Three fishermen were doing their business in the sea. Unexpectedly, they got an ancient lamp. When they opened it, a genie came out and said he has the power to turn anything to gold. He urged them to ask one wish each.
The first man thought for long and said, “I wish you make the pile of fish into a pile of gold for me”
The genie made 3 circles with his right index finger and pointed it at the fish. Alas! it turned into gold.
The second one, after much deliberation, said, “I wish you make this boat into gold for me”
The genie again made 3 circles with his right index finger and pointed it at the boat. It turned into a boat made of gold!
The genie turned to the third fisherman and asked,” And what will your wish be sir?”
The man, who was watching all this very closely, said deadpan, “I wish you give me your right index finger!”
The thing that makes humans unique is not the power of his brain. It can easily be ruled out as an evolutionary anomaly. But a more baffling and unanimous trait that makes us us is greed. Undoubtedly it is a uniquely human character that our evolutionary cousin chimpanzee can’t imitate.
No matter how much one has, everyone looks forward to extra. This unquenchable thirst maybe what made this world what we see today; a disintegrating mess.
Living for earning
Money often costs too much.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Everyone wants money. Everything we do revolves around this nucleus. How much money does anyone want? Contrary to the popular belief that there is no single answer to this question, there is one: more.
A surprisingly high number of people use their every waking minute for making money. Surely it gives meaning to their otherwise boring life. But the direction they get is to an unending road which takes them further away from the really important things in life.
This calls for the vexing question: How much money do we really need?
The Shoe Theory
Recently I heard from a friend of mine a concept he likes to call the shoe theory. According to this simple hypothesis, money is like shoes. You cannot do without it. But at the same time, you don’t need a million!
The seemingly foolish idea made me laugh hard, but on further thought, it seems apt. We just need enough money to get us going. Like shoes, you have no need for a ton to live happily.
Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.
Our problem, according to shoe theory, is that we are obsessed with acquiring as much shoe as possible. We spent nearly three-quarter of our lives running behind more shoes and the other quarter lamenting that we do not have enough of it.
A Vlogger’s Experience
In one of his interviews, Santhosh George Kulangara, famous Indian travel vlogger and Managing Director of the television channel Safari, divulged his secret of success. He attributes it to his aversion towards money.
Santhosh travel vlogged almost 120+ countries in 12 years without taking any remuneration from the television channels he worked for. When he started off Safari TV Channel, he decided he does not need advertisements to fund him.
The interviewer wonders how he manages to travel to a new country every month and fund the channel activities without advertisements. Santhosh says people buy the CDs of his travel program which keeps him afloat.
“If you stop chasing money, it starts chasing you.”, he adds with a smile
Wishing for the index finger
Leonard Skinner, in his TEDx talk, conveys almost the same idea. He narrates the story of how he and his family gave up their normal life and started living off-grid on a sailboat. He then gives a breakdown of the cost incurred for a normal person in maintaining public appearance. He proves that most of our working hours are spent to appease society than providing for our necessities.
Too many people spend money they earned..to buy things they don’t want..to impress people that they don’t like.
Once we realize this, we would stop investing so much time running behind the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses bandwagon. We can enjoy the freedom that comes with it and use the time for the real important things in life.
Wishing for the right index finger like the fisherman can only get us the middle finger and one angry genie. A minimalistic life, on the other hand, can make us more satisfied.
Instead of living for making money, can’t we make money for a living?
Thank you for reading. I would love to hear your opinion. Please post it in the comment box below.