Happiness and Reason for Living

Malta Monkey's picture
Rank: Almost Human | 6,154

I've been thinking a lot, reading a lot, listening to various people's perspectives on life. Everyone, from survivors of the worst tragedies, to those troubled like the brilliant, late Anthony Bourdain, to those whose names you've never heard of. Conventional wisdom says that life is a gift and is precious, I disagree (for now, I think it is important to evolve your opinions with new information).

So to learn from you all and to learn from each other, are you happy? What drives you to live? Life is not absolutely better than the alternative, we simply do not know. Some religions say you come back into another life, others say there's some afterlife, others say there's a great and infinite nothingness. Nobody truly knows. So what drives you? What makes each of you wake up every morning and do whatever it is that you do? Is this how you want to spend your limited time?

A lot of my life has been driven by competition. What if I choose to no longer compete? Am I failure? Is death inherently failure? Is there some heroism in living?

What are your thoughts?

Comments (140)

Oct 30, 2019

Do people really feel this way in the morning? Not mocking you or being sarcastic, but I am genuinely curious.

Most mornings I get up because my alarm goes off. I then leave for the gym or straight to work depending on how busy I am that day. I very rarely think about the alternatives to being alive and I'm not religious by any means. I am, because I was born, simple as that. What else am I going to do? Kill myself? What good will that do? Nothing. People will keep living their lives and I will become plant food.

Do I ponder what I could have been doing differently from time to time? Of course. However, it must be exhaustive to wake up every morning and think that every day has to be life-changing - the only people who do are either on drugs or handing out books written by Joseph Smith.

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Oct 30, 2019

Fair question. I am not religious myself. It probably is exhausting but it's the only way I can tolerate the morning. Most mornings I struggle to get up and do anything and generally think it's just not worth it. Searching for a meaning is better than my alternative morning, concluding that there is no meaning.

I don't think each day is life changing. The life changing moments have already happened, and they will continue to already happen when we don't notice them. I'm trying to find why billions of people on this floating rock actually go forth with their lives the way they do. Well not understand billions, but a small sample on some online forum.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

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Oct 30, 2019

I can only speak for myself, but I do not believe that there is some greater meaning behind all of this to be quite frank. There isn't one single reason why I get up in the morning, I have many: I really enjoy the morning coffee with my newspaper, I like running in the morning and I like my job (about 85% of the time). I spend a lot of my spare time with friends or out travelling, which I really enjoy.

You say that most mornings you struggle to get up because it is not worth it, but what would make a morning worth it then?

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Oct 30, 2019
Malta Monkey:

It probably is exhausting but it's the only way I can tolerate the morning. Most mornings I struggle to get up and do anything and generally think it's just not worth it.

If I remember correctly, you don't want to be doing what you are currently doing for a living. That situation has definitely inspired me to contemplate the meaning of life in the past and has certainly led to difficulties in dragging myself out of bed.

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Nov 1, 2019

Great question, I've been thinking about more recently. I asked the same question as you when I used to think no way anybody thinks like that. Always thought those people were just crazy or something like that. But now, I start asking questions like that in the morning too. Nothing too serious, but moreso okay I woke up, just another day, etc.

Nov 1, 2019

I think the crazy people are the ones who choose to not be happy with no real reason for it. Like many others stated here, doing it for future generations I respect. Doing it for sheer prestige.. I don't.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Nov 2, 2019

That last line is gold.

I am religious but this is still basically my thinking. Either way, I stay busy and don't really give myself time to worry about it too much. You can only control what you can control. It's better to hustle and not overthink it, at least for me personally.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Oct 30, 2019

Honestly, I grew up poor and really want to know what it feels like to be financially secure. Not rich, but just "secure". Sounds like a dumb goal but that's what drives me.

After that though, all that will be left is anticlimactic boredom. At that point the alternative to being alive will probably be the next most interesting to me.

Oct 30, 2019

Exactly, I grew up in the same socio economic position , 1st gen college student and my life mission is to make sure my parents can retire and never work again. I've no interests in buying a mclaren or lambo but rather securing my family and one day raise kids who are able to enjoy their teenage years instead of suffering like I am. Hopefully invest in real estate or a business that they can learn about to create generational wealth

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Oct 30, 2019

Not a dumb goal at all, it's very admirable. Moving up Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Sounds like you'll come to the same issue as me, gotta read other comments to avoid that.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Oct 30, 2019

Honestly what drives me is my kid now and my family legacy. I don't have a legacy or nothing to pass down so I want my descendants to have some generational wealth of some sort. I am the first college graduate in my family (I'm 1 generation out the projects) my great grand parents were sharecroppers and possibly slaves (can't prove the slave part yet but I'll bet money on it)

I'm the foundation upon which my kids build themselves. That's what drives me.

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Oct 30, 2019

I like that. I don't have kids, but likely will in the next decade or so. I really want to do the same, allow my kids opportunities that weren't readily available to me. Like sure, I could've theoretically pulled a Lloyd Blankfein and gotten such amazing grades and gone to Harvard UG and HLS full ride, but I really didn't even consider that a possibility. But I want my kids to work because they want to, not because they need to.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Oct 30, 2019

Right. The real value of affluence comes with the network moreso than the money. It's why schools like Harvard nshit can charge out the ass because the network is that powerful

Oct 30, 2019

I look into my kids eyes and I realize whatever I do will haunt him for better or worse for the rest of his life. It's a humbling thought but motivating at the same time.

