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IMHO, to continually put "success" above everything else in your life and slave away towards that goal as the ultimate redemption in everything is a waste of your time and therefore your life.

It can be such as easy sell, especially to people with low self-esteem... if only you were rich, had a great body, had success with the opposite sex, etc., etc. And always underlying it, but never spoken of, is the vain and self centered attempt to compare yourself to others and come out on top.

When these goals are achieved, rarely does anyone publicly say that it wasn't worth it. It's like a bad marriage rotting from the inside. No one wants to admit to being a fool. So stuff like this propagate, it's a beautiful lie. Rather than think of how awesome your life will be if you just work a little harder and achieve success, you might as well be talking about how great heaven will be as long as you follow some arbitrary religious text.

It's like you think someone out there is keeping score, and it's all some type of game which you can win. We came from nature, and in nature, nobody keeps score. Animals live and die on the basis of stupid luck all the time. On your death bed you probably won't be looking over your life and decide whether it was worthwhile or not, and give yourself some report card on it. Instead you more likely won't even remember more than bits and pieces, and then eventually die and forget it all.

The hero in the story is an Israeli soldier who decided to risk his life over a few dollars in his pocket. To do what, prove he was macho? He was really stupid in my book. And we're supposed to, according to the author, look up to this man? Train all our lives as a knife fighter, so we, too, can take dumb risks and be lucky enough to not get killed doing so? What if it went the other way, and the soldier friend was hurt or killed? Would the author still be putting him on a pedestal as he does so?

I'm not saying don't try. Just make sure you are enjoying what you are doing, first and foremost. If you're not happy, either motivate yourself in a positive way, or let it go. It really isn't worth it.




I completely disagree, and I believe this is harmful advice.

If you are poor, no amount of book reading will convince you that you do not need money. What will convince you is not being poor. Only then will you feel like you are able to give others advice about how money is not important: and your advice will be as useless to them as similar advice was to you when you first heard it (and rightly so).

People with low self-esteem do not improve their condition by thinking themselves into happiness or forcing themselves to believe that everything is awesome. They improve it by actively working on those areas of their lives they feel bad about. If they are lucky and work hard enough - they might reach a stage where they realize how warped their thinking was, and many of the things they thought they wanted will no longer seem important. But you cannot "skip" this journey and go straight into the land of happiness simply because somebody who is already happy told you what the view is like from the other side. You have to get there yourself, even if part of your journey is based on a lie.


Being poor completely sucks. Watching your cat die from cancer that you can't afford to treat sucks.

The point of getting rich is so that your life doesn't suck. Not to compare yourself to others.

Getting rich is necessarily hard, otherwise everyone would be on the road to becoming rich. People are unlikely to get rich by doing work which satisfies. But if they make it, then at least life won't suck anymore.


>The point of getting rich is so that your life doesn't suck. >Getting rich is necessarily hard, otherwise everyone would be on the road to becoming rich.

The logic doesn't follow here: having enough wealth to have a non-sucky life must be difficult enough to remain out of the reach of the majority of humanity? Why?

Let's take this to an extreme: all the wealthy people decide to employ robots for all of their needs to prevent their lives from sucking. All the poor people die because they can't afford food. Now the total population of the earth has a non-sucky life (except for the people who feel terrible about how they are responsible for the deaths of the 99%).

Some wealthy people see this coming and decide to make robots that provide for everyone's needs, regardless of how poor they are. Obviously we don't have an infinite supply of matter on this planet, so the robots have only one catch: if the robot provides for you, you have to consent to taking part of a population control plan (lowering the birth rate). Not popular, but preferable to a holocaust of the poor.

Either way, there's no reason that having enough wealth to avoid a sucky life is necessarily something that is restricted to a subset of the population, unless the definition of a sucky life is based on comparing your wealth to the wealth of others.


I believe you've misunderstood parent's point.

