“The bond of the body is loosened by death, the bond of vice is loosened by money, but the bond of the soul is loosened by learning, and by experience, and by discipline.” – Epictetus
We are going to die. That is simply the cost of getting to experience this life. For some of us, death will free us from painful, debilitating, or otherwise awful conditions. For those of us experiencing these things at the end of life, death will feel like being freed from bonds. For the rest of us, we will be freed from the bonds of being alive but it may not necessarily be as evident. Many of us will fear it for the rest of our lives. Still, it will come.
Most of us carry some level of debt. Maybe we have student debt from our education or training, maybe we carry consumer debt in credit cards or car payments, or maybe we have mortgages to pay. We also have recurring bills for lights, water, internet, television, etc. These are what is meant by vice. These are external things that could trap us or cause us to feel trapped. If we discipline our spending, our saving, and our use of debt we may eventually find ourselves coming out from under the burden of debt. Or we may find ourselves slaves to it for the rest of our lives.
The most important thing we can do for ourselves is to prepare our minds, our souls, our spirits, or whatever we choose to call the part of us that is intrinsically us. We do this through learning and then more importantly, putting what we learn into action. We carry out these actions by utilizing discipline and learning more from the experiences we gain by putting what we have previously learned into action. It is only through learning, experience, and discipline that we will find the financial tools we will need to free ourselves from vice. It is only through learning, experience, and discipline that we will understand life enough to be prepared for death. It is only through learning, experience, and discipline that we will train ourselves to live good lives.
So let’s learn, let’s put our learning into action to gain experience, and let’s discipline ourselves into making this a lifelong pursuit.
virtus fortis vocat