with exercising, or losing weight (usually – obviously there are exceptions), or stopping smoking, etc. You have to want it bad enough to overcome all those habits and pain stages!
But back to Wilfred’s point, yes – the marketers very much know how to win in this game of stealing our money, and unfortunately it won’t be stopping anytime soon.. (Though ironically, many of the people hawking these things are themselves deep in debt and in the rat race too? Do they not know or care they’re a part of it all??).
It does bring us to the 2nd item I really wanted to share with y’all though, and that is this epic video on “Happiness” by Steve Cutts. I hope you take the time to watch it as it’s only 4 minutes, but WOW is it spot on…
If you find you relate to any of these rats, let today be The Day you change that!!
(I don’t know why it says it “may be inappropriate for viewers” since there’s no cursing or anything (it’s a bunch of rats??) but don’t let it scare you away…)
Sums up a lot of lives we know, right? Maybe even our own at one point in time, or even now??? If it’s the latter, I hope you’ll wake up from it today and realize there’s a better way out there!! There’s so many routes to happiness that are not only free, but empowering!!
And here are a few of them, along with some of my personal favorite resources if you want to explore any of these further (which I hope you do – they’re crazy inspiring):
- Minimalism (own your stuff, don’t let it own you!!) –> BecomingMinimalist.com
- Essentialism (focus on the most important and eliminate the rest) –> Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Book by Greg McKeown)
- Consciousness (be awake in all you do!) –> CaitFlanders.com / Raptitude.com
- FIRE/Financial ass kicking (freedom > money) –> MrMoneyMustache.com / MadFientist.com / IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com
And then here’s my full blogroll as well if you want more: budgetsaresexy.com/blogroll
Again, the knowledge part here only takes you so far, but hopefully it’s enough to spark a little action and get you on your way to a more improved – and happier! – life.
Each person is not just a walking, breathing capital reserve expressed via a balance sheet. We have our own hopes and dreams, and most importantly the CAPACITY to fulfill them with or without loads of money at our disposal.
But it does take energy and inspiration, so hopefully you leave this post today with a little more of each so you don’t end up like one of these ugly stinky rats! Hit replay on that video anytime you need another kick in the pants to snap out of it again ;)
There is a different way! And it’s in your power to change it!
Big thanks to LizWithLime for passing me along this video, as well as Wilfred for allowing me yet again to share his thoughts with the world… You’re two for two, good sir – hopefully it’s not another year and a half until your 3rd note!