The race of human beings is meant to get carried away with worldly pleasures. We continue to get stuck in the laboriousness in pursuit of such pleasures. More money, a bigger house, a bigger car, a bigger diamond, or a 7-star holiday. We continue to get anchored to such pleasures and forget to re-consider if we are living truly meaningful lives.
Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. the authors of the book “Minimalism” introduced me to the concept of anchors which weigh us down and identify things which stop us from living a well-lived life.
Anchors of Identity
We give ourselves labels and continue to identify ourselves throughout our lives with those labels. Like I identified myself as an Auditor for 10 long years. When I reflect back to those years, I find it hard to find any “fond memories” of my working life. I was doing it for the money. Now that I have removed the label of an auditor, i have had time to reflect that I am not my job or my monthly paycheck. I am way more than that. I could be a son or a brother or a friend. I could be a blogger. Or a content writer.
Find time to remove the anchors of your current identity and start finding more meaningful labels.
Anchors of Status
We do not even know that we play status games from the minute we are born. We compare ourselves and find ourselves moving up or down the ladder of status and keep making corrections (mistakes) throughout our lives to win this game. Like Seth Godin says, ” Status roles are at the core of who we are. They change how we spend our time, our money and most of all, our imaginations.”
“I don’t have much, but I have more than you do…”
Our generation is playing a different status game. We are no longer concerned about the CEO or CFO position. We are more bothered about the five-star vacation pictures on Instagram. Instincts remain the same, only the modes change.
How do we get rid of the anchor of status? Maybe we could start with thinking about the possibilities of things we could do if we stopped playing the status game. It is time to turn down the volume and figure what is more important in life.
The idea of caring that someone is making money faster than you are is one of the deadly sins. Envy is a really stupid sin because it’s the only one you could never possibly have any fun at. There’s a lot of pain and no fun. Why would you want to get on the trolley? [Source: Munger; Psychology]
Anchor of Certainty
Certainty a.k.a. our comfort zone is another anchor which pulls you down. You are certain that you are in a job where you will not get fired and keep getting an inflationary increase in salary. You are certain that not exercising will not kill you because a certain neighbour survived until 80 without exercising (Awesome survivorship bias). You are certain that you will continue to get your paycheck forever and hence do not save for the rainy days.
Certainty makes you feel warm and comfortable. It is pleasurable. There is more pain in changing than there is pleasure derived from the benefits of change. What to do about it? How to change?
- Why not start associating more pain with certainty? Start associating pain with certainty. Associate pain with not exercising, with not saving enough money or anything else.
- Start associating more pleasure with long-term benefits of living out of your comfort zone. The long-term benefit of saving for retirement is immense. The long-term benefit of exercising every day is known to us.
You have 2 options. To move out of your comfort zone immediately or do it slowly. I prefer a mix of both.
Anchor of Money
Even though it is another layer of the anchor of certainty, it deserves a separate mention. We know that money gets you to pay your bills. But it pays for your iPhone and expensive holidays too. We need to think how worthy is it to continue in a job doing something we do not enjoy just to pay for our iPhones. In my opinion, it is alright to stay in a job for a few years if you are in it for the money to attain financial freedom. But if you are doing it for other things, you gotta rethink.
All you have got to do to remove the anchor of money is to attain financial freedom. Eliminate unnecessary expenses, pay off your debts, invest in the right products, and minimize and simplify your life.
Too easy to say. Very hard to do.
Clarity will emerge once we remove these anchors pulling us down. We got to keep thinking with clarity and rationally, and act. Action is the key to live a rich and meaningful life.