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Funniest
  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Oct 30, 2019

What motivates me is getting silver bananas on WSO.

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Oct 30, 2019
Prospect in IB - Gen:

What motivates me is getting silver bananas on WSO.

Word

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Oct 30, 2019

+1 SB

Oct 30, 2019

"Comparison is the thieve of joy" as they say.

I think most people get unhappy bc they keep comparing what they have to what other people have. It's been said a bunch of times, but how great is it to live in America (assuming most of us do), where you can literally do anything you want. Even if you're sitting home bored, it's something that should still be cherished bc nothing is affecting/threatening you at that moment.

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Oct 30, 2019

Good points. Although consciously I know that no matter how much I dislike my life, tons of people would kill for my life. It's weird to think about.

Also I consider myself inherently lucky, I have a great support system and people close to me who I love and who love me (romantically, family, and a handful of deep friendships). It's just getting my subconscious mind to both keep on seeking improvement while simultaneously being happy.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Most Helpful
Oct 30, 2019
Malta Monkey:

So to learn from you all and to learn from each other, are you happy? What drives you to live?

There are so many layers to this question that I doubt I'll touch on all of them here in the post-lunch doldrums of my day, but I think what inspires me to keep on keeping on is finding joy. Large or small, that dopamine hit feels so wonderful in the moment that when you're experiencing it, you love it more than anything, and when you're not, you will do whatever it takes to feel it again.

This can be smaller things - the thrill of draining a long putt on the golf course, the self confidence boost from receiving a sincere "great work" from your boss, the pride in getting your significant other off before you do, the deliciousness of a perfectly cooked meal and your favorite glass of wine, the satisfaction when you finally understand a concept that had been confusing you.

This can be greater things - for me, as a real estate developer, I want to build projects that outlast me. In some way, this is egotistical. People have built monuments to themselves throughout history, and I'm certainly guilty of the aspiration. In another, by creating projects that have worth beyond NOI/Cap Rate, I would like to think the community is forever enhanced as a result. I recently completed a project at this level, and if the community and industry awards didn't reinforce it enough, the tremendous sense of accomplishment gave me a high I'm sure I'll be chasing for decades. Not every project is like that - far from it really - but years of tertiary positions within the industry, miserable bosses, uncertainty, graduate school and the associated tremendous debt, multiple job hunts, long hours, overwhelming stress, and over ten years of my life seemed to culminate in this tremendous success - recognition, impact, and financial - and even now, reliving it, I can't help but smile.

I also feel that I have not only an opportunity, but a responsibility, to continue to advance my family's standing. My great grandparents, on either side, were tremendously poor. My grandparents all started businesses and worked multiple jobs, intent on elevating themselves to a middle class existence. My parents were both the first in their immediate families to go to college and then the first to go to graduate school, and my dad was a successful insurance executive, but my upbringing was middle and then upper middle class. I wasn't rich. I want my kids to have the opportunities that I didn't have, opportunities that I see the children of successful developers having. I see it as my job to make it to the next level. (Undoubtedly so my grandchildren can be spoiled shits and ruin it all, as is tradition.) Being able to send my kids to college and not burden them with student loans like I was, or buy my mom a house, or take my brother and sister and their significant others to Europe without thinking about the cost. I can only imagine the happiness that would bring me - like the feeling you get when you see someone you love open a gift you bought them on Christmas and smile taken to the Xth degree.

There are so many things, big and small, to find joy in, even through the miseries we all face from time to time. Life, ultimately, is pretty cool.

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Oct 30, 2019

SB

I can't agree more.

Oct 30, 2019
CRE:
Malta Monkey:

So to learn from you all and to learn from each other, are you happy? What drives you to live?

Life, ultimately, is pretty cool.

Yuck !!

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Oct 30, 2019

This comment is a really good example of one of the meanings of life- the impact you have on others. This reminded me of that. Thank you. This has helped me out quite a lot.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Oct 30, 2019

Is there an audio book for this?

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

Oct 30, 2019
Jamie_Diamond:

Is there an audio book for this?

YouTube channel.

Remember to smash that like button, subscribe, and ring that bell for notifications.

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Oct 30, 2019

Life is simple. Tediously solve the grainiest of problems, and you will have distracted yourself from life's nothingness.

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Oct 30, 2019

I can't tell if you're trolling or not. If not, you sound like you live a very sad life. You treat life like a disease and tediously solving problems as some symptom reducer.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Oct 31, 2019
Malta Monkey:

I can't tell if you're trolling or not. If not, you sound like you live a very sad life. You treat life like a disease and tediously solving problems as some symptom reducer.

It is the objective truth about life. Your competition is a shallow, meaningless existence. It's an activity you do to keep your perfect Westernized worldview from being shattered by the realities that you probably do not have a significant reason to go on having a life.

