Bob @Libertarian_76: How would you describe your economic views?
Becoming disgustingly rich is the best way to enhance yourself, enhance the lives of the people around you, and evoke real change in the world.
Wait, did I just say that? I don’t really mean it. Plug in “healthy” for “rich”. Or don’t plug it in. Don’t be afraid. Any world that limits my choice, my freedom to pursue dreams, my freedom to be as healthy as possible, or as wealthy as possible, will ultimately be a world that will also limit the lives of everyone around me. Because I know when I do well, the people near me will do well, the people near them will do well, and it will ripple throughout the ocean. Those are my economic views.
I live by these ideas:
A) If I focus on enhancing the lives of others, that will be the best for society. By “others” I mean, my family, my employees, my colleagues, investors, partners, and ultimately, everyone I meet and come into contact with. Constantly infuse your thoughts with “how can I enhance this person I am in contact with right now.” And by “enhance” I don’t mean anything in particular. We all know what “enhance” means. And it can also mean many things.
B) The best way I can enhance others is if I enhance myself. We are either a well or an ocean. A well will run out of water. An ocean is where all the water comes from. The way to tap into that ocean is by constantly reaching into ourselves and each moment tapping into the ocean of RIGHT NOW. This is not a corny new age thing. You have two choices right this second. You can either worry or regret about some situation. Or you can learn from the very things around you.
Christmastime in NYC is a great moment to observe this. Have you ever stood at a street corner when the light was red on fifth avenue in NYC during the holiday season? It’s an awesome experience. Enough people to fill up a small town or standing on one side of the street and enough people to fill a small town or standing on your side of the street. The light is red. We’re all waiting. When the light turns green, magic happens. We all start moving towards each other. In the middle we meet. Bodies so close together, intermeshed, it’s like a giant orgy. Only it’s the furthest thing from sexual.
Everyone’s eyes are glazed. Look at them. They are all wondering: what should I get so-and-so for Christmas? What bonus will I get? If they don’t get me that bonus I’m going to be so upset! Why did so-and-so say that to me in the middle of the meeting! In front of all of those people! I should quit as soon as I get my bonus! And on and on and on and on.
Everyone’s eyes in a fog. Nobody looking at you. You touch, you feel, you avoid, you scramble, everyone’s path can be traced like a path of spaghetti vomited out into the intersection. And then we are eaten by the city and the plate is clear.
If you are the one who is aware of what is going on that moment: the spike of the cold air as you breathe it into your nose, the beauty of everyone’s faces, the rooftops around you (each one with it’s special flourish secreted in by architects taught to make only boring buildings but nobody told them what to do with the rooftop), then you are the one-eyed king in the land of the blind. You will be the one who will stand out.
In our world, we are slowly becoming a race of have and have-nots. The have-nots are the ones who get limited, they get trapped by their regrets of the past or the anxieties of the future. They translate those regrets and fears into excuses and blame. The “haves” are the ones who can take the experience of right now and squeeze every bit of juice out of it. They don’t squander that juice. And at the end of their lives, they are thoroughly satisfied instead of wondering, “why was I thinking of my bonus on that street corner that one November day?”
Economics is about being aware of who you are, where you are, how you are, this very moment. Then you can say: am I healthy right now. Am I grateful for all around me. Am I aware of the negativity inside of me that I can transform into something positive, is my brain still plastic and flexible enough to come up with good ideas?
Then you can enhance your life, while the lives around you are still glazed over. When your life is enhanced, you will rise up everyone around you. That is economics.
How does it work?
Let’s look at the base case:
A) You are wealthy OR you are poor. If you are wealthy you can use your extra resources to create companies, provide jobs, give to charity. You have time to do extra things that will enhance you further, or give further. If you are poor, you will not be able to do that. Sure, you can make the time to give to charity. But if you have kids and a family you need to focus on feeding your family. When you are wealthy that basic need is taken care of (as long as you are not squandering your wealth.)
B) You are wealthy inside. In other words, you are healthy in the way that I always describe with the Daily Practice. This means that you now know how to not squander that wealth. You also know how to quickly take advantage of every situation and opportunity. You learn the alchemy of turning lead into gold because your idea muscle is sharp and you experience gratitude so no one situation can ever drag you down. This, in turn, allows you to become wealthy without delay. Don’t worry if you don’t feel that way right now. All we have is “right now”. Just live by the principles of the daily practice today. That is instant wealth.
C) You are a beacon. Because of health, others will recognize that you are happy. That you are able to take negative situations and turn them around. Not always (it’s too hard to always do this!) but often. Becoming a beacon to others shows them how they can make the changes in their own life to enhance their lives, which in turn will enhance others.
This is economics. From the individual all the laws of economics and the wealth of people and the wealth of nations will spring forward. Should the government step in and help also? Sure, if it is wealthy enough and can do it in such a way as to not decrease the enhancement of the individual. But this is very hard to do. Most government bureacrats you and I have met have not been focused on enhancing my life.
I’ll give you an example: as I’ve written about, my house was flooded in Hurricane Sandy. Not only that, three separate businesses within 100 feet of my house were ruined. One restaurant, one real estate agency, and one yoga studio. The yoga studio had to shut down permanently. The real estate agency had to move several miles away. And the restaurant is still closed three weeks later – death to a restaurant.
The government agency that is supposed to help in these situations, FEMA, visited my house four times. On none of the four occasions were the represenatives of FEMA aware that I had already been visited by representatives of the same occasion. Finally, just to see, I pointed to my furniture on the lawn and said, “Do I get a check for that furniture?” They said, “oh well, we are not in charge of that. We are just here to see.” That was the answer 100% of the time. Finally, one person handed me a card. “You have to call that number.” I said, “But you are already here. You can see it. Why don’t you just write me a check.”
She said, “you have to call that number and give them your social security number and also your flood insurance information.”
I said, “so I don’t need an ID to vote, but I need my social security number even though you can see the damage right there AND I need private industry – the flood insurance – to actually pay me for the damage.”
She laughed and said, “I’m just the eyes and ears here.”
In other words, even with the best intentions, the federal government is largely deaf and dumb.
Meanwhile, private charities and individuals went to afflicted areas like Far Rockaway or Staten Island to actually help people on the ground get their lives in order, find places to live, find protection, get food, get water, get gasoline, and so on. Why didn’t the federal government at least get gasoline to the local gas station? They didn’t have gas for at least a week.
Economics is when you, the individual can find the ways to lift yourself up and become that beacon. Again, you do that by this moment looking around you and asking, am I living a physically healthy life, an emotionally healthy life, a mentally healthy life, and a spiritually healthy life. Even when the world seems like it’s falling apart. Even when the world seems uncertain. Fighting through that uncertainty so you can be grateful for the sunlight creeping in after a stormy day.