He's not discussing a theoretical world with robots (???); he's discussing the one we live in, where wealth inequality is a fact. Given the clear benefits of wealth, it's obvious that getting rich is not easy otherwise we'd expect to see less inequality.

Before anybody tries to tell me that getting rich might not be important to most people, think very carefully about whether you're qualified to comment. If you aren't, or haven't been, below the poverity line that a vast proportion of the world's population live below, it's easy to underestimate what it's like. And yes even moderately successful people with strong incomes may have legitimate desires for greater wealth.

I spent 20% of my PRE-TAX income on healthcare last year and that's not going to change; I'm better off than being completely poor but that's not going to console me when I consider that I spend most of my week working to pay those bills with little time to enjoy life; i.e. I have a significantly higher baseline for income than most people to extract the same basic quality of life they have, and in my particular case I have to jump to a completely different level to earn that income - I have to build a business.

I don't understand the obsession some people here have with trying to tell others how to live their lives. Everybody has different circumstances and experiences; we have absolute freedom in deciding, based on those circumstances and experiences, what's important to us.


The poverty line is a funny thing. I grew up below it; I'm talking about one set of clothes, one meal a day if I'm lucky. Still, growing up in Scotland that's hardly comparable to the likes of kids starving in other parts of the world.

Despite some tragedy and external pressures, I was always happy, or at least able to focus on the fact that those external pressures would go away someday. Now that I'm a decent earner, I just have another set of problems.


If you need someone who is going to be required to handle money efficiently enough to get the most out of each dollar, one of the most worthwhile traits is actual years of experience getting the most out of each dollar.


>>comparing your wealth to the wealth of others.

It might be from an economic standpoint if we understand capital as the ability to command labor.


Being poor does suck. However, being rich does not prevent your life from sucking. All the money in the world won't prevent you or a loved one from passing due to an untreatable illness. All the money in the world won't buy you friends or genuine respect. It can't buy you love (though it can buy you sex).

Furthermore, you don't need to be rich to avoid the hardship of being poor, you just have to make a sufficient amount to afford quality housing, food, health insurance, and minor luxuries.


I was poor, and now I'm moderately well off. You are really underselling how much it sucks to be poor.

> All the money in the world won't prevent you or a loved one from passing due to an untreatable illness.

Death of a family member is much more likely to happen if you are poor. Too bad you can't afford that unreasonably expensive surgery.

> All the money in the world won't buy you friends or genuine respect.

This is such a first world concern. Boo hoo. Also, yes, money does buy friends. When my family went bankrupt most of our friends turned their backs on us. This is a common occurrence. Ask a homeless person what happened to their "friends" when push came to shove.

> It can't buy you love (though it can buy you sex).

Not being poor is more important than finding love. If you want love, have some kids, and love them.

> Furthermore, you don't need to be rich to avoid the hardship of being poor, you just have to make a sufficient amount to afford quality housing, food, health insurance, and minor luxuries.

Please do not underestimate how hard it is for those who are actually poor to "make a sufficient amount."

This seems like a good enough time as any to point out that there are like six empty houses for every homeless person in America. Or, in techie terms, "you thought domain squatting was bad..."


You make some good points.Things you learn through hard life experience always have value. At least, I value them, because even if they don't have a lesson I can use, they are among the most interesting and true stories a person can tell you. Normally, life makes lousy stories, not least because we aren't able to tell the stories properly, because we're not fully paying attention. When you are living out your worst nightmare in reality, you are suddenly about twice as awake and twice as alive as you ordinarily are, and your awareness narrows and focuses on the here and now, and everything that happens is endowed with much greater importance than usual. Everything becomes serious, and you're probably going to have insights and make observations that beyond your usual capacity for such things, because all the BS is gone and you don't have to stop goofing around and get serious before you can clear your head, because you are serious.

These moments of clarity probably won't end up being worth enough to justify the misery of the ordeal that prompted them, and I'm not sure living through something terrible makes you stronger. It's probably more likely to do psychological damage that makes you weaker. But the experience itself is not something you can buy, and while the stories you gain are usually no compensation to you, they are the kinds of stories that can be of great value to other people.


