1.4: Is the Good Life for Sale?

Money can fuel your inner fire, or accelerate you along the road to nowhere; take control of your life story, for the default destination is disaster

I preferred the riches that paralysis had brought me to those of my class: I felt I was living more intensely, that at last I was human. – Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, A Second Wind

People should think less about what they ought to do and more about what they ought to be. – Meister Eckhart, quoted in Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy

What this chapter is about

Money’s role in ‘success’ – The only measure of ‘success’ is living a Good Life. The correlation of this with money is non-existent. But the correlation between the Good Life and how one thinks about money is sky-high. Money is more readily used to amplify self-deception than defeat it, but this needn’t be the case.

Editorship of your life story – Using money well is hard enough to warrant getting help. But finding the right help can be harder still. You want an editor, not a co-author or a press agent for the unsatisfactory (but very shiny) status quo.

What this chapter isn’t about

The relentless pursuit of more – Blind accumulation has (probably) never worked for anyone, and yet it’s the default choice for everyone. Understanding why this is (as opposed to bemoaning it while carrying on the pursuit in subtler ways) is key to doing something about it.

Wishy-washy woo-woo mindfulness – We want to be mindful about money, but not in the way mindfulness is usually portrayed to the modern western mind. Mindfulness is an active participatory process of remembering. Becoming wiser with money is about remembering what matters, when it matters. And what matters is never matter.