What does wealth, power and prestige allow you to do? I mean, aside from how they make it seem like people respect you, what are these things really used for?
One answer involves certainty.
We strive to increase our wealth and our power because we want to tighten the grip we have on our environment. Wealth and power gives us more control, and we think we can use them to make the landscape and the people around us conform to our own desires.
The world is too messy, too unpredictable, so we chase money and influence, hoping that we can use them to make it clean and predictable.
But here’s the thing. You always have control. Control over your own actions and thoughts, which should be enough. You can never have certainty, no matter how much wealth and power you accumulate.
You can’t make people do what you want them to do. You can’t make the world behave how you think it ought to. You can’t make life go the way you long it to go.
Yes, you can give it a nudge in the right direction, put yourself in a position that makes it more likely that you’ll get what you want. But you can’t control the course of events.
Trying to alleviate your inner tension by seeking greater control of your environment and a reduction in uncertainty is never going to work. In fact, you’ll just cause yourself more grief.
The only way to ease your angst is to stop seeking certainty. Stop trying to bend the world to your will. Stop striving to rid yourself of the unknown and the uncertain and realise that you can only ever be at ease when you understand and accept the following:
You will always have control, but you will never have certainty.