“I would have you reach the point where you possess wealth dauntlessly; this can be accomplished only by persuading yourself that you can live happily without it, and by regarding riches always as likely to elude you.” – Seneca
It’s not the wealth we have, it’s not the luxuries we enjoy, and it’s not the lifestyle we are accustomed to that is going to create problems for us in life. It is the inability to live without these things if our situation demands it that will make us miserable should things change.
Right now, we are accustomed to a certain way of living. If we can’t imagine ourselves being willing to change that way of living in for a more meager existence and still maintaining our current level of happiness, we have ourselves a problem.
It is a problem because if we can’t live without it, we have allowed luxuries to become necessary and if our fortunes change and we can no longer afford the lifestyle we have allowed ourselves to become accustomed to, we are going to be miserable.
Instead, if we treat the good fortune we have right now as fleeting, outside our control and something we should enjoy because it might very well leave us one day we will be in a much better position if it ever does. We will be prepared.
Even better than that, if we know that we can live happily without our current level of luxury and an opportunity to make our own lives dramatically better comes along but requires us to make some short term sacrifices, we aren’t going to miss out because we aren’t sure if we can live with less.
We already know we can.
virtus fortis vocat