If you want to reduce your stress, it's good to adopt the “everything is rational” mantra. Once you believe that everything is rational, you'll stop getting so frustrated and angry at things. You'll also stop being so jealous of other people's success.
There's a lot of messed up things in the world such as war, poverty, racism, corruption, and a pandemic. Some things we can try to explain, and some things we can't. Always step up and fight for what is right and speak out against what is wrong.
However, if you constantly try to fight everything wrong, you will end up stressed and miserable. Pick your battles, such as speaking out against bigotry. And let other things that bother you, go.
Unless you are a “Karen,” here are some examples that shouldn't concern you. You can't change everyone, so don't try. Because long-term, people are rationally doing what makes them happy.
The Kid Who Just Wants To Have Fun
Everybody knows that grades start accumulating in the 9th grade, and without good grades and SAT scores, the chances of getting into a good college, and therefore landing a desirable job goes down. Is it really so bad that Johnny High doesn't go to Yale and become a rich banker nobody? What's so bad about community college and working for $20,000/yr at a dead end job which he enjoys? Nothing at all!
Johnny High's decision to not study hard in high school is perfectly rational. He chose to have a whole lot of fun, while other kids were miserable studying and participating in extracurricular activities to boost their resumes. When he's 35 years old and still working at his job with the same salary, he'll think back at all the fun he had in high school and smile. A YOLO lifestyle ain’t so bad.
Who's to say that being a multi-millionaire banker and going to Yale is good anyway? He could end up incredibly miserable, with tremendous amounts of anxiety everyday as a banker. Instead, Johnny High chooses to live a more relaxing life, and doesn't care about money.
If he did care about money, he would have studied harder. And if Johnny starts to care about money, he may go to grad school and give himself another shot.
If You Love To Eat More Than You Should
Two years ago, my friend Shirley at 5 feet 3 inches tall, weighed 205 pounds. She was considered obese, and didn't have a boyfriend. Sure she was out of shape, and longed to have companionship. But what she loved more than anything else was pizza, strawberry frosted cupcakes, and Mountain Dew. Food was her first love and everything else came second.
Shirley's decision to eat herself into obesity is rational. Shirley is proud of her body just the way it is, and therefore continued to consume copious amounts of food. Curiously enough, some of the fittest people have the lowest self esteem because they don’t love the way they look.
A year ago, Shirley asks if I'd like to work out with her once a week. I say sure, but why the sudden desire to exercise? She mentions there’s a guy that caught her fancy at a party, and she wants him to notice her.
Six months later, Shirley is down to 150 pounds and is happily going out with her new man. Pizza and cupcakes are no longer Shirley's first priority, he is.
The Chain Smoker Who Enjoys His Lucky Strikes
Smokers know that smoking damages the lungs, instigates cancer, and shortens lifespans. Yet, smokers smoke because the pleasure from smoking outweighs the long term detriments. Smokers are willing to accept the risk of lung cancer for the buzz of nicotine.
After spending $100 on cigarettes a month for years and coughing up blood for weeks, a relative of mine decided to quit. The desire to live long enough to see his daughter give birth outweighed his desire for nicotine.
It's been 10 years since he last lit up and grandpa visits his granddaughter every Sunday.
The Consumer With Seven Credit Cards
People realize that credit card debt is the highest debt around, yet thousands still don't pay off their debt in full every month. Credit card debtors are willing to pay 17%+ interest rates because the pleasure they derive from the items they buy outweigh the burden of debt.
Eventually, the pleasure from buying an incessant amount of useless things wears off. Unfortunately, the payments still remain. Some go cold turkey and cut up their credit cards, while others find second jobs to accelerate their debt repayments.
As soon as people with credit card debt desire to achieve financial independence, they will attack their higher interest rate debt with a vengeance. They will follow the FS-DAIR methodology for paying off debt and investing. in addition, they will read as much of a personal finance as possible.
The Mediocre Blogger
Consistent blogging is hard. If you want to create one of the best blogs, you'll spend hours a day trying to develop relationships with others. Here are some reflections on making money online since 2009.
You'll write tons of guests posts, publish more frequently, be absolutely self-less in promoting others, respond to all your comments and buy an iPhone so you can become a Twitter and Facebook maniac to keep in touch with your readers.
When you realize blogging is just hobby you don’t try as hard. Your full-time job is what really pays the bills and allows you to reach financial independence sooner. So you focus on getting paid and promoted at work, and downgrade blogging to a side hustle.
You don't let blogging take over your life, especially if you are the obsessive type. It's OK to step back and not publish as frequently. It's OK not to be the most popular and get all the awards.
Your main goals are to have fun, meet some new folks, learn, perhaps make a little money on the side, and find your own voice.
But for those of you who are really committed to your craft, you will continue to work on it for years, no matter what. After 10 years, I'm sure you're going to see some decent success in whatever you do.
The Defunct Politician
Corrupt politicians exist because we let them exist. We elect corrupt politicians into office and allow them to take advantage of the system for their own good. If we don't like what they do, we vote them out. For example, the people of Illinois did just that to ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich. They impeached him for wire fraud and bribery.