Oct 30, 2019

I had always been highly competitive and would push myself through many grueling internships and recruiting processes to reach that goal of "prestige" whatever that means. But after a family emergency came up and I stopped networking for IB jobs and moved back home to help out and found a job in credit I really found happiness. Once I stopped working all the hours I found my wife, and moved up to a large corporation into some decent pay and built a nice life. I get a month of PTO and I actually use it. I work 8-5 every day and get to relax with my dogs and family every night. While, it is still competitive here it is definitely at a healthier and more sustainable pace than what I was doing previously. I think I found a good balance between money and family and it is the happiest I have every been.

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Nov 1, 2019

That is really awesome. Great to hear how you've found that balance. A month PTO is pretty phenomenal, that's an awesome perk. That's what life seems to be about, being able to enjoy your time here and share that joy with loved ones. Speaking of dogs, my friend told me something that stuck with me:

"Dogs are so happy because they are present in their life. When they're on a walk with their owner, they're just a dog walking with their owner. They're not thinking about tomorrow's stress."

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

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Nov 1, 2019

Thank you! It is a great balance and a few days a week of work from home adds to that. That's a pretty cool quote and true. It is all about being present, and if I had gone a different route my life would be entirely different. I am a believer of everything happening for a reason and as disappointed as I was to turn down a few IB and F500 jobs to move back home for family reasons was awful at first, but had I not done that I would not have met my wife and I would not have that happiness so everything kind of happens for a reason and everyone has different things to bring happiness but until I found it I did not know what that was.

Oct 30, 2019

Like most have eluded to, not having something that forces you (but drives you) out of bed is a good starting point.

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Oct 30, 2019

Trying to find that now. Looking at the possibility of making big life changes.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Oct 30, 2019

In the last few years, I've gotten to the point where I no longer care if I'm fired or promoted but at the same time, I can show up and crank out work late into the night if necessary. I really don't care if I can afford a better car, house, season tickets or anything....I don't need respect, prestige, or any of it anymore.

At the same time, I work a high-stress high paying job. It's a very strange place to be while not caring how things turn out. Also, very strange to be surrounded by people who are the exact opposite.

Got to here with a lot of reflection, lot of failure before success in my career, and using my Sundays for church rather than boozy brunches. I won't boast to be the happiest person on the planet but am rather neutral about things, neither unhappy or happy most of the time which is actually a very comfortable place to be.

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Nov 1, 2019

Interesting take. I've been thinking about a related topic- I really don't care if I'm fired or not. But I still wake up early to get to work early, I still stay late, I still try to get stuff done quickly and accurately. Maybe I do care subconsciously? I have no idea. What drives you to work such a high stress job if the reward (high pay) doesn't matter to you?

Alcohol is pretty bad. The occasional drink with close people is fine, but I stopped getting drunk on a weekend afternoon or a late night out. Sounds like you've found comfort in church, how did you find that? I'm genuinely curious. I grew up religious but the teacher said I'm going to hell (I was that kid who always asked "Why?") and then I just never got back into it.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

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Nov 2, 2019

To answer your first paragraph, I had been thinking about what's the best way that I can help world. At first, I thought about quitting my job and getting something more typically "do-gooder" like working at a charity or a high school or something like that. But then, I realized that in some strange way, this was the selfish route. Yes, it was easier for me. However, if my current job doesn't bother me that much and I can earn considerable resources to change the lives of other people, then that's what I should do. For example, I just paid $11K in a family member's medical bills. Sure, I can feel good about myself by being a lowly paid charity worker but I'm actually more useful to the world in my current role. There is a famous line in the Bible: for those who much has been given, much will be asked. I've been given this opportunity and my talents and I best use them.

For your second paragraph, I was much like you in finding religion really dumb in my youth. I lived in a part of the country filled with fire and damnation Southern Baptists. When I came back to the faith in my early 20s, I dug deeper into Catholicism and found it much more intellectually rigorous.

As far as attending church, I don't think that it's some sort of magical bullet. It's just a part of reflecting on your life and the bigger picture. What I find particularly important about this reflection is that it gives you something to which you can measure yourself against. In my opinion, this is one of the greatest assets of religion in comparison to atheism in helping one grow as a person. If you have nothing to measure against, you can delude yourself into believing that you're an amazing person. For example, "I recycle plastic straws, I take care of my kids and family, hence I'm wonderful person and better than a lot of other people." You get to church and the standard is Jesus and the disciples who dropped everything to serve others. There's even a Bible verse that says something along the lines that even a thief loves his own mother. So, you take a look at your own life and reflect and realize that maybe you aren't that great. Maybe, you need to be doing more. It makes it much harder to throw around money to reward yourself with expensive luxuries. And the more you reflect and humble yourself, the harder it becomes to live a life like that.

Oct 30, 2019

I can relate to you with the competition, my driving force is essentially to be so good at something that I become known for it. It feels a bit grandiose and farfetched at times especially since I'm just out of College but it motivates me, the idea of trying to leave a legacy.

Even when I'm at my lowest it sort of depresses me more/ motivates me that if I were to die right now nothing would change outside of my close family and friends. Idk what I would do if I choose to stop competing either, I'd probably be pretty far behind where I am now if I had lived that way thus far though.

