Before I get to today’s post, I have an announcement to make. I am now self-hosted! This is something that I have been thinking about since starting the blog. I decided to make a leap to do so. I am still learning WordPress and all the options available with self-hosting. There is so much to learn. I thank you for your patience with me as I work on improving my site. Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated. Now onto the post.
As I have mentioned in a previous post, one of the many changes I have made on my journey into finance is that I read a lot more than I used to. Not only books on finance, but books that make me think about the world and about my life. I also read many online articles, including articles that discuss books worth reading. One book that I recently finished (and that I learned about in an online article) was “Everything is Obvious” by Duncan J. Watts.
This book is about a study of commonsense reasoning and how it fails us. Although this is not a book on finance, the ideas discussed within can certainly be applied. Also, as I had mentioned in my post about how reading can impact your finances, the simple act of reading, no matter what the topic, can open your eyes to new worlds and make you re-think your own.
My post today is based on one part of a sentence from “Everything is Obvious”:
“…it may not matter much that commonsense reasoning leads us to think that we have understood the cause of something when in fact we have only described it…”
In my finance-brain, I relate this to how we think about money sometimes. Since more than 75% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck (according to BankRate.com), it is hard to break the cycle and we, as a society, accept this as normal. When I read this line, I immediately thought of how we use this same idea for our finances. We tend to think that we are broke because we do not have any money. Or we think that we are well off because we have lots of money and nice things. I used to think this same way.
The reasoning I see now, is that in order to be successful, financially or otherwise, you need to be have a plan. We may see a financially well off person and think “she is well off because she has a great career with a large salary”. But we tend not to think about the journey that this person took to get there. If you stand back and think about it, everything IS obvious once we know the fully story. We tell ourselves that we understand a person is well off because of what they have. The truth is, we have only described one small aspect of that person. They are well off because of what they have done. As the cliché goes, it’s not about the finish, it’s about the journey.
I could go on and on about the things that this book made me re-think. If you are looking for a new book to read, I strongly suggest “Everything is Obvious” by Duncan J. Watts. Read it with an open mind and as you turn the pages, relate it to your life. It is amazing what you may discover about yourself by reading the words of someone you never met.
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