There is a whole school of thought dedicated to financial management, financial independence and its relative, the generation of passive income. The main motivation for these solutions is fear-based. Particularly, the dread of becoming poor and destitute as old age approaches.
Several investment techniques are touted as the panacea to this problem. From adolescence, many target that point in time when they no longer have to worry about the state of their finances. In fact, financial independence has become the new mantra that will solve the problem of existence.
The flaw in this logic is that it is not possible to achieve financial independence and at the same time need money of the active or passive- income variety. The setting up of structures that generate money while one is asleep, does not really create financial independence. Rather, it precipitates a total dependence on finances. It is similar to perching on top of a growing stack of cash which several active and passive laborers are generating. But, the truth is that there is now a total dependence that is opposed to the illusion of independence desired.
The true value of a man rather than being in what he has, is really in what he can lose without freaking out or having a heart attack. And the more he has, the more he will have a heart attack or become terminally ill if he suddenly realizes that he has lost all or is about to lose all. At this point, all the suppressed fears erupt into consciousness to attest to the fact the problem of insecurity and independence was never resolved. Wiser men of old had earlier warned of this debilitating condition when they stated that: a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.
True financial independence may be feasible when one has the ability to restructure his consciousness in order to remain calm in the event of major losses. These major losses may include: certificates, social status, recognition, and health. Active and Passive Income generation techniques cannot solve these problems. Real and lasting solutions would require a complete mental transformation of the individual, as well as a total revision of many of the unquestioned assumptions that had been the basis of one’s life.
The hidden danger in financial independence, as presented by the media, is that it usually generates a refined and sophisticated kind of dangerous individual. The amount of effort exerted in this pursuit of ‘independence’ and the level of achievement realized is easily correlated with a large potential for extreme antisocial behavior once the foundation of such success is threatened. Homicide or suicide is not an uncommon option for the ‘financially independent’ extroverted personality, while terminal illness and general organ failure are usually reserved for the introverted counterpart.
The global flight from failure to success does not allow for a proper analysis of failure. Failure is not seen as an independent phenomenon but as a precursor to success. As if there were no virtue in failure. To fail thoroughly and irretrievably in any field of endeavor, though dreaded by many, is the gateway to true humility: a path to true spirituality when the potential in failure is properly harnessed. To buttress this viewpoint, C.S Lewis stated that: no one is truly humble until he has tried everything he can and fails. So long as one has not tried everything and failed, there is still some residual pride, confidence and silliness lurking somewhere in the mind beneath the feeling of ‘security and independence’. In terms of value, an ounce of true humility is worth more than several tons of financial success.
The genuine failure is usually a ‘hard-worker’ who refuses to compromise on principles, and is so far ahead of his contemporaries that future generations stand in awe of his or her accomplishments, as in the case of several failed artists, explorers and inventors.
The lazy individual is often seen as a failure because of the superficial resemblance with a genuine failure. This similarity is due to the lack of motivation faced by the genuine failure in the soul-searching phase when events attempt to compel the abandonment of principles. However, truly lazy men turn out to be financially, politically and socially successful. Most con-artists, a lot of professionals, a large percentage of the clergy, numerous managers and business men, are very lazy people who perennially use short-cuts in order to avoid useful work. Having never really exerted genuine effort towards any worthwhile goal, many of these people use their residual intelligence to underpay, frustrate, and under-appreciate the slaves from whom they derive their nourishment. Usually, this is achieved under the cover of efficient human resources management.
Rather than seek financial independence in the conventional sense, it is more profitable to acquire genuine power: power over self – self-control, true knowledge, and power over circumstances, whose outward attribute is serenity and calmness – a form of fearlessness. A key to the possession of power is in the reduction of need. Regardless of all the hope generated in the lazy mind by Robert Greene’s 48 laws of power, the relation ‘Need is inversely proportional to Power’ will always remain a constant that can be applied to any area of life: The more you need, the less power you’ve got. The more you need money, safety, marriage, security, comfort, sex, education, heaven, success, and power, the more powerless you become. And there are whole groups of people whose expertise is in tapping into this need and its associated powerlessness, while making you feel you are in control.
Lest this sounds like a philosophical rambling by someone whom financial security has eluded, a mundane summary of the above logic can be clarified by the narrative below.
If you visit a friend and he shows a room in his house filled with all kinds of drugs for any known and future ailments, and assures you that he is now safe from the vicissitudes of life, it is
easy to detect paranoia and early stages of insanity in the individual. Yet, when someone shows us all his investments that are intended to ensure his financial or material safety we elevate the person to a mentor, and crave to learn how he has managed to store or acquire such wealth.
Finally, it is strange that truly wealthy individuals (and not many there are), are the ones who have always had this kind of genuine power that generates the financial independence the wannabe’s are falling over themselves to acquire, because they are distracted by the external symbols of power.
Python and the Rainmaker.