Nov 1, 2019

Sounds like you have an idea of what drives you, now it seems like you've got to apply it to whatever interests you the most.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Oct 30, 2019

It's a good question. I've never dealt with it from a super negative vantage point though.

Money will not bring you happiness. I have money now and I'm no more happy now than when I was 21 and broke. Your expectations ratchet up with income.

I have found some satisfaction in providing real advice to young people early in their career. Careers can be seriously rewarding in that people can fulfill their goals and provide for their families and their charitable endeavors if they do it well. I have done many things terribly in life, work is not one of them. I have crushed that everywhere along the way. This is where I feel I can help people the most with my guidance.

Because of this particular weird skillset, I have extended this expertise to some non-profits that provide platforms for people who come from low-income families and are early in their careers. The amount of value you can add to someone in this situation is enormous. You just have to care and provide tough love.

That being said, I set my alarm for 5 am for the rare time I'm not awake long before that time. Part of the reason I wake up early is because I am never done with the day before. Whether that is healthy or not, I cannot say. More than anything, that keeps me going, the compulsion to complete the work from yesterday.

The other reason I look forward to tomorrow is because I can start drinking again.

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Oct 30, 2019

Also, the most likely alternative to being alive is nothingness/being worm food. Do you remember what it was like before you were born? That's my best expectation of what death is like. In my very humble opinion, we are all extraordinarily lucky to have ever been born. We are a nanosecond if existence compared to the massiveness of the universe. Enjoy the ride on the rock while you can.

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Oct 31, 2019

My life goal is to have a net positive effect on the people I care about. Making them happy makes me happy. Seeing my infant son and wife fall asleep next to me, knowing that I will do whatever it takes to take care of them, to shield them from all that this world can throw upon people is a powerful motivator.

Oct 31, 2019

This is such valuable advice. It really is a matter of the small stuff.
Existentialism can hit any of us at any time if we really let it. Logically, there isn't much objective reason to "life", unfortunately as far as we're able to prove, "life" is not like a video game where we're constantly chipping higher and higher until we achieve some grandiose end-point. Instead, life is just a series of events, some self-dictated, some uncontrolled, and our experiences and characteristics are defined by how we choose to react to and embrace these events.

Enjoying a cup of coffee or a quiet moment with your s/o in the morning, feeling your blood rush on an intense run, or having your adrenaline rush like crazy jumping out of a plane and descending over Greece are all perfectly good reasons to wake up, because at the end of our lives, all we will have are our experiences.

You could, like so many unfortunately have before you, choose to end it early, and your life would consist of the experiences and enjoyments you've found between birth and today... OR, you could appreciate the little things and find solitude and joy in the seemingly most meaningless moments, and look back after another 50+ years on this giant rock and say "I did a lot of things I enjoyed and spent time with people I love, and that's enough".

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Oct 31, 2019

Surprised nobody had said anything about Jordan Peterson..or maybe I missed it. He is phenomenal btw.

He says that there is no "THE meaning of life" and that the meaning in everyone's life is always changing, to be found WITHIN the pursuit of meaning. This is a really complex thing to think about and understand. Took me a while to grasp it but its something like...the aims in your life should always be continuing to grow as you grow...new goals, new relationships, etc. And it all starts with accepting responsibility for yourself, your family, and your community. The 'heroism' as you call it is to find a group of people who depend on you, and essentially put the team on your back. Work for the betterment of them and for the betterment of yourself. Imagine how good the world would be if every single person did this.

Personally, I want to begin my legacy now. I want to let my parents retire without a care in the world. I want to make sure my kids have opportunities I never did, which my father also gave to me. I want to build something that I can look back and be proud of, and that my family can one day be proud of. The meaning of my life is to take care of my loved ones, and have some fun and thrills along the way.

When we were picking college majors, people chose nursing, physc, etc all on the basis of helping people. That is so great for them, but I also am helping people...MY people. Not strangers.

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Oct 31, 2019

Think back to the times you were happiest - both happiest in the moment, and happiest overall at a period of time in your life. I'll bet money wasn't really a factor in those. The best times are about the people, the situation, etc. Some holidays with family, hiking in the woods, hanging with friends on the beach, etc. When you have no money (been there) life sucks because you're worried about the minimum. But when you have enough, it's not about the money.

Oct 31, 2019

There was an interesting Dan Bilzerian video on his experience of life, after having made a lot of money.

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Oct 31, 2019

This guy has never made a dime of his own money. His dad was a corporate raider and inside trader that hid everything in a network of trusts and shell corps for himself and his children when he got caught. He is the cringiest individual on the planet and all of his businesses have sucked. Bet he gets laid tho.

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Oct 31, 2019

I don't disagree. But that wasn't my point. If you watch the video it's an interesting discussion on hedonism, and the limitations of pleasure and interest even after you have a ton of money. I didn't say "go be like him" but I found the way he described the diminishing pleasure after he had so much excess that was interesting and relevant.

Oct 31, 2019

Bourdain definitely had it the most right he was just sick in the head. That guy experienced every walk of life and could easily fit in shooting heroin in Bodega and have a meaningful connection with the sitting president of the US across the planet a month later. He was the coolest dude to walk this Earth and we are all worse off for him having gone. He practiced physical and mental fitness everywhere he went, was actively engaged in the political and social causes of every country and city state, drank and laughed and cooked incredible meals in thousands of different kitchens and gathering places, connected with almost everyone he met regardless of language or cultural barriers. Oh, and he came from nothing too.

