Minimalism and Being a Slave (Of Money)

“This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.”
― Douglas Adams

Productivity Template.

Productivity Template.

I was talking to a friend recently.

A real close friend and a cousin brother but with thoughts completely opposite to mine. I like to discuss thoughts with him. It gives me a contrary view to my beliefs and philosophies.

I have often seen him humiliating people who are poor in terms of money from him irrespective of whether they are happy or not. For him, a person can only be happy if he has too many small pieces of green paper. (He is elder than me, he earns big bucks for his age.)

I have seen him de-meaning everything and everyone who thinks or says that Money is not the most important thing in life. That includes me.

I have seen him laughing my thoughts off. I have seen him laughing on people who claim to be Minimalists. I have seen him laughing at people who claim to be more happy with less.

For him such people are lazy. Or delusional. For him such people don’t understand what success is. For him such people are stupid and they will end up alone with their stupid philosophies and theories.

For him only real power is money. Only thing that matters is a big bungalow, a bigger car, expensive clothes, lots of credit cards- basically everything that can be bought. He thinks people are tool. And only real success comes from earning big bucks.

He spends lavishly and if I might add unnecessarily. Just to show people that he can spend. Somehow it ties to his self worth. I am yet to understand how.

Basically completely opposite of me.

I have been close to this friend of mine. Childhood friend. And I must admit, I thought the same few months back, probably. Or maybe worse.

He is not wrong. He has become a slave.

Let me say right here- I don’t think earning or even wanting money is bad. I am not saying to take a exile and live without money. No, I am not saying that. You can have money. You can want money. You can buy things. That’s perfectly fine. I don’t say that’s wrong. I need money, myself obviously. To sustain. And it plays a crucial role in being happy.

But money is a tool. You’re not.

He has become a slave.

He thinks, he is happy. I don’t see how.

He works 16 hours a day. At the job which he admits he doesn’t like. At all. He is on phone most of the times. Or on the internet. Or on excel. He has no freedom. He doesn’t travel within the city also.

His hair has started to fall and turn grey at the age of 24. He is almost always angry. He is either thinking about minting money or thinking about how he can spend the money.

To match his lavish thinking, he keeps on taking loan and credit cards. I guess he has two big loans on his head excluding the student’s loan his parents took for him. Also, not to forget his credit card(s) statement.

He hardly saves. He is in outrageous debts at this age itself. He has an overly expensive car which he hardly uses, a big flat with 4 rooms in a lavish area where he lives ALONE.

He is addicted to alcohol and smoking. He looks almost twice his age. He is overly obese due to his extremely unhealthy eating habits.

He keeps shouting on everyone and anyone. He has no compassion left. He has no kindness left. He helps no-one. He lives alone.

He had a relationship in the past- he broke it off. He had real close friends in the past- he got out of contact.

Now either he works or he sits at his 4 room apartment- alone. Or he goes out to drink alcohol. Smokes regularly. Or go to pretentious clubs and parties and office gatherings.

And he comes and tell me that, he is happy.

Probably for the society and according to it, he is happy.

For them, he is successful.

He fits the success template created by us perfectly- A titled corporate job, big house, big car, expensive clothes, an overly filled wallet with lots of credit cards- Perfect match found.

He has everything in terms of Society believes one should have for fitting in that template. Everything except himself.

I have known him since years now. Years. He wasn’t always like that. He used to be happy. He used to be compassionate. He used to be kind. He used to have people and relations as his priority. He used to live.

Burdened with societal expectations and perceptions, he decided to become a slave- slave of money. Little pieces of paper.

He exchanged his life, happiness and freedom in order to gain little pieces of paper.

He has money now. At least on the surface.

But let me ask you, was it worth it?

And probably, I was heading at the same path. And I was becoming a slave. I was. Not anymore.

I don’t see money with the same eyes. I own money. And not vice-verse.

I want money so that my life can be comfortable and so that it adds to my happiness. Not destroys it.

I want money so that I can live independently. Without depending on my parents or for that matter anyone else.To live with freedom. I don’t want to earn so that instead I get dependent on pieces of paper.

It is not about being a miser. Not even about not spending on things that add value or bring happiness.

It is about asking. Asking, “Is that purchase worth my freedom?”

For every rupee or dollar or pound, you spend. You give it a right to chunk off a bit of freedom from your life. Look around, you think all these things are worth your freedom?

If yes, then well done.

If no, we have a problem.

Think about what status you give to money. Those little pieces of paper. Think before making them the most crucial thing in your life. And it is not some idealistic bullshit. I don’t do that. You need money. But you need to own it. Own those pieces of paper. They can’t own you.

Quit being slave of money. Today.

Be more than that. Be human.

You’re much more than that. So much more. Fly, my friend. Fucking Fly.

What do you think about money? Let me know via comments! 

