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Matt Ventre


10 Reframes to Get You Through Economic Uncertainty

The best things in the world were created during the hardest times.

Be the creator. Change the world.

But, first, get your mind right.


    1. Money is Energy

    Money isn't "real" - it's a placeholder for energy and attention (which is like time, but attention requires time and the time spent doing something you otherwise paid for either substitutes your own attention so you can spend it on other stuff or allows you to pay attention to things that interest you like a movie or an amusement park ride, etc.).

    If you do a thing that saves someone else some energy they would have needed to do that thing, they will give you money for it.

    If you do a thing that gets someone's attention or frees up their attention for something else in a meaningful way, they will give you money for it.

    Naval Ravikant calls it an "IOU" - this is roughly the concept.

    2. Money is functionally infinite

    The Fed reminds us of this periodically when they create it out of thin air.

    You might think money is a zero-sum game, but it's not.

    There is enough money in the world for everybody to have everything they need.

    The trick is getting it and making sure the right people are moving it around where it's needed.

    3. If one or two people had all the money in the world, it would lose 100% of its value overnight

    Take greed to its logical extreme and you find that once a single person or small group owns all of the money in the world, the money is no longer valuable because the world's liquidity and velocity of money goes to 0.

    That's when other forms of value take over (*cough* crypto).

    4. Money does not equal "wealth"

    If one or two people controlled all the wealth in the world, we would be under an extreme alien dictatorship and money would also have no value overnight. But, this is not realistic under current circumstances. I'm just pointing out that money doesn't equal wealth in this context.

    5. Wealth is relative

    This seems obvious, and you hear it all the time, but if you believe it then you should be able to stay happy and motivated with wealth that is relatively small compared to people you may think are "on top".

    6. The market still works where it needs to

    Let's not pretend that the market of goods and services is 100% unimpeded by corruption or heavy-handed regulation, but where it needs to work it works.

    Yes, eggs and berries and milk and wood and all those consumer goods are getting hammered by inflation *now*.

    And it's easy to think, "Well, prices only go up, so this is just prices going up fast and then they'll stay here forever."

    Not really. Prices go up until the cost of inputs and overhead drops and there is a balanced amount of dollars competing for a surplus of goods (energy prices, fertilizer, labor through automation, etc.). Sure, if all the providers of a good collude to keep prices artificially high, they your eggs will always be $5 a dozen, but the second one vendor breaks rank and offers the product at a lower price, they win the market.

    And the rest have to follow to remain competitive.

    Prices "normalize" again.

    7. People still need "stuff" in a recession

    Beyond basic goods and services, people still need to be entertained, educated, inebriated, and stimulated.

    It's never been easier to get into a service area that offers respite to an ailing mind.

    8. People still need "stuff" in a depression

    My grandmother knit sweaters during the Great Depression in NYC and sold them for a nickel a piece.

    Is that a coveted profession? Nope. Did people still need sweaters? Yep. Did they still have to pay for that good? Of course. She found a need and filled it. They made it through.

    I'm here as proof.

    9. Energy out is energy returned

    Energy is also money, but that is like a distilled form of energy that you can transfer immediately as needed. It's nice to be able to do it (like donating to a charity, where the people take your money and then use it to perform work on your behalf with their own energy and attention).

    But, spend your actual physical energy: Build the shelter. Deliver the meal. Dig the ditch. Clean up the trash. Teach the child.

    Sweat a little for someone else and see what comes back around.

    10. You're not your "number"

    You're a smelly space ape trying to make the most of your time on this verdant wet rock.

    If your "number" goes to $0 and your heart is still beating, you're still winning.

    Everything about your mind and spirit, inside and out, is completely untethered from the concept of money.

    Money is of this world.

    You, on the other hand, probably are not.

    That's pretty damn cool.

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