The Man Who Desired Gold

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I’ve decided to tackle this book in the following way: read the chapter, highlight/take notes while reading the chapter, read Nate’s e-mail and compare.

This chapter introduces us to Bansir, a chariot maker and his friend Kobbi, who end up in a discussion about their financial situations.

It’s interesting to see some of the things that he picks up on, that I glazed over or that I put focus on. For starters, we interpreted Bansir’s situation slightly different. I began by interpreting the situation as Bansir being a little lazy and distracted, unable to finish the work he needed to do to make his coin. I thought this laziness would be the reason for his lean purse. He’s also described as being fat. I beat myself up over that all the time – that’s how I feel about myself. It appears that, in hindsight, I might have replaced my thoughts about Bansir with my own thoughts about me.

Nate seems to have pegged Bensir as more distracted and mentally plagued by the thought that even if he does work, it doesn’t amount to much. After all, no matter how hard he works on the chariot, he’s usually left with very little at the end. His friend interprets this as Bansir having so much extra that he can afford to sit around and waste time.

Bansir seems to be in a similar situation to myself. It doesn’t appear that he’s doing poorly for himself and his family, he just isn’t getting them (or himself) ahead. he’s also plagued by the idea that his children will suffer the same fate – the mental anguish of feeling like you’re spinning your wheels but never going anywhere.

On the days when I’m beating myself up over everything, that is one consistent thought that enters my mind: “do I want this feeling for my children?” I don’t. The reality is though, as much as I don’t want it for them, I haven’t been living the life that helps them get out of it. If I can’t get past this, how will I teach them to do the same?

Like Bansir, I’ve sat on the wall and experimented with ideas, but rarely pulled the trigger. If I pulled the trigger, I only ever took one shot. If I missed, I let it fizzle. This blog is a good reminder of that. Lots of good intention with little action.

Have I ever felt enslaved by my daily life? Of course. My life has been on auto-pilot repeat for a long time. Some minor changes here or there, but the underlying problem is still there: I have ideas and I don’t execute. I give myself the same excuses and find any reason to ignore doing what I should be doing.

Do I feel I am rewarded fairly for the work I put in? If anything, I feel like I’ve been over-rewarded because I feel like I’ve not really put in the work that life requires of me. I’m not dirt poor, my health isn’t falling apart (regardless of how many times I curse myself for still being fat), my kids love me, I have a wonderful wife, a loving family and a stable job during a pandemic. Maybe I just have a high standard for what I think you should have to do to have what I have. Maybe that’s a problem – I just spend too much time comparing myself with others.

That, or like Bansir thinks, I’ve just spent too much time trying to find shortcuts for everything, rather than just buckling down and getting to work.

Nate asks us to consider the following: How does your future look? Promising? Stagnant? Declining? The answer is that I don’t know. Maybe a little bit of it all as it stands today. I’d have to lean on promising though – I always want to bet on me. As Kobbi says to Bansir:

“To that purpose was devoted your best endeavors. Therefore, at it thou didst succeed. I strove to become a skillful lyre player. And, at it I did succeed. In those things toward which we exerted our best endeavors we succeeded.”

I know that’s true for me. If I give it my all, 100%, it always works out for me in the end. I’ve gotten promotions, lost weight, got strong, paid off debt and started a family. By starting this blog back up, by taking this reading seriously, by reaching out to Nate to state my intentions – I’ve bet on me again. I’ve decided that I’m worth betting on again and that’s a good reason to start being a little more positive.

Bansir and Kobbi decide to find their wealthy friend to teach them about wealth. Nate knows more than I, so I’ve found someone who can help me. Like Bansir and Kobbi appear to be doing, it’s time I got serious about being wealthy.

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