"Death of a family member is much more likely to happen if you are poor. Too bad you can't afford that unreasonably expensive surgery."

This applies in the US, rather less so in many other countries. (UK resident here.)


Even with free healthcare there is a gap between lifespan for rich and poor people in the UK. Rich people tend to make better use of healthcare and know what questions to ask.

Here's some newspaper articles giving some confusingly different numbers.

Poor people die sooner, and also live longer with a disability (17 years) http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/feb/10/equality-pove...

Ditto, 20 years http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10699077/Rich-will-...

Life expectancy gap for London is 25 years and growing http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/a-25-year-gap-be...

Life expectancy differences between rich and poor getting better http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/a-25-year-gap-be...


Fair point - as the other commenter says, just because you have free healthcare doesn't mean you have the confidence to use it, the knowledge to know what to ask, the access to exercise facilities or (and this is probably the cause of a lot of these statistics) the funds to afford a good, well-balanced diet.


Diet and Stress have little to do with healthcare and generally have a lot to do with when and how you die.


> It can't buy you love

Not to be a smartass here, but that's probably false. Money buys you social recognition, something that is an important part of your mate valuation. Rich folks will generally have a better time finding 'love' than the poor. The richer you are, the better your chances, more or less.

Money really is very important in the modern day. I wish it weren't this way -- I don't want to be doing selfish things, but sadly this just is the way it is.


Agreed. However, in a day and age where (in the Western world, anyway) women no longer need men overtly for financial support, social recognition as mating currency is just that--social recognition. It can be, and very often is, orthogonal to wealth. Witness all the young women in love with crappy DJs, self-styled pseudo-unemployed hipsters, no-name sidewalk band heroes, stoners, and a variety of Bohemians that a conservative dad would call losers or starving artists--er, artistes.

Financial and career success is definitely one way to up your mate value, though it has more resonance once women get out of their twenties. It's not the only way. When you're young, particularly, it may not even be the best way. Vide all the fairly intelligent guys with steady, well-paying jobs (very much so, by the standards of median American household income) that nobody pays attention to, really. The broke dudes that know how to put out their plumage and leverage some other, more conspicuous cultural archetype get much more play.

I'm not a washed-up, embittered MRA or PUA guy, btw. Just playing Devil's Advocate. :-)


There are far more women than well off men.

The real issue for most men is time. A 20 something working 60 hour weeks spends far less time 'playing the game' than a DJ etc. Also, relationships take time if your doing a start-up 'on the side' it's going to play hell with most relationships.


Unfortunately, despite not being rich, the poor don't have a monopoly on love. The way reality works is that, if you're able to make yourself rich, something obviously must be working out for you in your life. That thing that helped you get rich also tends to help you get love, and other things. If you're poor, your life plainly isn't working out too well, so you probably won't have success at love, either.

There's something called the Matthew Effect that isn't too well known, but it has a wikipedia page. Basically, things just get more unfair over time.


For the curious, this is the Matthew Effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_effect


I think this effect is underrated and explains a lot, for instance all the statistical correlations between good things and other good things, and, on the flip side, bad things and other bad things. For instance, why being a smoker correlates with an increased risk of having a back injury (I heard that). Or how not having a college degree increases your risk of early death from all causes. I don't know if the Matthew Effect itself has an adequate explanation, but it ties together a lot of results that otherwise seem to suggest bizarre causal relationships between unrelated things. They're all spurious correlations and the predictable consequence of the Matthew Effect.


Even you put 'love' in quotes :). We all know that money can buy social recognition. What's usually meant by "money can't buy love" is that the 'love' buyable with money is not really what you're looking for.


Money <em>can't</em> by love, and if it could, it would not be the kind of love anyone wants. But money does provide greater opportunities for finding love; although it is saddle with the burden of also having to separate out the women who "love" instead of love.