That just tells me that it's really all a head game at the end of the day. If you can have the most fulfilling life - career, women, drugs, money, social and political influence and engagement, meaningful relationships, food, travel, the homes and family, and it's still not enough, dog that's a disease in your brain. If you have 1) the genetic disposition and/or ability to be happy and fulfilled, and 2) make the decision that you will happy, you can do it sleeping on the subway as a nobody or as a Partner with real estate in the Vineyard. I was happy with $6.77 in my account if I had a 3 spot for AYCD on Friday with my friends. I'm happy now with a lot more - but we all have those friends who wake up with more than us (Not just money, the family, the job, the wifey, the opportunities) and still eat a shitburger for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday because they choose to or because they're sick.

Oct 31, 2019

I find it a little curious that more people aren't mentioning religion. I know that's not the cool and hip thing with kids these days, but consider that people have been finding meaning in religion for thousands of years. If you're feeling empty, maybe it's time to revisit a religious service again now that you're a grown adult.

Are all those people over milleniums just dumb? Should we all start praying to Anthony Bourdain and whatever pop guru is giving his or her next TED talk?

People have been debating this centuries upon centuries. See what the discussion has been thus far instead of listening to only the wisdom of last Tuesday.

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Oct 31, 2019

Religion is a funny thing in the modern day. Of course religion gave people community, solace, purpose, meaning, structure to their lives. But with all we know about science now, religion seems to be just a story, a fairy-tale we have told our collective selves. And while it's easy to get behind the "let's be good people, do onto others, and get together and sing songs" it's a lot harder to get behind the big-invisible-man-in-the-sky idea. Especially the paradox of there being a God is infinitely powerful, the source of all goodness, who loves humanity as a parent loves his child, but the simultaneous existence of incredible evil and suffering in the world. And before anyone jumps in with "but free will tho" please remember that there are awful diseases and parasites which are mutilating and causing great suffering to the world's poorest people, and free will had nothing to do with it.

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Oct 31, 2019

This is the normal response, but I find it intellectually lazy. I am religious, although I haven't always been, and understand why many people don't believe in God, but I think most don't think critically about it and cast it aside as something for the less intelligent or those that otherwise would lead hopeless lives.

The question "does God exist" is not really a scientific one - it's a metaphysical one. I'd recommend starting with philosophical questions (top down), not the stories (bottom up). On a surface level and without thinking too much about them, they do seem extremely implausible. From a purely intellectual perspective, starting top down can be more interesting/engaging. God is the first principle - that from which things proceed. That's all people really mean by God - that's the baseline. Now different religions believe God has revealed different things about Himself, but that's one thing all major religions agree on. And we believe that reason can lead you to this conclusion (ex: the five proofs, some of which are more convincing than others. There are more than 5 ways to think about it, but those are traditionally the most well known).

However, for many people working bottom up can also be compelling (as a Christian, this would start with what is the evidence for the Resurrection? There are many ways to approach, but one place to start is to think about why his followers would willingly give up their lives under persecution for something they know to be false).

Suffering is undoubtedly a big tripping point. But if there is a God and we have eternal souls, could God allow humans to suffer, even very painfully for decades, as an opportunity for those suffering to grow closer to God? Again, from a Christian perspective - the holiest men and women in history have endured incredible amounts of suffering, gladly even, and it brought them closer to God. Christ said "pick up your cross and follow me" - Christians believe they are called to suffer well. Any amount of suffering on earth would be worth it if the reward is eternal participation in heaven.

From a less religious perspective, although he is Jewish, I'd recommend Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning.

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Oct 31, 2019

@MMBanker14 Makes some great points and there are plenty more but don't want to get too deep into theology, However, as I noted regarding the centuries old debate, your point about science is not new. This has been discussed for centuries. People have known for a long time that maybe Noah's flood was not literal along with the whole world being made in 7 days.

Second, I respect the scientific perspective with one caveat. Are you scientific in every aspect of your life? If so, then more power to you. However, in most cases, I find that most people who refuse religion based on a scientific argument also believe in all sorts of mumbo jumbo.

Here's two examples among many out there:

  1. My brother is an atheist on scientific grounds, yet he believes in extraterrestrial aliens.....based on basically zero evidence.
  2. Any fan of Bernie Sanders and AOC fan (most of which tend to be radically left and not friendly to religion). They basically believe in falsehoods and economic ideas that have been proven wrong a thousand times. A lot of their arguments are equivalents of 1 + 1 = 5. If you reject religion on scientific grounds but still believe in fairy tales like everything can be free for everyone, it's really kind of silly.
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Oct 31, 2019
NoEquityResearch:

I find it a little curious that more people aren't mentioning religion. I know that's not the cool and hip thing with kids these days, but consider that people have been finding meaning in religion for thousands of years. If you're feeling empty, maybe it's time to revisit a religious service again now that you're a grown adult. Are all those people over milleniums just dumb?

Simple - I am not religious, so my long post above did not mention religion.