*Part of the Series- Gems of Minimalism

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23 thoughts on “Minimalism and Being a Slave (Of Money)

  1. I love your views and completely agree!
    Money is important but it’s not everything. There’s nothing wrong with splurging on the self now and then as long as we have enough money but we shouldn’t let it own us and define our self-worth.
    With or without money, we are still someone.
    I’m sorry to read about your friend’s unfortunate situation. It seems like deep inside he is really in pain. I believe that amazing person you once knew is still there deep inside and has the potential to come back. It seems that somewhere along his journey in life, he has become misguided by the unhealthy views of society, caught up in delusions that the worth of a person is based on material possessions . I think he is deserving of and in need of love and compassion even if he doesn’t want it. Hopefully someday he will look inside himself, deep inside and see his true worth and that it is not in any way dependent upon money, career success, or any other external factors.

    • Kim, you’ve made my day with your two comments. Really. Thank you so much.

      I completely agree with your views.

      He is doing fine now, I met him recently.

      Keep reading and cheers!

      Also, you’ve got an extremely lovely blog over there. Keep at it. 🙂

  2. i love the way you write. and very true story, i know many who chase money and though they earn more than they will ever need, they are deeply unhappy because they are comparing themselves with others who have more than them. but to take a step back and realize it’s a losing game, and to be content with what you have, is a milestone.

    • Thank you so much, Elaine. Means a world.

      True that.

      Few people realize the level of importance they give to money.

      It is important that money should always be just used as a tool.

      Glad to have meet you. Keep in touch and cheers!

      P.S.- Loved your Photography 😀

  3. Whenever I hear stories like that of people living it up, but with mountains of debt & practically alone (no relationship, no friends, no longer interested in others UNLESS they’re wealthy) I think of it as a big, shiny bubble, expanding & waiting to pop.

    The debt will catch up with him, because if he’s spending more than he’s earning trying to show others he has money, he’s losing money in the long term.
    And then when it’s all gone, who will he have to turn to? Nobody will be around – it’ll be a silent ghost town, because he’s snuffed everyone else out.

    I’ve seen this happen with an old friend, quite a while ago now. It could have gone two ways – she could have returned to her family & friends. We would have taken her back with open arms & no judgements! & I think there might have been opportunity for her to ‘learn her lesson’, you know – that people who already love you don’t care how much cash you have. They love you for you. That’s what happiness is, not a dollar amount.

    But instead, she was too embarrassed to acknowledge that she was mistaken in the pursuit of money & dumping all her relationships in the process, so she literally LEFT THE COUNTRY. I have no idea where she is now, but I hope she’s made some new relationships & actually learned something.

    I think money is a tool & should be used as such. Why kill yourself working 12-16 hour days to buy a thousand hammers when one hammer will do the job? It’s a terribly simple analogy but it still applies.

    • Completely agree with you.

      This friend tries to hide his unhappiness under the cover of condescension for everyone who doesn’t live or believe in his lifestyle.

      As you said, it is a bubble in the end. And bubbles burst at some point of time or other.

      I just hope that either he realizes much before that happens or people are still there for him when the bubble bursts out 🙂

      Hopefully, your friend would have got the lesson and she will grow now.

      Yes, even I have understood the trend of working so much so that you can happy later on. How does that make sense? We all know that later never comes. We keep on working. Exchanging our freedom and happiness and rest over that work.

      I hope people realize that happiness is here and now.

      Thanks for such a lovely comment 🙂

      Keep in touch and keep reading. Cheers! 😀

  4. Great post! I’m just starting to dabble into minimalism, but already am in love with the ideas. My brother always points out that money often isn’t even pieces of paper anymore but virtual not phsyically backed currency. It doesn’t change the effects you mentioned, but I still find it weird to think about. I can relate to how you saw greed in your friend. My father was a little bit different, but he always thought God wanted him to be a good steward of money and therefore hoarded it. I never bought this and always thought it was just a twisted concept of power, thinking that he was the one to control and release money at will. Maybe that’s being too hard on him, I don’t know. I definitely find this post motivating though.

    • Thanks for your comment, means a lot when people like you come and share their views on the posts 🙂

      Yes, yes. Often people hoard it for different motives. I have known people saying to me that they horded money for larger purposes. No one knows what those larger purpose are. I doubt even they themselves know. Money is one thing which messes up the entire psychology. You may be surprised to find what people can do for money.

      Glad I could inspire you in some ways. Thanks 🙂

  5. Very practical post. Money is essential but it isn’t and shouldn’t be your life. I’ve learnt this from a few very inspiring people in my life. It’s small moments that count!

    A great post!

  6. “I own money, not vice versa”, what a great line! My ex sounds like your friend, chasing money but unhappy. They don’t realise that happiness is here and now, not when they’ve made x amount of money (which will never be enough fir them). Money is important, lack of money is miserable, enough money is freedom, but it is only that. Another great post!

    • Thanks, Amy! True that. Once you start running behind money, no amount is ever enough. Ever. I have seen some text which stupidly and too idealistically mentions that money is the root cause of evil. I don’t think that’s true. Greed is. Money is a tool necessary for freedom and happiness. But, if you’re too dependent on it. You’re being a slave.

      Thanks for constant motivation. Means a lot, first friend 😀

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