I wrote this for myself earlier today. I’m working through some issues with my wife now, and I need to constantly re-center myself, remind myself what my frame is.
I realized that the more wrapped up I become in what I could lose - my wife, my source of love and affection, my financial security - the more I lapse into her frame.
The more centered I become in my own agency in the world - the more I focus on what will not change, and what’s possible - the stronger my frame becomes.
I’m always working on internalizing these things, and I thought some people might get value from it.
I passed by a construction site on my way to work this morning.
I noticed a man walking - helmet, big toolbelt, thick boots, cigar - almost the stereotypical “gruff construction guy.” He was wearing a sleeveless t-shirt with huge words printed on it:
“MONEY OVER EVERYTHING.”
My initial reaction was to roll my eyes, but I kept thinking about him.
To me, it seems clear money shouldn’t be anyone’s primary goal in life. It isn’t correlated with happiness, and I find it hard to believe that anyone would willingly opt for a future filled with monetary wealth if it, for example, meant living alone and miserable forever.
So why did this guy seemingly feel the other way?
If I had my guess, it’s because he didn’t have much money - either now, or while he was growing up. He felt that absence - it was a powerful force in his life. There isn’t enough. You need to get more.
Now, I didn’t grow up rich, but I know enough now to realize that our family was better off than most. We had a nice house in a quiet town, enough food, enough clothes, took a simple vacation every year. It all seemed normal at the time, but that probably puts us in the top 1% of the world in terms of income.
The absence of money wasn’t an issue. Sure, I’d be told I couldn’t have something or other - couldn’t get my own car, couldn’t get those shoes, couldn’t insert stupid thing a kid wants - but we never lacked. There’s a difference.
And because I never felt the scarcity of money, I internalized the fact that money would always be available. Even when I grew up, and knew for a fact that money was not always available, I never doubted I’d be able to make more if I needed it.
Things we haven’t directly experienced are much less vivid in our mind’s eye. I’d never felt hopelessness, or the crush of true poverty - the direct knowledge that I needed more than I had and wouldn’t be able to make it up.
To me, money wasn’t - and isn’t - a big deal. I need more, I make more. If I lose it all tomorrow, I’ll be hurt, depressed, frustrated - but I know I’ll rebuild. And so money has no hold over me.
For Construction Guy, there’s never enough money. He knows that. And so Construction Guy will do whatever he needs to do to get more, and money has a hold over him.
To turn this to MRP, what’s the root cause of so much of the suffering on here? Hell, what’s the root cause of MY suffering?
The dead bedrooms, the late-night fights, the lack of compassion and warmth, the feeling of being disrespected…
If you post in here, sooner or later you’ll be told: “Oneitis.” “No abundance.”
What the really means is that you’ve internalized the fact that there is not enough female affection in the world.
ONLY your wife can love you.
ONLY your wife will have sex with you.
ONLY your wife can show you compassion.
ONLY your wife can show you the respect you crave.
You’ve gone your whole life thinking female affection was hard to get, difficult to find, that you had to put in incredible effort, HERCULEAN efforts, to get even the slightest hint of it. Female affection, to you, is rare - the equivalent of digging a diamond out of the fucking earth with your bare hands.
When it happens, you hold on to it. You can’t lose it. You’ll do anything to keep it.
It’s just a fact of this life we all share that the harder you hold on to something, the more it slips away. You squeeze and squeeze your previous diamond until you reduce it to dust and it slips through your fingertips.
You do everything for your wife. You do anything for your wife. You abandon your friends, your interests, your passions, your mission. You stay at home, eat ice cream together, never leave her side, and get fat, complacent, weak, and boring.
And when the passion dries up, and the connection dries up, and the sex dries up, you panic - because you know there isn’t enough female affection in the world. You know that, the same way Construction Guy knows there isn’t enough money. And you do what all of us do: double down, try harder, plow ahead, all the while making everything worse.
So how do you stop?
If a lack of abundance - and the inner, felt reality of SCARCITY, is what’s at the root of our suffering...how do we reverse it? How do we feel abundance if it’s never come easily?
There are two ways:
Lift, STFU, read the sidebar, practice game, connect with your passions. What does this do? It makes you more attractive. As you grow more attractive, you grow more confident. As you grow more confident, you grow more attractive….a virtuous cycle that changes your entire worldview, if you put in the work.
The reason everyone here says to “slow down” and not “go rambo” is because you need to internalize these changes for them to be real, for them to work...and you only do that by noticing how the world reacts to you. It isn’t that you use some cool new “trick” on your wife and she gets all hot and bothered; it’s those moments when you notice the looks in the street, when your boss respects you more, when you just feel more “yourself,” more comfortable in your own skin…
...Real evidence, in the real world. “Hey, this is working.” And your conception of who you are, and what you can expect, shifts.
I have only just started to feel this kind of abundance. And it only started when I noticed a few women make eye contact, look quickly down, and bite their lips. I thought, “ahhhhhh. OK. I get it.” I realized, for the first time, that female affection was abundant in the world, if I wanted to pursue it.
And suddenly, abundance is not an idea - it’s a fact. I knew it to be true. You can’t rush, or fake, that moment.
There’s another way you can feel abundance, and that’s through…
- Acknowledgement of the transience of all desires.
A bit woo-woo, maybe. But…
You have incredible inner strength within you. You are the recipient of millions of years of human evolution. The tools the universe has given you - your hands, your eyes, your brain, with it’s millions upon millions of neurons and inter-connected electrical signals - these are the tools of the adaptive species.
We’re not the strongest, nor are we the fastest. We don’t have claws or fangs. We didn’t get wings.
We got adaptibility. Put us in the desert - we form packs to run the big mammals to death.
Put us in the arctic - we learn to hunt through the ice using only a spear.
Put us in the forest - we learn to camouflage and set traps for creatures far more nimble than us.
Anywhere we go - we adapt. We survive. We THRIVE.
It is the same with you. You have the capacity, the inner strength, to survive despite any degradation, any attack, and loss. You have the power to not just survive but THRIVE despite anything the world throws at you.
I started reading about the holocaust recently, mostly because I was too much in my own head, wrapped up in my own problems. My wife was angry, refusing sex, not speaking to me...and it hurt. And I was upset.
And then I would turn the page and read about how prisoners at a concentration camp would need to carry huge metal blocks back and forth, using only a few wooden planks to hold them on their shoulders. How getting the right partner cold mean life or death - someone much taller than you would result in your end being heavier, and trudging through the snow for too long with a too heavy a weight would mean almost certain death.
But the author of that book (Primo Levy, Is This a Man) - he lived. And he thrived. He wrote books that impacted the world...that impacted me, many years later.
So if your wife won’t fuck you? You can handle it.
If you get divorced? You can handle it.
If you lose everything - everything - you can handle it.
Our hurts, and our suffering, is temporary. Our ability to adapt means that very few shitty situations are permanent.
And meanwhile - the world, this life, is infinitely beautiful.
That’s another kind of abundance - the kind that acknowledges that you don’t truly need anything beyond your basic subsistence. And while scarcity isn’t fun, or enjoyable, it also isn’t permanent.