Oct 31, 2019
CRE:

Simple - I am not religious, so my long post above did not mention religion.

Was just re-reading all of your points when I came across this quote. Ok, I think I rest my case now....

Oct 31, 2019

.

Nov 2, 2019

Well, I don't bring it up a lot because this board is pretty secular. (Side note, The nihilism of many comments here is fitting for the chosen careers). And some comments like CRE's are well thought out and pretty funny, but there's just some unnecessarily hostile shit from other posters, too.

I know that's not exactly what you asked but it's not the discussion for this crowd.

Nov 2, 2019

Yeah, I totally agree that this forum is going to lean in a certain direction. In my opinion, that's why it's even more important to let people know that you can still work in this business without being a self-centered empty tool.

On a side note, I didn't want to get into the theology much but CRE's conspiracy theory about Christianity being used to placate the poor is really poorly thought out. I first like to evaluate if people are actually willing to discuss before wasting time.

Think about the basics. Jesus preached to the poor, the beggars, the lepers, the prostitutes, the disabled, etc. He preached against the rich and powerful and the rabbis in the temples. Subsequently, Jesus was killed by Pontius Pilate and the people in power. He was basically a threat to the rich and powerful, not someone who was helping them placate the poor.

If you want to discuss how the religion was used later on, sure you could make a case the other way. But the original message was empowerment of the downtrodden and humbling of the rich and powerful. Again, as you note, not the most popular message on WSO. Was not very popular in AD 30 either...

Oct 31, 2019

We all need 3 things: Something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to.

Read The Iron and the Soul by Henry Rollins:

The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it's impossible to turn back.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you're a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

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Oct 31, 2019

First I want to say I love this post and wish I could express my thoughts verbally. +1

  1. I view life as a limited period of pain. Based on infinite factors some of us experience less pain than others. What drives me through life is the thought that I can make other's lives (specifically my friends and family's) a little less painful than if I weren't here. For me, life is a gift because it gives you the ability to help others for a period of time that others did not have the chance to have.
  2. I have also struggled with the thought of not competing anymore or striving to be the best at whatever I do. All I have known is competition so for me to not compete is equal to not living up to my potential. More recently though I have felt that its ok to do things to any degree as long as It makes my life happier.
Oct 31, 2019

Posting this on a throwaway but for some background, currently a second year analyst at a mid BB. T25 undergrad. I'd say a solid 50% of why I entered finance was for external validation. Thats something I've struggled with my entire life. My parents were very loving but also very disciplined. The youngest of four, I always felt like I had a lot to live up to. This led me to seek every source of validation I could possibly find. Be it grades, offhand compliments, work brutality, etc....... Everything became about validation for me. This slowly shaped me into a person who placed value over everything else. We're all familiar with our precious valuation models. This mentality has made me very narcissistic and cynical. So much to the point where I have begun to classify people I meet mentally. Ex) Undergrad school, current position, level of ambition, networking opportunities.... that sort of thing. Since this is a throwaway I can say how I truly feel. Having gone to a T25 instead of an Ivy like half of my friends, family, peers has definitely seeded an inferiority complex within me that only amplifies my need for external validation. Don't get me wrong. I know it's all bullshit, that it's a horrible mentality, and that none of these metrics ultimately matter as to the value of a person. But this mentality is addicting. After being under it for over a decade, its come to the point that even though I know it's a shitty mentality, I really have too much pride and arrogance to stop. That thought is really an oxymoron huh. Both arrogant and extremely prideful yet consumed by feelings of inferiority. I'm not gonna pretend like I'm not self loathing, after all thats why I'm posting this on a throwaway account. I hate myself for how I act, yet have no desire to stop. So to answer your question Malta Monkey, I live for meaningless addicting hedonistic yet self destructive desires. After all, why should I stop? I've come this far. Associate prospects are looking very good. Don't get me wrong though, I love life, but I know I'm too far gone to ever turn around. Surely I am not the only one.

    • 5
Oct 31, 2019

Never too late bud

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    • 1
Oct 31, 2019

Smoke a bowl and hang out with some normal kids that didn't go to Ivy League schools.

Nov 1, 2019

Just a note to anyone who feels the way I do, sleep has a big impact on my thought process. I've been averaging 5-5.5 hours a night, some nights even less. When I sleep less my mind wanders more and I can't think properly. I described this better in this thread here, not sure why I created another account to create that anyway. I feel like anyone who reads my stuff figured out it's me. Just looking to help others not feel like me- get some sleep. I'm taking night classes and wake up at 4:30A (well been sleeping in to 4:45A like that makes a difference), so unless I quit my job or quit trying to improve my situation I'll continue to get minimal sleep.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

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Nov 1, 2019

My life until about a year ago was largely driven by competition and achieving the "ideal" standard of making it into the top 1% and have the superzip address, luxury car, bank account, trophy wife, etc... As a result of this pursuit of ego fulfillment above all else I realized after succumbing to substance abuse due to depression that this results in nothing but eventual misery.

