Keep Punching, Apollo!
It’s a bright, sunny Monday here in Cebu.
Good morning to you!
After a delightful weekend spent with the family, I’ve decided to open this week’s edition of the Rude on a decidedly optimistic note.
Stifle your snorts for a moment, and let me explain.
The Doctor is Not In
You may remember Dr. Pangloss from Voltaire’s Candide. Voltaire created him to lampoon Gottfried Leibniz and his optimistic followers.
Pangloss was a pedantic, overly sanguine chap who’d often exclaim, “All is for the best, in the best of all possible worlds.”
I remind you of this because what follows is not some Panglossian exposition on how everything is going well in the world, and we just need to look at it all differently.
Far from it. In fact, the world’s damn near on fire, and things are pretty scary out there.
Formerly free countries, like New Zealand and Australia, have reverted to collectivist authoritarianism, which I find utterly aberrant, abhorrent, and asinine.
A bunch of incompetents runs the United States. The United Kingdom is a more minor mess run by a bunch of incompetents.
The European Union doesn’t know which direction it wants to go in at the moment.
The German elections are hardly conclusive in replacing Frau Merkel. Look at this map below, courtesy of The Guardian. Does this look like one country to you?
But with all this stuff happening around you, I just want to tell you one thing: Keep punching, Apollo.
A Sly Look at Things
Sylvester Stallone said that famous quote to Carl Weathers in their third fight that ended Rocky III and left us with that great Leroy Neiman picture at the movie’s end.
It’s a great reminder about what to do in life.
Watch this YouTube video, where Stallone in Rocky Balboa is talking to his son about keep moving forward.
It’s brilliant. And that’s what we need to keep doing ourselves as individuals in this collective madness.
I don’t want to sound like a brainless cheerleader, but there is something that I need to tell you.
You’ve done far more good in your life than bad. You have done far more right in your life than wrong.
The fact that you’re reading something like this newsletter, along with all the other newsletters you’re reading to improve your financial position and happiness, attests to the fact that you are moving forward.
But I think the important thing is not just about moving forward. It’s about really genuinely appreciating your efforts thus far in your lives.
I can say without a doubt that all of the Rude readers who have taken the time to write in have been top-quality individuals, and I’m thrilled to know them.
Cue the Record Scratching
With all this happiness around, I’d like to present to you Arthur Schopenhauer, the most miserable philosopher ever.
I adore him for the same reason we value our opposites. I love being optimistic and happy, but I need that friend to anchor me to earth.
Someone once said that your best advisors are dead.
Uncle Artie’s been long gone. So here are some of Schopenhauer’s rules for happiness that I think apply to Rude Readers.
I’m not going to give you all of them, just the relevant ones.
- Don’t crave so many possessions. As old Artie once said, “Wealth is like seawater. The more you drink, the thirstier you get.” Sure, get that Rolex you always wanted. Or the chalet in Switzerland that’ll be your “forever house.” But measure your desires, and it’ll be easier to manage them.
- Avoid illusions. When the illusions disappear, and the reality remains, that’s when it hits hardest. Try to take things as they are. As we get older, we think we can foresee the future better. I find the opposite.
- Assume your reality. Live with what you have and not what you pretend. I always thought “Fake it till you make it” was awful advice. It’s lunacy in an older person.
- Limit the radius of your action. This is similar to Warren Buffet’s circle of competence. I think if you’re reading the internet, you get a new get rich quick scheme every minute. Then you get confused, and you’re juggling 50 balls in the air.
Lord knows I’ve done it too many times. Stop it. Concentrate on the one or two things that are going to move the needle for you. Usually, those are things that play to your strengths.
- Use your imagination. When fate doesn’t answer the way you want her to, you have to think of new ways of getting around her and making your own path. As Hannibal once said, “We must either find a way or make one.” It’s one of my all-time favorite quotes.
- Don’t regret getting older. Sure, you can’t run 400 meters in under 53 seconds anymore, but that doesn’t mean you’re useless. Enjoy all the experience you’ve acquired. Then, wield it to your advantage.
- Do not sacrifice your health for anything or anyone. Remember, a healthy pauper is better than a sick king. Your health is nine-tenths of your happiness.
So get in shape, get healthy, get some sun, and feel better. You’ll perform better, that’s for sure!
- When something happens, do not torture yourself into thinking it could have been otherwise. This rhymes with Jordan Peterson’s warning that you should never blame yourself for bad things happening in your life.
Sometimes shit happens. It’s not your fault.
Of course, you’re left to deal with it. But blaming yourself for something that isn’t your fault is the worst thing you could do to your psyche.
Don’t do it.
I hope Uncle Artie helped you out today. I just want you to know that even though the outside looks a bit dire, you are a shining light on the inside.
Keep going. Keep punching, Apollo.
All the best,