This blog post is part of a regular series where I answer TableTopics questions. What's in it for you? Reading this answer may spark a new idea, opinion or emotion. If this happens I would love to hear about it in the comments!!!
While I find it difficult to pinpoint one thing as the most sensible thing I’ve ever heard someone say, there is a statement by Kevin Kelly which strikes a deep chord in me.
If you’re not familiar with Kevin Kelly, he's a fascinating individual. He co-founded Wired magazine, as well as the All Species Foundation which aims to catalogue and identify every living species on earth. Among numerous other achievements, he is also investigating how to revive extinct species such as the Wooly Mammoth!
According to Tim Ferriss, Kevin Kelly is likely the most interesting person alive. So when Kevin says something like the quote above, I take notice.
But why do I think it’s the most sensible thing I’ve ever heard? Well, we live in a world that revolves around money. As one of my friends told me, “the sun rises for free, everything else you have to pay for.” Our society puts people with money on a pedestal, and it’s obvious that making and accumulating a lot of money are core cultural values.
For me, Kevin Kelly's statement is so sensible because it says something that I believe most people know to be true, yet advocates a different way of life to the one many of us live.
Accumulating money is put above everything else. Our health and the natural world are sacrificed for money. And the one thing we can never get back, our time, is often the first thing we sacrifice for money.
Now I completely agree that everyone needs a base level of money in order to live happy, stress free lives. Having a family you can’t afford to feed is a horrible situation that far too many people in this world find themselves. And I myself do strive to achieve a certain level of financial well-being. However I know that if I sacrifice too much time, or too many experiences for the accumulation of money, then I won’t be a happy person who is best able to positively contribute to the world.
Kevin Kelly is a man who has had many dinners with Billionaires. He himself is likely worth many millions. And yet he is crystal clear that money is absolutely not the most important thing that people should strive to have.
And this is something I’ve both personally experienced, and heard from countless other people.
Those with who have friends that care about them, and time to do things that they find important, are always the happiest people.
Lastly, I want to be clear that I don’t think having a job and making money from it disqualifies you from what Kevin Kelly is advocating. Working at a job where you spend your time doing something that you feel is important is extremely noble. As is having lots of money which you invest into philanthropic causes.
Even if neither of these describes you, it doesn't mean that the way you live your life is inferior to anyone else's.
The point is that the single minded pursuit of money is insane when time and friends are so much more beneficial to the human soul.
For the full list of questions + answers go to this post: 365 TableTopics Questions + Answers