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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Lack of Motivation and Entitlement Among the Wealthy

I find the general lack of motivation and attitudes of entitlement of the extremely wealthy fascinating. But I think about it very differently than most.

I was raised by poor people. I thought it rather sucked, and got a full scholarship to a private boarding school and then a full scholarship to a private university and then worked for insanely wealthy people in Los Angeles. At this point in my life I have actually spent as much time around extremely wealthy people as I have around extremely poor people.

Here is what I think about "lack of motivation":
-The healthier I get psychologically, the less motivated I am. I was always very driven as a child--but driven by necessity (I hated being poor) but also driven by insecurity (if only I achieved x, I would finally be good/happy/pretty/rich enough). I no longer suffer from either of these issues (that much) and consequently, my drive has nosedived.
-The better I get at coming into the present moment, at listening to my body, at being in touch with my real needs, at not judging myself, the more time I spend resting and relaxing.
-When I am in Nicaragua I note how lazy most animals are--cows, chickens, dogs, cats. They spend a little time eating, a little time playing, and a lot of time laying around. I notice this about my neighbors. Where we live in Nicaragua it is not that hard to build a little hut and get some food. There is a Ted Talk about this called Life is Easy. It is. If you don't mind third world poverty, you can spend most of your life just hanging out.
-So consequently, when I think about people with so much wealth that they don't actually have to work, when I talk to my friends and they tell me about the lack of motivation they are suffering from, my answer is: Do less. Lay around more.
-At lunch today I told my friend this and she said, "But then I will never be the best in the world at something." Which brings us to entitlement.

Here is what I know about "entitlement":
-The healthier I get psychologically, the less I care about success. I am going to die one day. And whatever "success" I find, I don't get to take it with me. However much money, however many awards, however much approval I get from friends or strangers--it doesn't matter very much. I am still going to die. I won't care how many people attend my funeral because I will be dead. I won't care if I left behind books or movies that people love for centuries because again, I will be dead. The more I come to terms with that reality, the less future success I need and the more interested I am in enjoying life right now.
-The irony is that when you stop caring about being successful, you get to fart around doing those stupid things you kind of enjoy. You have no motivation to work and achieve so you basically rest and play. Because playing is fun, you do it enough that, little by little, you become pretty damn good at whatever is "play" for you. And you find success. But strangely, you don't really care anymore, because that's not what you were after. And there are all these people who are whipping themselves into being the best in the world at x who can't even compete on your level--because they are working and you are playing.
-This is why life can seem so unfair. One person is killing himself working sooooo hard to achieve x and another is just farting around and achieving it. Even if the person killing himself does achieve x, it doesn't make him happy--and that makes him even more upset! He killed himself for this and he's still not good enough or rich enough or whatever. He climbed to the top of the mountain and can only see more mountains. And on top of that there are a million guys just like him yapping at his heels. He has been sucked into playing the game of thrones. After all that hard work, he doesn't even get to rest. He's got a full time job just keeping his spot at the top of the mountain, a spot that doesn't even make him happy like he thought it would. But definitely a spot to which he feels entitled. After all, he sacrificed everything to get it.
-Entitlement is not an attitude problem. It's the tragedy people suffer from when they "should on themselves," when they make themselves do what they didn't want to do and desperately need payment for their misery. Feeling entitled to a certain result means you are seeking the wrong result  for the wrong reasons.

Everything I have read thus far has led me to the following conclusions:
-We are all working too hard and need to rest more.
-Chasing success will never make us happy.
-Playing will.
-And if playing doesn't make us successful, at least it will have been fun.
-Because fun is the only success.
-We're all on the Titanic. There are no lifeboats. Whether you're the captain or just someone dancing to the music, you're going down.

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