In the previous post, we took a look at why your own body/mind is your most precious asset and how you can develop it to become the ultimate investment offering massive returns with minimal risk. This post will look at ways to control the maintenance costs of this most precious asset of yours while simultaneously increasing its productivity and longevity. Not a bad combo, right?
Recall the reasoning put forth in a previous post which showed that financial resilience can be increased a lot faster by committing to keep expenses constant than by committing to save a fixed percentage every month. It was argued that this strategy would also be more psychologically rewarding because, in fixing your life expenditures, you will break the potentially very damaging psychological link between consumption and happiness.
The fact is that, beyond a certain point, consumption does not bring any meaningful increases in happy life years. In fact, it can decrease happiness through excessive materialism and financial troubles, and it can shorten lifespan through destructive consumption habits. Breaking this psychological link at a comfortable standard of living can therefore be highly rewarding.
In this post, however, we will take a look at the situation from a more practical standpoint. If you look at your body/mind as your most valuable productive asset, you would obviously like to develop this asset to the point where it runs very efficiently, economically and sustainably. In this way, it can keep on generating great returns over a long period of time both for you and for your society.
Broadly speaking, we can define two ways to maintain the productivity of our most precious asset in the developed world today: consumerism and voluntary simplicity. If you choose consumerism, you will probably see things like a massive house, many fancy cars, a huge and regularly renewed arsenal of electronic gadgets and regular exotic holidays as essential to maintaining the productivity (happiness) of this asset of yours. If you choose voluntary simplicity, however, you will suddenly find that you need none of these things and that you now have a lot more time and money with which to pursue the things most closely linked to happiness and longevity: optimal health, nourishing personal relationships and free creative expression.
If you consider this from an investment perspective, you will very quickly realize that consumerism can easily turn your most precious asset into an outright liability (through massive personal debt) and also make your asset break down much sooner than expected (by joining in the lifestyle-induced degenerative disease epidemic sweeping the developed world today).
Sure, not many people view their body/mind as their most important investment, but doing so definitely makes the choice between consumerism and voluntary simplicity a lot easier. Why not give it a try?