It has always been like that. Women have never "fallen in love" with men who are not sufficiently socially successful. There is nothing new under the sun in that respect.

But then again, "socially successful" is a very relative thing. You will find that women "fall in love" with you all the time in third-world countries, even if you are only on unemployment benefits back home where women may snub you over that.

Furthermore, the appearance of success is probably much more important to women than any real success. The ability to pretend that they caught a fish who could have money, is often enough.


A guy who is (outwardly) self confident will get women (or guys for that matter) no matter what. Ugly, poor, anti-social, doesn't matter. Sure, if you want to have a large amount of one-night-stands with 'just 18s' in clubs expensive clothes and a fat wallet help next to that confidence, but we were talking about love here.


I've sometimes heard this put as "Money can't buy happiness...but it helps!"


Yes, but fighting your whole life to get rich at stuff that sucks is not worth it. Yes, it sucks to have your cat die, it sucks more to have you die wishing you did something more interesting than sit in board meetings and think about gathering mo money most of your waking life. There is a balance and that balance is not as hard as 'getting rich'; you don't need to 'get rich' to make your life not suck and get your cat treated, drive a nice car, have a pool you never use, a sauna which has cobwebs etc; that's all very doable without getting rich. And your life might not suck very early on that way instead of when you made it. I'm not sure how old you are but on HN there is a kind of altered reality where people get rich when they are young; this is not normal; most rich people got rich > 50. If you have had 'a sucky life' because of that till then you have been very much wasting your life.


Most people would be very happy if their worst problem in life was thinking it could have been more mentally stimulating. People have regret on their deathbed because people don't want to die and wish they could have their cake and eat it too, not because they suddenly found wisdom.


Anecdotal but I had a lot of people dying around me stating they spent too much time chasing money and too little on living. And I know a lot of pensioners as well who say the same thing; now they are living the life they wanted but have little time left (they think; I always come up with statistics and say they have 20-30 years more but he, who listens to that?). Another salient detail; most guys say they shouldn't have had kids because it took away too much time and most women reget not having more. Anecdotal, still, two countries and around 100 people. Research papers were written with less :)


Exactly. It isn't that money isn't good or useful, but that it takes effort to earn it. Nobody should say no to free money but if it has to be earned, then there is an optimization problem at hand.


Indeed. A lot more people could be happy if they didn't believe in the lie that says you must be super rich to be happy. Lottery winners have already proven that a ton of money doesn't guarantee anything. Rich celebrities deal with depression.

Going from poverty to middle class is definitely an improvement, but there comes a point where more money doesn't help. Diminishing returns.


> Being poor completely sucks ... The point of getting rich is so that your life doesn't suck.

This is a false dichotomy. The path to getting rich involves being moderately successful and then being willing to risk entering poverty again. If your goal is to not be poor then your best odds are to try to be moderately successful and then reinforce that position rather than playing double or nothing forever.


>Getting rich is necessarily hard, otherwise everyone would be on the road to becoming rich. People are unlikely to get rich by doing work which satisfies. But if they make it, then at least life won't suck anymore.

The whole point of an economy is to make it easier and easier to become wealthier and wealthier.


The Israeli soldier may not have been taking as much of a risk as you think. I'm sure he was well trained in assessing the competence of an adversary.


I'm not sure about that. Having spent some time studying knife fighting, one thing becomes abundantly clear - no matter how expert you are, and how inexpert your opponent is, a knife fight is still extremely dangerous.

Statistics I've seen in the past, which would fit with my experience, suggest that a 3-in-4 chance is the best you'll ever do in a knife-on-knife conflict.

Knife-on-unarmed is even worse odds. I've never encountered a single martial artist - and I've encountered a lot - who would recommend fighting unarmed against a knife unless you have no other option. "Give the guy your wallet" is absolutely SOP in this situation, and by far the choice with the highest chance to get you out alive.


> Knife-on-unarmed is even worse odds

This can't be stressed enough. Please, don't ever try to fight against a knife. You've got much better chance of surviving an unarmed fight against a gun.

