Frugality lowers entropy, and that supports, in the long run, financial resilience. Now, I’ve said. Two big words in one sentence. I mean, one big word, “frugality”, and a ginarmous concept, “financial resilience”.
Let’s try to take them one at a time.
Frugality is the skill of living simple, without going overboard, but without going under the board either. It’s not only living within one’s means – as these means can be, at times, incredibly generous – but mostly living with decency, without spending recklessly, or overindulging in food, pleasures or stimulants.
If you think about that, frugality is the opposite of what people understand by “making money”. Most of the time, we equate “making money” with getting high, both figuratively and practically. Higher than other people, from a social standpoint, and feeling higher, utterly joyful, ecstatic.
Alas, this perspective is toxic. It contains in itself the very seed of its demise. Because what goes up, must go down. What gets high, will hit the ground sooner or later. I know, because I’ve been there and I experienced both the thrill and the despair.
I’ve followed the recipe for making money for years, and, eventually, I’ve been lucky enough to “make it” once in this lifetime. What followed was, oh, so predictable, but because I thought “I made it”, I couldn’t see it. In very gentle words, it was brutal. The difference between the highs and the lows was painful.
And here comes into play the “entropy” concept. For those of you having trouble recalling what entropy is, let’s say it is a measure of uncertainty or randomness. The bigger the entropy, the more possibility for random events we get – or, in layman terms, we get more chaos. Conversely, when the entropy is low, we get less chaos.
So, if we are at a certain level in life, and we shoot for something that is very, very different than our current status – like “getting filthy rich” – we are increasing entropy. The odds of such a change are low, so the entropy, the amount of uncertainty that we’re aiming for, is high. Getting rich would be an almost random event, a “lucky hit”.
Are you still with me? I know these things may get confusing, that’s why I’m asking.
Ok, so moving forward.
On the other side, if we’re not aiming for drastic changes in our lifestyle, by maintaining a frugal way of living, we lower the entropy. We will have less possibilities for random events (including losing all the money we made, and then some, for instance). So, the flatter the line of our lifestyle, the more predictable it gets.
See where I’m going with this? Yeap, that’s it.
Financial resilience, which is the ability to keep a steady income, regardless of the surrounding context, is much more possible in a low entropy environment, where there’s less unpredictable stuff floating around.
So, not only you will live a more balanced life all together, by being frugal, but you will increase your odds to become financially resilient.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying having a shitload of money is something that we need to avoid, on the contrary. I’m saying that we should live in such a way that a shitload of money won’t make a big difference in our lives.
The boat should be steady no matter if we sail on high, or low tides.