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  • Writer's pictureLeo Wang

Life, Experiences and Works

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

What is the meaning of life and why do we live? I think there are two levels of meaning in our lives:



1) As individuals, we live to experience all the wonderful experiences of being human. Ups and downs, love and hatred, these are all different life experiences and feelings. Experience every experience with your heart, even if it is a kind of pain, it is also a gift from God, because we only live once;
2) As a member of the human collective, another meaning of our lives is to leave works and influence the collective. Although we will not carry it with us when we die, we can leave a spiritual legacy to the human collective in our limited life, affecting modern people and our descendants.

Experiences and works, this is what life is all about. Only with a clear purpose can we live a good life. Our lives must be planned around these two purposes. In order to live a good life, achieve rich experiences and leave excellent works, we naturally cannot lack the support of "money". Money is one of the means of survival, but unfortunately, most people regard money as the purpose of life. . When I launch an in-depth analysis of my experience and works, we need to first understand what making money is, what financial freedom is, and how to make money in order to maximize the meaning of life.



There are several words in English about making money:


Wage, Salary, Pay, Bonus; Gain, Interest, Profit, Royalty, Tax

These words both seem to make us money, but the meanings behind them are vastly different. The ways to make money in the first line: physical labor, mental work, temporary work, extra bonuses; the ways to make money in the second line: buy low, sell high, collect interest, corporate profits, licensing fees (royalties), and collect taxes. The core difference between the two ways of making money is that the first line is not really making money, it is just exchanging time for money.


Some people's time is worthless and they can only pay back by manual labor that everyone knows how to do. The money earned from all the working hours in a day is only enough for food and clothing, not even enough to support a family. ;Other people are smarter and educated, and make money through mental work. They receive a monthly salary, and have some surplus besides food and clothing. At the end of the year, they may have an additional bonus of several months' salary. But this is not considered making money, it’s just that the unit price of time is a little higher. A lawyer who charges by the hour goes from earning US$100 per hour as a fresh graduate to US$5,000 per hour 20 years later. In essence, he is selling his time, but the unit price is increasing. Of course, if intellectual labor is recognized and the benefits brought by the increase in unit price are enough to achieve one's life goals and live happily, then that is not a bad idea. However, the cruel reality is that the unit price of many people’s time has not increased to a level that satisfies them. What’s even more “unfair” is that many white-collar workers with extremely high unit prices do not make as much money as the naughtiest friend in their childhood class from house flipping. Although making money is not the meaning of life, not having enough money does restrict many people from exploring more life experiences.


The core issue is emphasized again: Selling time is not making money. Even if the unit price of time is high, the essence will not change.


The real way to make money is what those English words in the second line represent. Compared with the first line, the second line has two characteristics:

1) Time investment and monetary return are not directly proportional. The relationship between the two is non-linear. There is a possibility that very little time is exchanged for extremely high returns, or even Maybe one transaction can satisfy a lifetime of financial freedom; 2) These ways of making money are risky, and you may make money, lose money, or work in vain. As the saying goes, high risks lead to high profits. Most ordinary people are risk-averse, so they have no chance of high profits. They even gave up the second line of making money and chose to sell their time to make a living.

Li Xiaolai once concluded that the true definition of financial freedom is:You don’t have to sell your time in order to live. This sentence also reveals that the essence of making money must not be "selling time".


Let's go back to the essence of life. The meaning of life is experience and works. If time is sold, how much time is left to experience life and create works? So when we first graduate and go to work, we have no choice but to sell our time, but it does not mean that we have to fall into this vicious circle of selling our time for the rest of our lives. The most miserable thing is that the money earned from selling all the time is only enough to survive (live). There is no surplus time to use to improve one's skills, thereby increasing one's "time unit price"; there is no surplus money to invest. own knowledge, thereby further increasing one's "time unit price"; coupled with the passive sabotage in the process of selling one's physical strength, not being proactive, and the burnout attitude leads to the skill level and salary level being forever stagnant, such a life is really It's sad, you can never get over it.


Time is life, and selling time is selling life. There is no essential difference from selling blood or kidneys. It is a vicious cycle that we must strive to escape in the first half of our lives. We must not indulge in it. Among them, they are ignorant and do not even think about making progress to enjoy themselves (the so-called contentment). There is no God in the world, and if there is, it is cruel and cold-blooded. The essence of the laws of nature (or the laws of God) is the survival of the fittest, and the winner is the king and the loser is the enemy. Nature knows no sympathy and pity.



For your efforts in the first half of your life, get a certain return by selling your time, and then use the remaining time and wages to invest in improving your "scarce ability" until one day you can rely on this Scarce ability to make money. The essence of this way of making money is to "get extremely high returns in very little time."


For example, writing best-selling and long-selling novels is a rare ability. Two people, A and B, also spent a year each writing a novel. A's novel sold 1 million copies, and B's novel only sold 50,000 copies, then the money earned by A and B is much different. This is the income difference brought about by scarce capabilities. But although scarce capabilities can make money, how much money you make is also related to the "business model." It is best for this business model to not set limits or caps on yourself.


For example, after 5 years of deliberate practice, B's writing level has caught up with A's. A and B each spent a year writing a new novel in a certain year. The sales volume is 2 million copies. At this time, a film producer approached A and B respectively and wanted to buy out the film and television adaptation rights of their novels for 10 million. At this time, A happily agreed and earned 10 million in additional income (bonus); B did not agree directly. He did not want a buyout cooperation model. He asked for a cooperation model of box office dividends, so the producer agreed to share 10% of the movie box office is given to him. How much money B can get from the box office revenue is still unknown. It may be very small, or it may be a big hit at the box office, and he will get 100 million from the 1 billion box office. He took the risk and naturally enjoyed the possibility of unlimited profits. I think B has mastered the real money-making model, because he has solved the problem of food and clothing by publishing novels, and can take greater risks. The reason for giving up the 10 million buyout fee is for a higher possibility of profit.


In fact, many actors have also begun to do this. They realize that sharing the movie box office is more imaginative than charging a fixed salary for filming, so they do not charge or charge very little money to sign contracts. Actors who make movies but participate in the box office share have unlimited "money" prospects.


A top hacker can work for a Fortune 500 company as a security director, earning an annual salary of tens of millions; he can also work as a security consultant for multiple non-competing companies at the same time, charging the company's Options and shares are used as rewards to gain greater profit potential. This is the first step to the real way of making money, making money by relying on scarce capabilities and an uncapped business model.



Actually, mastering scarce capabilities is not the ultimate way to make money, because after all, it still requires a certain amount of time investment, and it also involves risks. For example, the movie does not sell well. , risks such as corporate stocks falling instead of rising. So we can’t stop here, we must make further efforts to build scarce capabilities into an automatic money-making machine. Let the money-making machine help you make money. This is the second step to making money, the ultimate way to make money . If we don’t build a well-oiled money-making machine in our lives, then we are likely to be someone else’s money-making machine. From this literal understanding, the "surplus value exploitation" discussed in the early days of capitalism means that workers are the money-making machines for capitalists.


Themoney-making machine" I am referring to here is the second meaning of life - work. This work is in a broad sense, such as your science Invention patents, cartoon characters you design, music and songs you compose, famous paintings you draw, calligraphy you write, your artworks, novels you write, games you develop, trademarks you register and the companies you create Enterprises, these are money-making machines, and they are also your work. Use your efforts in the first half of your life to create a work that can help you make money, and in the second half of your life you can spend all your time on your favorite "experiences". What a perfect life.


The so-called money-making machine means that it can run without you. This means that you build a team, and this team is responsible for helping you monetize your scarce capabilities, instead of you personally "selling scarce capabilities at a high price." From this point of view, actors, sports stars, etc. can still only rely on scarce abilities to make money before retiring, and the dedication of time is essential. Once they take a back seat, let brokerage companies help manage their IP and other scarce resources, and invest in some companies or funds to become LPs. By monetizing your influence through investment, you can reach the second level: Making money while you sleep.



Therefore, in the first half of our lives we must devote ourselves to getting rid of the vicious cycle of selling time, practicing deliberately, acquiring scarce abilities, and creating a money-making machine with an uncapped business model. Achieve financial freedom. Then the rest of our lives can be spent experiencing the various experiences of being human.


With the above understanding, we can redesign our lives and grasp every key turning point:


1) From birth to before graduation and entering the society, we must complete basic learning, and at the same time, we must select some skills that we are interested in and deliberately practice and cultivate them as scarce abilities;
2) After graduation and entering the society, we begin the stage of selling time in exchange for survival resources, but this stage is very critical, do not neglect it; use as much spare time as possible and invest surplus wages in upgrading and building one's own cognition and scarce abilities. First increase the unit price, then obtain more time surplus and wage surplus, and then continue to invest in improving scarce abilities, and so on until the scarce abilities are developed. Never give up until you reach your goal, otherwise you will be trapped in a cycle of selling time throughout your life;
3) Once we acquire scarce abilities through deliberate practice and time accumulation, such as becoming scientists, artists, or mastering wealth management abilities, investment abilities, sales abilities, and business management abilities, etc., we can consider higher life pursuits, Maslow's self-realization;
4) Of course, mastering scarce capabilities is only the first stage of making money. If you are not satisfied with this, you cannot relax and continue to inject scarce capabilities into In a money-making machine that can run automatically, until the money-making machine starts to run automatically, you enter a new realm of life; (It is also this stage to invest in other funds and become a LP, because you don’t need to spend time on management like a GP)
5)With the money-making machine helping you make money in the world market 24 hours a day, your "work" mission will be completed, and your life will also be Completely free, all the time can be used to experience life.


Experiencing life, how should we experience life to be more meaningful?


Human life is just a collection of experiences of electrochemical reactions. All kinds of experiences can be explained as internal electrochemical reactions. Life will not bring you death, but death will not take you away. . Although they are all internal chemical reactions, experience can still be divided into passive experience and active experience. 1) Everything that can be bought with money is a passive experience; 2) All experiences that require deliberate practice, continuous advancement, and continuous improvement are active experiences. Watching movies, getting massages, buying famous brands, and buying luxury cars are all passive experiences; playing the piano, skiing, doing Mathematical Olympiads, playing Go, driving a racing car, starting a business, and doing charity are all active experiences.


The disadvantage of passive experience is that "the excitement and satisfaction decay very quickly". Even if you buy a private jet, the excitement will quickly decay to normal values; active experience But you can improve endlessly, from a beginner in Taekwondo to a black belt, from a piano beginner to level 9, conquer the world's major peaks, start a company and make it from scratch to hundreds of billions of dollars.


Active experience requires years of deliberate practice, but every step up is a joyful experience. Even if the experience of Taekwondo has reached its peak, we can still choose other active experiences such as saxophone, flying airplanes, extreme sports, etc. to conquer. Buying famous tea itself is a passive experience, but learning the tea ceremony and tasting tea with your heart is an active experience. The same goes for red wine. The sense of ritual can increase the pleasure of active experience. If there is no sense of ritual and no improvement in cognitive level, drinking famous wine and tea will not bring us any chemical reactions beyond expectations.



Active experience also has a huge advantage, that is, it can benefit you for life. For example, when we were children, we obtained a black belt in Taekwondo, a ninth-level piano, or a ninth-dan Go player through deliberate practice. Such achievements and skills can benefit us throughout our lives. Every time we use this skill, we will get the perfect feeling of flow, or at any time. Because this skill is praised and envied by others, it is a new and pleasant experience. The difference in cumulative pleasure gained from this experience is huge between a person who only reached level 9 piano at the age of 70 and a person who reached level 9 piano at the age of 10. Any active experience is better as early as possible, which is incomparable to any passive experience.


Passive experience must be implemented in stages and step by step. Reversing the order will make life very bad. For example, when a person is a child, he can gain a happy experience by buying a candy. When he is older, he is also very happy when he buys a toy. When he is older, he can buy new clothes or a new mobile phone. The cost of the purchase and the level of the product will gradually increase until he buys a car as an adult. Buy a house, buy a bag, buy luxury goods, buy a yacht, buy an airplane, etc. If a person has a luxurious life prematurely because his family is wealthy in childhood, then he will get much less pleasure from passive experiences as an adult than ordinary people. Even those who strive to make money through their own efforts should try their best to follow the strategy of step-by-step improvement in the field of passive experience. If you succeed once and buy a villa and an airplane right away, you will want to achieve better peaks in passive experience in the future. The experience is difficult. Many rich people are unhappy, and the main reason is that they have no pursuit (especially the pursuit of passive experience). I’ve bought everything I need to buy, what else can I buy? Buying a plane at the age of 20 and buying a plane at the age of 60 will give you about the same passive experience value in life. If you buy a plane at the age of 20, but later your business fails and you have to sell the plane, the experience will be even worse.


So we must spend most of our limited life on active experiences. That is the most meaningful arrangement for each individual.



Finally, I suggest young people to plan their time, experiences and works. When they are young, they should not spend too much time on passive experiences and only reserve 17%. Enough, passive experience is best in the process of continuous promotion, and each level up requires more purchase costs and financial strength; in order to earn, we'd better spend 50% of our time improving scarce abilities. And to build a money-making machine, this process is best completed through "active experience". Put in effort, practice deliberately, conquer a certain field, gain the rare ability to make money, and have a double harvest of life experience and money-making. Literary creation, film and television creation, music creation, game creation, business establishment, and scientific and technological inventions are all good active experiences that "can bring economic benefits" and are well worth investing time, energy and capital (early work earned money, and the surplus will be invested in these areas); of course, if you really feel that the scarce abilities or active experiences you have chosen are not exciting and satisfying enough, you can also arrange 33% of your time for purely non-profit purposes. Active experiences, such as playing tennis, running, singing, doing charity work, cooking and making delicious food, are all interesting experiences in life, life-enriching experiences, and should not be discarded.


The meaning of life is to live for yourself, live for your own experience, and live for your own mission (work).


Live well for yourself, which is the greatest contribution to the human collective!

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