It may be a good illustration though - getting out alive from such a situation is probably even less likely than building a successful startup on your first try.


You are right, but the parent is spot on

This was a risky situation but much different than someone willingly coming at you with a knife, the fact that he could dodge him easily is proof of that.


The conclusion I drew from what was described was that the soldier knew exactly what to do and dispatched the situation the most efficient possible way. He sounded so much more skilled than the highwayman that the effort to disarm the man was worth less than what he had in his pocket.

He was probably kicking himself afterward for not being that skilled at something more lucrative. lol


Beyond that it sounds as if he were compassionately trying to get the guy to do the right thing.


To this I would add: do work that pleases you, not work that leads to something you think will please you.

I was first introduced to this from one of the Indic texts - perhaps one of the Vedas - where people are told to do work and not worry about it's reward.

This is a good way to protect yourself from the folly that the parent poster describes.


People (including in this thread) always tell us that you cannot do that; you need to make it first and then you can pick what you like. Of course this is bullshit, but it's persistent bullshit, obviously told by people who had that experience themselves and want other people to have that too so they can feel better about themselves.


>where people are told to do work and not worry about it's reward.

Not sure if it is in the vedas or not but it is in Gita. Any way yeah I think it is a good principle to follow in life. Happiness should come from the act of doing work which is in our control not from it's reward which we can not control.


> The hero in the story is an Israeli soldier who decided to risk his life over a few dollars in his pocket. To do what, prove he was macho?

I've seen that blog posted here before. I'm pretty sure that in the original, the follow up post mentioned offhandedly, "Sadly, Ofer was killed by a robber..." without any reflection on his self defense philosophy.


I completely disagree with what you have said.

I have meet a lot of wealthy/successful people and trust me, they are way more happy than the poorer people I have meet. They've achieved their dream and can continue doing so. They have traveled, they given back, they create things, they are loved and they're happy.

>On your death bed you probably won't be looking over your life and decide whether it was worthwhile or not, and give yourself some report card on it. Instead you more likely won't even remember more than bits and pieces, and then eventually die and forget it all. You're wrong about this one. The biggest regret for people on their death beds were having gone through life with goals unfulfilled. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-five....

I've always found it funny how others like you label rich people as having a shit life. That they can't find true love and have to hire escorts etc.

Success is what makes you happy. That could be making a billion dollars or milking cows.

Most of people have huge dreams and goals they want to achieve, its just that most don't care and don't try.


>The hero in the story is an Israeli soldier who decided to risk his life over a few dollars in his pocket. To do what, prove he was macho? He was really stupid in my book. And we're supposed to, according to the author, look up to this man? Train all our lives as a knife fighter, so we, too, can take dumb risks and be lucky enough to not get killed doing so?

Well yes, of course. Your ambition is the engine of the elite's profits.


I imagine to those of us are lucky enough to reach adulthood without any big hardship in life such a lifestyle can be very appealing, but unfortunately I reckon it's not how it typically plays out.

This entire viewpoint is based on the false premise that we are born and grow up unaffected by any financial, physical or psychological stress, living in a nice cushioned bubble, free to live our lives and to shape our future as we please. Unfortunately it doesn't always work out like that.

For everybody else (people who have been through difficult times in their lives, e.g. poverty, having suffered great losses, bullied in school, bad family etc..) success, as in being wealthy, influencial and attractive, is pretty much the only way to deal with life. Let's not forget that.


You can strip away the vaguely implied definition of "success" and replace it with arbitrary goal-attainment, and the central point still holds. Most of us have goals, so this is useful. Anyway, the word "startup" is right there in the title, so what were you expecting?


I read the article more like: IF you want to be successful, here is this great advice. Like you point out, being "successful" is not everything, nor necessarily related to being happy. That doesn't make the point in the article any less valid though.


Couldn't have said it better myself.


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No need for the extra comment, just upvote it.




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