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Life is not a game

This is a guest post from Michael Laurence. Previously at Get Rich Slowly, Michael has shared his thoughts on investment risk and what happens when more money makes you miserable.

You hear the phrase “the game of life” all the time.

There are books on Amazon instructing us on how to win at the “game of life”. Hell, Milton Bradley’s “The Game of Life” from 1860 — still sold today — was the first popular board game in the United States.

In the Real World, the game of life’s rules and criteria for success are vague and never explicitly stated. But we all know what they are. To win, you need:

  • money (or, more accurately, conspicuous consumption)
  • physical attractiveness
  • kids who go to great schools and are athletically successful
  • and so on

“The game of life” has become more than a metaphor. Many people — obsessed with their status, career, or where their kids go to school — have internalized this idea and literally view their life not as something to enjoy, but as a competition to be won.

This is a tragedy. Life is note a game.

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This week I’m in Orlando for Fincon, the annual gathering of folks who work at the intersection of money and media. As a result, I haven’t had time to do all of the things I normally do during a week. I haven’t been reading or writing about money. Instead, I’ve done a lot of chatting with colleagues.

We’ve been coming together at Fincon since 2011. At first, we were nearly all strangers to each other. Today, many of these people are my closest friends — but they’re friends I see in person only once or twice each year. I value every moment I get to spend with them.

On Tuesday, for instance, a group of us booked a private VIP tour through the Disney theme parks. We had a blast. I mean, look at this wretched hive of scum and villainy…

Our tour group at Disney

Chat with other money nerds this week has given me additional clarity about the future direction of Get Rich Slowly — on the web, on YouTube, and in the email newsletter.

You see, most money bloggers (and podcasters and YouTube creators) are in it for the money. That’s fine. I have no problem with that. But that’s not me.

Yes, I would very much like to earn income from the work that I do, but I’m in the fortunate position that I don’t need to earn that income today. I had a windfall from the site thirteen years ago, which allows me to pursue this as a passion project

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