Modern Stoics: Part One

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” — Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Nassim Taleb is a Lebanese-American essayist known for studying randomness, likelihood, and probability. He’s also the author of a book called The Black Swan.

Oddly enough, this man also seems to follow stoicism, or at least share some common ideas with it. In this quote he brings up what he believes are the three most harmful addictions: heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.

Obviously heroin is a bad thing. It’s an illegal drug for a reason; it makes people lose control of themselves and their thoughts, which results in harm to themselves and others

Carbohydrates are arguably not too great. Sometimes we have trouble processing them in our bodies and it keeps us from having as much energy as our bodies need. 

A monthly salary is possibly the worst addiction in Taleb’s eyes due to the fact that a monthly salary is something that many people are willing to sacrifice the rest of their lives for. By this I mean that a monthly salary often results in people working too much for something that they’re unlikely to keep for long. We sacrifice our hobbies, relationships, and mental health simply to be paid at the end of the month — and most of the time, that simply isn’t worth it.

That being said, you need a monthly salary in order to be a functioning member of society. You can’t just live for free. It’s unfortunate and in an ideal world this isn’t the case, but we don’t live in an ideal world. Because of this, we can only control how we react to receiving a monthly salary.

Now before I say this it’s important to point out I’m not a financial advisor. But but but, regardless of how you feel about money, it’s important to remember that it’s only an object. Those little pieces of paper might be able to control your life, but not your mind, and you can always say no to them.

Of course, there are exceptions to this. Some people are forced to work in a job they hate because they need the money. Others have families to provide for and they do it for them. Simply saying that money has no control over you can’t stop it from changing your life, but it can be something that you whisper to yourself when you’re feeling stressed about money. “It’s only paper. It can’t hurt me.” 

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By the way, sorry that I disappeared for a week — lots of things have been happening and sometimes I have to set this blog to the side so I can focus on other things. You could help out a ton though by liking this post, commenting, and sharing it with a friend. Remember to take care of yourself, and try to be the reason someone smiles today 🙂

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