Why do you wake up in the morning?
What are our reasons for going to work? Are we workaholics, driven by ambition or do we just have something to prove?
In the 70s, there lived in a make shift two bedroom apartment in Mumbai, a lower-middle class family who did small-time trading with Arab merchants for a living.
Today, that family owns not one, but two of the biggest private sector conglomerates in the world.
Today, two brothers from that family control the biggest fortunes in the world. The elder of the Ambanis, a fiercely competitive Indian called Mukesh, is worth an astonishing $29 billion.
Here’s my question: why does the 53-year-old magnate still go to work?
According to the regional averages, he has about 10 years to live. Even if he stopped working today and spent his fortune like a madman, it would surely outlast his years. Why doesn’t Mukesh Ambani just take a lifelong vacation?
I think there can be two reasons for this.
- Our "wants" are infinite and ultimately irrational. We can never be content because there’s always a higher rung on the ladder, and we want to be able to afford the next big thing. We start building tolerance to contentment. Nothing is sacred, it’s a never ending race to the highest bank balance even whilst the Grim Reaper clutches at our feet.
- We don’t do it for the money. Sure, it’s a perk, but ultimately there are greater games to be played and money ceases to be enough of a high for us to quit our pursuits. Maybe we’re workaholics, or we’ve got something to prove to the world, or maybe we’re just conditioned to perennially run the rat race.
In either case, I strongly suspect that your reason for getting up in the morning (and mine, to be honest) is not in line with the most successful people in the world.
We don’t do it for the paycheck, and if we think we do, we’re just fooling ourselves.
This post was originally published here.