Champagne Taste, Kool-Aid Money

“…all who want to get rich manage to do so. That scandalizes people who have dreamed of having money, and who do not have any. They looked at the mountain; but it just waited for them. Money, like every other advantage, demands fidelity above all else. Many people imagine that they want money simply because they must. But money eludes thoses who pursue it simply out of need. People who have made their fortune have done so by striving to dominate something.”

—Emile-Auguste Chartier, “The Ambitious,” in Alain on Happiness. Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 1973.

The Bible puts in more succinctly:

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

—Matthew 6:24

And there is the classic Reddit post, regarding winning the lottery. Long story short, winning the lottery will also significantly increase your chances of being a victim of homicide (particularly by a family member), having a drug overdose, going bankrupt, being kidnapped, being convicted of drunk driving, and being a defendant in a civil law suit or in felony criminal proceedings.

All of this suggests that the pursuit of power, fame and money beyond certain minimum thresholds is self-destructive, or at the very least requires hyper-vigilance to the point that it consumes a lot of time and energy. Better to develop Kool-Aid taste and get by with less.

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