Over 1,700 people from the Department of Transportation now make over $170,000/year. You can be mad, or you can go online and learn how to become a DOT employee.
The majority of people voted for George W. Bush that's why he did a second term. He may not have found the WMD's, and sent thousands of troops in harms way, but at least he kept America safe from further terrorist attacks since 9/11.
Now look at Gavin Newsom, eating at French Laundry while telling millions doing a pandemic to stay at home. What a hypocrite! But the reality is, his actions were rational because he thinks he's above the law. He's grown up in a life of privilege.
Gavin will likely run for president, and if he wins, it’s because his voters don’t mind people who live by different rules.
The Miserable Employee
The miserable employee who is unwilling to leave deals with being abused and being underpaid by her boss. Everyday she comes in knowing she needs to put up with the bad office environment because she needs the health benefits and steady paycheck. The fear of the unknown is much greater than the misery her work and boss brings.
Fast forward five years later, the miserable employee continues to stay miserable at her job so she never has to take any risks and therefore never has to fail. If she were truly miserable, she would have found a new job by now.
Job security can be addicting. Maybe we might be able to equalize the playing field by quiet quitting. But eventually, we will regret staying at a job we do not enjoy.
To you minimize regret, please conduct a regret minimization exercise. The older you get, the more you will wish you would’ve taken more chances.
The Absent Minded
Finally, have you ever forgotten to do something you told yourself to do just moments earlier?
Damn, I forgot what I was going to write…. Oh yeah, for example, if you forget to pay your bills on time, it's because bills aren't important to you. You are willing to pay late fees and potentially hurt your credit.
You forget your anniversary because you really don't care about such things. If you did, you'd have a present ready for him or her and waiting!
The next time you feel there's something you should remember but can't, tell yourself this: The reason why you can't remember is because the thing you're supposed to do is not important. If it were important, you'd remember!
Another Rational Example: The Racist, Homophobic, Bigoted, Sexist Comedian
Shane Gills decided it was OK to a racist, bigoted, sexist, homophobe his entire career. In a widely-shared clip from “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast,” Gillis and co-host Matt McClusker are discussing New York’s Chinatown when Gillis says, “Let the f—ing ch-nks live there.” He later recalls a restaurant being “full of f—ing Chinee [sic] in there.”
In a separate podcast, “Ep 144 – A.I. is Racist,” Gillis and McCusker make fun of Asian accents about 22 minutes and 20 seconds in, referring to the video game “Clash of Clans” as “Crash of Crans” in a mock Chinese accent.
A little more than 21 minutes into “Ep 146 – Live from Shane’s Parent’s Basement,” while talking about the Battle of Gettysburg, Gillis refers to soldiers yelling as “so gay.” About 29 minutes into the podcast, Gillis uses the word “retard,” and “f-ggot,” and shortly afterward he and McCusker joke about “hot Southern boys” being raped during the Civil War, comparing it to “having gay sex in jail.”
Gillis, in describing women who disguised themselves as men to fight in the war, refers to them as “flat chested f—ing bitch[es].” He issued a statement last Thursday addressing the situation, writing in part, “My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks.”
At the end of the day, he got hired by SNL and fired. Given everything is rational, Shane Gills is probably a financially independent man who doesn't need money and/or doesn't really care about his career. If he did care about money, he would have altered his comedy skits in 2019.
Everything Is Rational In The End
From the examples above, it sure seems like everything is rational. We do things which seem wrong to others, but really makes perfect sense. The next time you start feeling pity for someone or questioning their actions because you feel morally superior, don't.
Eventually, everything comes back to center. If not, it's because things are fine just the way they are!
Recommendations If You Want To Build Wealth
1) Invest in real estate.
If you rationally want to get wealthier, the you rationally need to invest in assets like stocks and real estate for the long run. My favorite asset class for the average person to build wealth is real estate.
Check out Fundrise and their eREITs. eREITs give investors a way to diversify their real estate exposure with lower volatility compared to stocks. Income is completely passive and there is much less concentration risk. Fundrise manages over $3.5 billion and has over 400,000 investors.
If you are bullish on the demographic shift towards lower-cost and less densely populated areas of the country, check out CrowdStreet. CrowdStreet focuses on individual commercial real estate opportunities in 18-hour cities. Both platforms are free to sign up and explore.
I've personally invested $953,000 in private real estate to diversify my portfolio and earn more 100% passive income. Private real estate accounts for about 30% of my annual $380,000 in passive income.
2) Manage your wealth carefully.
Stay on top of your finances by signing up with Empower. Empower is a free online tool I've used since 2012 to help build wealth. Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 35 different accounts. Now I can just log into Personal Capital to see how my stock accounts are doing. I can easily track my net worth and spending as well.
Personal Capital's 401(k) Fee Analyzer tool is saving me over $1,700 a year in fees. Finally, there is a fantastic Retirement Planning Calculator to help you manage your financial future.
If you care about your personal finances, you would join 65,000 others and sign up for my free weekly newsletter. I recap the most important news posts, so you never miss a thing. If you don’t up, thats perfectly fine too! You already have financial freedom.