In Search for Wealth Irrelevance

Hacker News - Wed Sep 15 01:04

Propose that you wish to get a doctorate in Philosophy, would cost about $98,000 in the US (according to the first blurb I saw on Google) and more for prerequisite education. You might have a scholarship, trust fund from family, or picked up three jobs and a loan because you're serious, but the idea is, it's a costly goal to afford.

What relationship exists between your goal and wealth? Ignoring arguments of how much education should cost, the reality is that most dreams can be expensive. Whether buying a house, starting a studio, or joining a golf club, it can be inaccessible because of a price tag, but can they be reframed not to be? What transformation does it take for goals to depend on determination rather than pocket depth?

What if, instead of a doctorate, you could be satisfied with simply learning as much Philosophy as you can. Studying free resources, discussing with friends, and making videos, and writing online. After enough time, and if you build an audience, you might be able even to teach as a Professor would.

I went to the library and did a small experiment; what could I do if I were to start with nearly nothing? Ignoring my library card sitting in my pocket, I went up to the librarian and asked for access to the public computer. She handed me an access code to use, and I sat at one of the workstations and logged in. Using the default browser, I now had access to free resources like FreeCodeCamp or Open Source Society University to learn anything I needed. I could make an email account for free and use that to make accounts elsewhere. You can't install anything on a public computer, but sites like Replit provide an online IDE to create almost anything. You can make a GitHub account to manage your code, contribute to others, even host projects thanks to GitHub Pages. You can make a free Heroku account and have a backend server to build on. Everything needed for success, although not perfect, was there. Nothing stops you from trying to start a small business, applying for software jobs, or making silly games as long as you're determined to make the most of what you have rather than feeling paralyzed at what you don't.

But what better motivation than something you can't afford? For many, this may work, but you might find that it has the opposite effect. The pursuit of wealth can overshadow what you consider essential, like enjoying your craft. Use the lack of capital as a constraint to innovate. Reframe goals so that wealth isn't an obstacle to progress, nor the end goal, but as a natural product of your ongoing success.