On Spending Money

September 11, 2016

by — Posted in Philosophy

Hiking the Tour de Mont Blanc with friends this week. Has brought up some interesting opportunities to examine my personal spending habits.

The group goes out for dinner every night, and I’ve abstained from partaking every night. They’re under the impression I’m doing this to save money, but the simple reality of the matter is I derive absolutely no pleasure or joy from the experience, so it’s not worth any amount of money for me.

A few of us ran a portion of the trail today, and then sat down to eat a nice little bite for lunch afterwards. I’ve stockpiled a ton of canned foods in our support van, and plucked out a nice can of spinach.

Dug in, and the first bite was heavenly. Couldn’t believe how much I appreciated it. Easily gave me as much enjoyment as I’m positive anyone on this trip has derived from any fancy dinner, and it came from a can of spinach worth less than a dollar (68 cents in the States!).

I’m sure I wasn’t born this way, and I’m certain my perspective of life has actively shaped my preferences so that they’re truly in alignment with my values. I’m not using willpower or sacrificing enjoyment to abstain from an expensive dinner – I truly derive no benefit from it. I’m not suffering when I eat a can of spinach – it truly is one of the most delectable delights I relish in this world.

And I’m positive others could do this just as well in their own lives, if they so chose to. Humans are incredibly adaptive creatures, and tastes and preferences are some of the most flexible things about us. If you find it a challenge to align your preferences with your values – I’d encourage you to actively take a look at that, and work on it. With a little active work, I’m fairly certain you can align your preferences with your values in such a way that your actions and behavior truly reflect your philosophy on life by default, with no willpower or sacrifice required.

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