During my journey I started considering why the bussers and construction laborers I had worked with over summers in high school/college and the rural villager in South America on my mission trip living in "poverty" were happier than the real estate investment brokers pulling in $7 million per year. I wondered why these people despite having so much were still so obsessed with making more while giving little of their time and money to help others. I started wondering why they never talked about their families, religio, or hobbies outside of making money for the sake of making money. I questioned the proliferation of psych-meds, divorce, alcoholism, and drug abuse in their community due to the realization of the insane levels of stress one must take on to exist in this "high society".

Much to the support a wonderful wife I do not deserve, I have given up on the pursuit of materialism and do not wish to emulate these men who looked wildly successful on the outside but were hollow on the inside. Rather, I want to eventually start my own redevelopment firm that seeks a win/win combination of shareholder and stakeholder return by keeping in mind sustainability, community job creation, and entrepreneurship incubation. Specifically, the strip center space could be ripe for patient capital that offers percentage revenue leases to upstart companies so the landlord doesn't crush the start-up growing pains but also is able to participate in the upside success of the retailer/restaurant. There is also a huge need for inspired workforce housing redevelopment through creative redesign.

In terms of the point of life and the ultimate goal, I think the quest to kill the ego is paramount. This is universal across all religions. The goal is to be at peace with the world around you and stop trying to control the minutia of life, realizing that the new Rolex or BMW will have zero permanent impact on satisfaction. A goal everyone should aspire to is family creation as this will bring newfound life purpose that trumps the shallow pursuit of money and prestige. It is sad that so many young people today live purely for hedonism.

I struggle massively with pessimism looking forward at the US's future due to the rise of socialism, moral decay, hedonism, and tribalism. It depresses me that our country is $24 trillion in debt and has the highest prevalence of psych-med use globally and the world's worst substance abuse problem yet the media is more concerned with Trump's latest tweet. I question the society in which my kids will grow up and how difficult it will be for them to find peace in an endless sea of conflict, degeneracy, and misinformation. I look at our despicable treatment of the environment and the horrors of factory farming and how this directly translates into the terrible physical health of America.

The below book is an outstanding guide to life, easy to read, and hyper-relevant to those in finance.

https://www.amazon.com/Living-Simply-Golden-Voice-...

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Nov 1, 2019

I feel like we would be friends in real life. Perhaps not on the internet, but in real life, I think so.

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  • Prospect in Other
Nov 1, 2019

As a college iBanking hopeful, this is a really depressing thread, knowing I strive to work in a field that will provide me with little fulfillment other than monetary gains. But hey, I'd rather be mildly rich and miserable than poor and miserable.

Nov 2, 2019

I would say so far the happiest times in my life have been whenever I have a partner I can trust and rely on. Funny how what works for the most turns out to be what indeed helps living a more fullfilling life.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Nov 2, 2019

The "happiest" (most carefree, content, whatever you wanna call it) people I know consist of:

  • teen moms from high school who now have 3+ children (same age as me; <25), don't work and live "comfortably" on welfare
  • the illegal immigrants kids who go to college for free and stay for 6+ years (dropping out a semester of two here and there, don't work, sell/use drugs)
  • old frat buddies who don't work and are still "chilling" in our college town (very cheap CoL and get allowance from parents)
  • old college buddies who just kept on going to grad school after grad school with no intention of working

So who knows, maybe we're all doing it wrong. Seems like the common theme is that none of them works. On the contrary, the most ambitious people (I'd consider myself one) I know often seem to be "unhappy" on their pursuit for something better in the future.

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Nov 3, 2019

pretty sure anyone who thinks a teen mom can raise 3 kids happily on welfare has never actually been on welfare.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Nov 3, 2019

You are correct, never have been, never will be........did you assume that I'm on welfare....? lol

And I guess they have 3+ sources of child support + probably divorce gains, alimony and whatnot coming in as well. I'm not saying the kids are doing well or that the former teen moms are actually raising them well. But they certainly put up an image that they are quite happy and doing well (often posting pictures of checks and their new shopping grabs on fb). I'm just saying, that entire list consists of real people I know from real life and they seem to happier than many of my coworkers. Truth.

Nov 2, 2019

I'm an undergrad and I work/study hard each day with the hope that one day it will pay off. My mentality is I am sacrificing now to give myself a better life in the future. I hope it isn't all for nothing. I also know that since I want to go into investment banking, my life will probably get a lot harder and more stressful before it gets easier.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Nov 2, 2019

Same.

Nov 3, 2019

There isn't any absolute reason to get up in the morning. I am not religious (not anymore at least) and I believe that people attach a particular meaning to life and death just because it makes them feel secure. Do you make such a big deal of the death of an ant? I guess no. Well, it's the same for us, we just die and cease to exist forever. Life has value as long as you are alive. I live knowing that the second I die, nothing I did (or didn't do) here on Earth will matter anymore. Yeah, some people close to you will cry for you but give 50 years and you will be completely forgotten (how many of you even know their grand-grand parents?). BUT as long as you are alive, what you did until that point matters in the measure in which it affects your life conditions. So, if I skipped college nothing would have changed in the grand scheme of things, but I would have had to deal with that choice as long as I was alive. And therefore decided to do it and strived for good grades.

