It’s important to remember this: when we lack something, we can mistakenly assume that, if we only had that one thing in our life, that everything would instantly be fine.
If we are drowning, we flail in the water and gasp for air. This is our only focus: to survive, to get oxygen into our lungs. That’s extreme, and understandable, of course.
If, however, we lack material things or money or companionship or perfect health, we must guard against the same reaction: buying a new jacket or receiving a windfall of money or falling in love or getting rid of that damn flu bug will not automatically make everything okay.
You are still you, and you have brought yourself into this new situation: newly clothed, newly rich, newly in love, or healthy again.
Maintaining perspective will do a few things: it will provide you patience as you work to change or maintain your financial situation (working more or sticking with a budget) or whatever lack or difficulty you face; it will provide balance as you achieve your goals or suffer setbacks; and it will be a ‘chill pill’ when you contemplate buying something in order to feel better.
An old and wise politician once remarked that things are rarely as bad–or as good–as they appear to be. Words to remember.
Persevere. Shrug at your challenges. Spare with success, don’t embrace it. Laugh at luck and misfortune alike. Find your center and hold it.
6 thoughts on “Perspective: The Old Money Attribute”
Doesn’t one need to distinguish between self-gratification and self-realisation? Both may involve a desire for material things, a pursuit of a certain feeling. But while the former is an act of compensation for shortcomings, the latter is the fulfillment of one’s personality and talent — or support for someone else’s.
Who would blame the Medicis for having splurged on art? Or Baron Berners for having installed a clavichord in the back of his Rolls-Royce? Or Sir Thomas Lipton for having built Shamrock V? Or William Gillette for having spent over $1m (1914) on his ingenious castle in Connecticut?
Absolutely, JL. The key is to define and execute the concept of ‘money well spent’. We do have a lot of architecture and art in the world that is the result of healthy egos expressing themselves, and good for us. Some of it is simply entertaining, but much of it is enlightening: the originality and scale of the human imagination. – BGT
Hi Byron. Would the Old Money perspective have me be grateful for who I am, where I am and what I have right now? Finding the balance between going towards my goals, but not from a place of wanting, has been challenging.
Hi Simone, absolutely. You have to hold and express gratitude. And yes, it can be difficult to remember everything you have to be thankful for when you’ve got your eyes on the prize. Best to make a mental checklist every morning: you know, I’m healthy; I have a roof over my head; I live in a relatively just and peaceful place; and so forth. Then start your day accomplishing… thanks, BGT
I feel the need to share a great quote on this subject: “He soon felt that the fulfillment of his desires gave him only one grain of the mountain of happiness he had expected. This fulfillment showed him the eternal error men make in imagining that their happiness depends on the realisation of their desires.” – from Anna Karenina. While I’m here, thank you Mr Tully for your most interesting book. I’ve read it twice this summer and found several important principles that I try to slowly implement in my own life!
Thank you, Jonathan. Great quote. I’m glad you found the book helpful. Please let us know how you’ve implemented new ideas. – BGT