What are you going to do after you’ve conquered the world?

May 2nd, 2013 - Posted by in Blog, Happier Life


I heard a discussion on the radio today about a conversation between Diogenes of Sinope (a greek philosopher who lived 400 before Christ) and Alexander the Great. I know what your’re thinking…what the f**k has this got to do with money saving. Well bear with, Diogenes was a clever old chap.

According to legend, Alexander the Great came to visit the Greek philosopher and Diogenes asked him “what are your plans?” Alexander answered that he planned to conquer and subjugate the world. Diogenes then asked “What next?” Alexander the Great said “After I have conquered the whole world, I am going to relax, just like you.”. Diogenes responded: “Why not save yourself a lot of trouble by relaxing and enjoying yourself now?”.

I said he was a clever old chap.

My take on this is two fold:

  1. If are working hard just to get a payoff at the end, when you might not be able to enjoy it, you are making the wrong choice, try and enjoy it now.
  2. If you are working hard because you enjoy it, then take your time and enjoy the journey. Once you have achieve your goal you might get frustred because you can no longer do what you enjoyed doing in the first place.

How do this apply to being savvier and living a happier and financial secure life? Well, think about what you will do when you achieve your goals, then consider do you really need to achieve the goal to enjoy yourself? For example, some people say to themselves “I need to work for 45 years to be able to save for my retirement, so I can play golf everyday”. Well if that’s your goal when not play more golf now? You might not live to retiirement age or you might not be physically able to play golf when you retire, so don’t put things off.

Tim Ferris, author of the Four Hour Work Week, is keen on the principle of “Mini-retirements”, e.g. instead working for 45 years, and retire at 65, take mini-retirements throughout your working life to do the things you really want to do. Sounds expensive, he claims to save money living this way. This is well worth a read, How to Take a Mini-Retirement: Tips and Tricks from Timothy Ferriss – a conversation with JD Roth of Getrichslowly fame.

Do the thing you want to do now!

  • Jon

    taking mini-retirements throughout your working life to do the things you really want to do sounds like a great plan, however it’s not easy to do ! I agree that Tim ferriss’s “How to Take a Mini-Retirement” is defenitely worth a read..

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