We, as a species, got here just because bacterias found a way to reproduce and animals like to have sex. Life itself has no meaning, it's just been driven for centuries by the innate desire to reproduce. So, knowing that my life is finite and itself has no particular meaning, I just live pursuing what I think will make for an interesting and enjoyable life according to my standards.
So, why do I want to work in quant finance? Because I still want to live in our society and this is the role I find most interesting. Like a good chess match, I see this job as a good way to stretch my brain while earning money, which in turn buys experiences and allows me to do interesting stuff. I wasn't rich growing up, so in my life's check-list I want to cross "see what it feels like to be rich and buy a ferrari". Maybe 5 years into the job, once I tried what it feels like to have money and I will have done some interesting stuff with that, I will leave to just travel the world, maybe I will open a business somewhere in Asia or the middle east, I don't know. I will just keep pursuing what I find interesting and stimulating at that time.

Life has no meaning, but it can still be fun to live. Find your values and what would make you happy, and do that. If you care about prestige, pursue IB and PE, nothing wrong with that. Just be aware that they are conventions created by us that have no absolute value and be open-mined enough to quit if you feel that what you do is not aligned anymore with what you care about.

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Nov 4, 2019

I have the same sentiments as you and have been feeling that way for a long time. It's good that you find mental and intellectual stimulation in your job, because I don't and it does make me stay up at night wasting the few hours of sleep I have wondering about what I'm doing.

Is pursuing what you find interesting and stimulating your ethos? If you hadn't been able to hack it at quant fin, had to work long hours at things you have no interest in, in return for financial stability, how would you keep driving yourself?

Most people I know who take risks to do something interesting and stimulating at the expense of money either have a safety net or genuinely don't give a fuck if they end up living in a cardboard box or their friend's couch

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Nov 9, 2019

Sorry for the late reply, I have been super busy and I wanted to think this answer thorough. Anyways...first of all there are 2 things I deeply believe:

  1. It's crazy to go to a job you don't like just to sustain yourself so that you can work at that job longer, eventually spending this way your whole life
  2. Life is one and relatively short and the only thing to be feared is regret

Life can't be just about survivig, otherwise why live at all? Just to enjoy those short, tiny moments of freedom like vacations or that free hour in the evening after work? That's pretty depressing. So, I really understand what you are saying and feeling, and you are probably torn between: "I would like to do something really exciting with my life" and "well, I have a job and a stability most people dream about, and since everybody values this a lot I should just be happy for this and do not risk it all, maybe trying to find happyness in hobbies or other things aside from work ".

If I were in your shoes, assuming I am single with no responsibilities aside from those with myself, I would take the leap and risk it based on 2 beliefs:

  • I don't want regrets when I am on my death bed so I don't want to die saying "well I worked a fine job to make a living but never attempted to do something extraordinary"
  • Attempting something else might seem risky, but the odds go up massively if you are dedicated and work hard (and most people don't, and later complain and dissuade others to try, but in reality they didn't give it all they had). Like for me, knowing that if I decide to do something I will outwork or outlast 99% of people who tried to do that, really gives me confidence and helps me deal with the fear of the unknown.

And honestly, most people are scared to fail or to try because they fear other people's judgement. Funny things happen when you don't give a fck about what others think. I think a lot of people who have been top performers since they were children like those you find in banking are addicted to external validation and base their selfworth on what other people think. And that's sad because yeah it feels good when others admire you, but in the end it doesn't mean sht. No one really gives a damn about you except perhaps your close family. Don't get me wrong it's hard to feel that judgement because we still have to live in society and when all your friends are living a comfortable life and you quit to be an entrepreneur and you are struggling you will probably question your decision, but if your motives are strong enough you will get through it.

And finally, if everything goes wrong despite your best efforts, well: A) you won't have the regret since you will die knowing that you tried, and B) you can always go back and find a job. Maybe you won't get a BB VP role , but you don't end up on friends' couches when you have a good degree and banking work experience just because you tried to do your thing for a couple years. Anecdotally, a close relative of mine was a Director at a top BB, got laid off, decided to start his own company and now he is about to cash out a few millions and retire since it went well. Another famous entrepreneur, Asim Qureshi, was a vp at morgan stanley, one day he realized he was miserable and didn't care about finance at all so he quit to start a business and now he is a succesful entrepreneur in Malaysia.

To answer your question, if I had to work long hours at a job I don't like just to earn a living I would probably try to find happiness in other things like a girlfriend or a hobby. That's what most people do, but I don't think that's the key to a happy life.

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Nov 3, 2019

Goldie is not happy. Goldie took out a fat life insurance policy on himself as a suicide disincentive. Talk shit, make jokes, learn some shit, make some money, take some walks, the fuck else you gonna do

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/

    • 1
Nov 3, 2019

Goldie is probably smart enough to find a way to commit suicide and make it look like an accident.

Nov 4, 2019

Well I think you can do a lot with your life. I don't think there has to be some divine meaning for a huge impact on the world, but doing something of value (value determined by yourself, not others) seems important? Tf do I know? I'm just trying to figure some stuff out.

Actually your comment to me about why people live the way they do made me think a lot about life. Maybe I'll find the link if I remember in the morning.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Nov 4, 2019
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    • 1
Nov 4, 2019
Comment

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

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  • Prospect in Other
Nov 4, 2019