When I tell people what my favorite quote is, I often get a confused glaze staring back at me.
Many people would think my favorite quote would be some investing quip from Warren Buffett or a success quote from the likes of Jim Rohn or Brian Tracy, or perhaps Napolean Hill.
Although those success greats have made many quotes that I hold near and dear, there’s a quote from an unlikely source that holds the greatest weight to me. It’s from Blaise Pascal and it’s this:
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
Some people, when hearing this, go in a room and experiment to see how long they’ll be able to just sit quietly. Some laugh about it and say “what’s me sitting alone in a room got to do with building wealth? Well, both misunderstand Pascal’s intention from that quote.
Philosophers and scientists are very acquainted with this quote because they experience it all the time. They sit alone for prolonged periods, staring through windows or on objects, just thinking. Thinking of ways to solve problems. Thinking about what they just read. Thinking about their thinking process. Just thinking.
But this type of meditation is not just reserved for scientists and inventors. None other than that greatest investor of our time Warren Buffett (you knew I would bring him into this – smile), counts time alone as one of the biggest contributors to his success:
“I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.” – Warren Buffett
Having Buffett say this, you may be curious of the true meaning of Pascal’s quote?
Most take thinking as an inline activity they do while driving, sitting with people, or eating. At best when they do close their room and sit alone, they suffer from two things: they either feel boredom and rush to go out after something or they get distracted by other thoughts than the thoughts that should take their focus. Indeed, Pascal’s quote was referring to the fact that humanity’s problems come from people’s poor afford to quality time for thinking, which results in deficient thinking and worse, wrong decisions and wrong actions.
Rather than thinking about how to grow their wealth, they’re thinking of what’s on TV.
Rather than thinking about investing, they’re thinking of the lottery.
Rather than thinking about personal growth, they’re thinking of gossip.
Rather than thinking about executing on their goals, they’re thinking about excuses.
Rather than thinking about achievement, they’re thinking about appearances.
And we know this about our thoughts – What we think about expands. In other words, all that we think will be attracted in our life.
Think poverty and you’ll get poverty. Think wealth and you’ll get wealth.
So, why is time alone spent thinking so important to wealth building? Glad you asked. It’s because to grow your bank account you must protect your mind.
Protect it from…
Entertaining idle thoughts. From dwelling on the mistakes of the past. From rehashing bad memories. From being closed to new possibilities. From dwelling in other people’s business. Take a pause each day and think proactively about how you want to respond to life’s daily challenges, before they become challenges. No matter how much we filter the information we are getting into our mind, we grab something negative from here and there and it reflects instantly in our activities. Allow your mind the freedom to dream, and concentrate your thoughts on achieving your purpose.
You have to protect your mind from being overworked. We strain our minds too much by overwork and over stimulation. This can cloud our ability to make sound judgments. That’s why we need to have a day of rest every week and also moments of rest each day. Your mind is a wonderful machine, capable of trillions of thoughts each day but it does need time to recharge to be at your best. Don’t stretch the mind so much that it loses all elasticity. Quiesce the mind each day so that it can be the wonderful problem-solver that it is for you.
You have to protect your mind from those who will violate it. From those who will have no regards for the boundaries that you have set. From those who will bring their clutter, then use you as their dumping ground. You need your space to focus on centering, gathering your thoughts and getting your mind in tune with what you need to accomplish. There is nothing wrong with associating with people from a distance. Remember, mediocre people love to talk about other’s shortcomings, as in that way, they can hide their own for a while. Stop caring about those, who don’t need or deserve your care. They are unhappy with themselves so let them go make someone else miserable. Instead, look inside of you, and work on it.
Each day as part of my success routine, I take time just to turn into myself, just to think. It’s a daily routine that I’ve practiced for years and it has been so instrumental in my success. The mind is what the mind is fed. You see, while we always need situational thinking and vocational thinking, there’s also a very real need for deterministic thinking – thinking about what you expect to accomplish. You must see it first in the mind before you can experience it in your life. And you can’t see it if you never give yourself the time and space for it to appear.
So, spend time each day to sit quietly in a room to…
Think about how you’re going to achieve your goals.
Think about how you’re going to be a successful investor.
Think about how you’re going to build wealth.
Think about how you’ll be the person in your family to transcend poverty.
Think about how you’re going to become financially free.
“Man is obviously made to think. It is his whole dignity and his whole merit; and his whole duty is to think as he ought.” -Blaise Pascal
Be free. Nothing else is worth it.
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Ready for more tips on how to achieve the free life? Check-out more articles from the blog archives below: