Siddhartha- Financial Independence Lessons Learned - Sis

I recently listened to the classic book, Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. The book was originally published in 1922 in German. The story follows Siddhartha and his lifelong spiritual journey and self discovery. This story is full of perspective on love, learning, life's journey and discovery. It’s one of those books you can read ten times and seem to take away something new from it each time. When reflecting back on the book, there are several lessons that can be connected to one's financial journey in pursuit of independence.

Family blessings

Siddhartha came from a very loving family and was well respected in his community growing up. His dad was very wise and spiritual. He had great dreams of Siddhartha growing up to be a strong community leader. However, as a young teen, Siddhartha felt while he had learned many great lessons from his dad and community, there was more out in the world that he could only learn from experience. He told his dad that he would be leaving and setting out to study and learn from wise world leaders. His dad at first said no, that he must stay and be who he thought Siddhartha was destined to be. Siddhartha waited patiently, standing in one spot all night long while his dad laid restless in bed. Finally early in the morning Siddhartha’s dad said, go tell your mother goodbye and set on your journey. Siddhartha left that morning, never to return to his family.

It is important to respect and learn from the people around you, especially family, but at some point we have to set out on our own journey as well. We cannot be who people want us to be. We have to trust ourselves and stand firm, being the person we create for ourselves. Financial independence is about creating a life where others have little control. You get to dictate your job, pleasures and activities. You can take in the lessons from many wise people but you ultimately have to control your destiny. Society and the pressure for approval can lead down a path of unhappiness and the desire for more. It is up to you to stand strong and find your own path.

“ Opinions mean nothing; they may be beautiful or ugly, clever or foolish, anyone can embrace or reject them”

Monetary Shackles

After many years of wandering and learning Siddhartha finds himself missing something, craving to live life differently. He had lived a life of simplicity, traveling and taking from the generosity of other people but it was time for a change. Siddhartha fell in love with a woman while passing through a town. He had never experienced the touch of a woman before, he had deprived himself of all pleasures and worldly desires in search of transcendence. Well that woman said she would not be with a poor man so Siddhartha set out for money and status in order to be with the woman. In the process he found wine, gambling and other desires. He lost himself and no longer had a path to follow. There was always the desire for more, better and bigger. He only found happiness when he achieved balance.

This shows the importance of balance in life. You cannot deprive yourself all pleasures in life to reach financial independence. You also can get lost in petty pleasures forgetting your true goals. Balance is key, and when you go too far one way then it's ok to take a step back and reset. Life is a journey and there will always be new paths to take. The end goal in financial independence but everyone's path is unique.

“When someone seeks, then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means having a goal. But finding means being free, being open and having no goal”

Listening to the river within

At the end of the book Siddhartha became a ferryman along a small river, taking people from one side to the other. He found peace in the river. He appreciated his journey getting to this point but was content with the final destination. He learned from many great people but most of all he learned from living. The river taught him to listen to the voice within and own the choices he had made. At this point and only then does he find his transcendence.

We all have an internal river inside us. We can choose to be still and listen or to just keep passing over it day after day. We have to learn from life, growing each day. Our experience is what make us. Financial independence is not a final destination. You will not simply wake up one day having achieved it. It is a mindset, a way of living and lifestyle.

“ I shall no longer be instructed by the Yoga Veda or the Aharva Veda, or the ascetics, or any other doctrine whatsoever. I shall learn from myself, be a pupil of myself, I shall get to know myself, the mystery of Siddhartha.” He looked around as if he were seeing the world for the first time”

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