China 2004, I was sitting across a table from the Vice President of the multi-million dollar fireworks company I worked for. We had just finished satisfying our most carnal desires and had settled in for brandy and a cigar. Before this journey, it was my belief that this gentleman was not fond of me. Some years prior, I had stated my opinion of errors I had noted with the company to him. He did not seem to take my criticism well at that time. I began questioning him as to why he had asked me to take this trip, in consideration of my harsh critique.
He began rambling about his brother’s (his brother owns the company) sons and that they would surely run the company into the ground when they inherit it. He talked about how his brother had given and continued to give them anything and everything they wanted. At this point, I wondered if this was all the brandy talking, I soon found out it was not. He said, “They just aren’t hungry!” He began telling me of all kinds of underhanded and tactical things that his brother and he had employed to get to where they are today. He then said, “We were hungry, you’ve got to be hungry or your perspective dulls.” His insistence was repeatedly on this ‘hunger’ giving a person an edge. The hunger motivated them, forcing them to be creative and struggle towards over-coming every obstacle they cross.
He then made it known to me, “This is why you were selected; you’re hungry. I knew from the moment you opened your mouth that day; your interests were not in vulgarly complaining about our methods. You were seeking improvement which would benefit YOU, and just as much as it did us. This is what my nephews lack and what is vital for ANYTHING to succeed and grow.” From there our conversations shifted from serious to more of what we would try next, since we could have anything we wanted.
That year, I received over $150 dollars a week in raise and a considerable amount of attention within the company. For the next few years, I spent a lot of time flying back and forth between China, Corporate, and business related conventions. Every year, I received a considerable amount of increase in salary. Then suddenly it stopped, no longer was I being groomed to be at the top of this company. What had changed?
One evening, as I set at home pondering all of this, I realized I was no longer hungry. I looked around at all the toys and gizmos. I saw the 500 an ounce bag of ‘dro’ and the expensive bottle of liquor. All the things, I just had to have to keep up with the Jones’. This was a particularly bad time in my life; my obsession with material gain had manifested a monster of problems, which I could not seem to fix. My son’s mother and I were on the out. It was any day coming she would be leaving and with my son. So many of our arguments were because I would spend my time ‘making money’ and she felt I had lost sight of what was important.
To be fair to myself, I honestly sought to better the lives of our family. I had however become too comfortable. Understand that I am not placing this as the sole reason for the complexities of problems I was facing, but it WAS a dominant Influence of them. Tsun Tzu advocated that an animal (or man) backed into a corner, would fight fiercely for his life and surmount unthinkable feats. I had forgotten this. So much of my time spent investing in ventures, which I only half-heartedly wished to succeed, that I was blind to the things, which surely make men great.
This is why I choose a minimalist lifestyle. I keep only the things, which matter the most to me and indulge only in the things, which I see a more developed gain. I threw away or gave away everything which I had no need for in my life. In my eyes, they were mere symbols of laziness and comfort, lulling me back into a sediment condition.
When asked, “Why people choose to live a life of wanting for nothing”….
I answer, “”When the only thing you are, are the social status symbols you’ve gathered, it speaks volumes in itself about how empty and useless you’ve become.” I will further this by saying “In a world full of gluttonous sheep, too busy chasing the next high, feeling, fad, and Ithing (IE.. IPhone) to realize they are enslaved by it. I am YOUR Adversary!”