A Wake-up Call From The World’s Second Richest Human
Recently I was watching a speech from Warren Buffett and in it he shared a fascinating little exercise, that, when done correctly, brings to light some very interesting — perhaps controversial — beliefs that you hold; including many you’re unaware of. Before you run away thinking this is all about investing, stop — because this question concerns not investing, but your life. Doing this exercise will help you clarify exactly what you stand for in Business, Politics, Love, Religion; and ultimately, in Life.
So grab a sheet of paper, a pen and imagine you were given another chance to live — with all the knowledge you have now. Your situation is this:
On the surface this seems like and easy task, but the truth soon hits you — it’s impossible; there are simply too many things to think about. So here’s what you do: Instead of thinking about everything, think about the things that are important to you and that have an impact on your life right no. Laws, Religion, Minimum Wage, Nationalism and Education are good places to start. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What sort of society would I want to live in?
- Would my world have countries? What about war?
- Would there be equal opportunity?
- Would I have religion and if so, which one and why?
- Does technology exist? To what extent do we advance the tech?
- Is everyone happy?
- What about diseases, illness and medicine?
- Do I want a goverment? What kind of government — global or national?
Take this exercise seriously; write everything down and do it truthfully.
Make sure you’ve written down your world before the next part…
At this point, Stop.
Stop for a moment and consider what this means. You don’t know what person you will become, where you will be born, if you will be homeless, what race you will be, nothing. Think about your ideal world now: is this world one where you would be comfortable being born into without knowing who you will be?
How does the Genie’s delayed catch change your ideal world? Does it? If you were born poor and a Jew in the suburbs of New York, would your life be compromised in your new world? What about if your were born in Germany? Do you have to rewrite your ideal world? If you’re like most people, you probably do.
The enlightening lesson here is in the final part. When you’re told of the catch, you probably had to reconsider your ideal world. It’s crucial that you ask yourself why — repeatedly. For each thing you had to change ask yourself why, why and why again. The reason for the 3 why’s is simple: the first and second why never get to the real reason. The third usually uncovers it.
Completing this exercise truthfully and honestly (and not just reading it) is an insanely profound way to grasp a clear picture of the world you would like to live in. The new perspective you will gain can give you some very startling insights; ones which could see you enter a deep state of gratitude, quit your job, embark on a new journey, meet new friends, and/or start contributing to the world that which only you can give — yourself. The last point — realising what you-yourself can contribute to the world — could perhaps be the most realisation you ever make. Too many people try to be somebody they are not; they try to replicate someone else; they want to fit in, copy or have what others have. Once you make the distinction of who you are, what you stand for and you know what contribution you can personally make to the world and to others, you soon come to another realisation: being yourself is easier.
Have a laugh playing this game, but don’t oversee it’s merit and usefulness. Thinking is hard, and you may find it especially difficult to know what sort of world you’d want to live in. Recognise this as the lesson; the reason you’re struggling is because you don’t know, and it is only when you overcome it, that you will know.
Coming to an better understanding of the world you live, and what you can individually do to make it a better place is a great lesson. And like all of life’s greatest lessons, they’re learned through will, endeavour and perseverance.