How To Think Like Charlie Munger: Live By The Iron Prescription

"Whenever you feel that some situation or some person is ruining your life, it is actually you who are ruining your life…Feeling like a victim is a perfectly disastrous way to go through life. If you just take the attitude that however bad it is in any way, it's always your fault and you just fix it as best you can—the so-called "iron prescription"—I think that really works."—Charlie Munger (on how to stop procrastinating)

You can't be successful if you can't take responsibility for your life.

And I mean full, complete, utter, extreme ownership of everything.

There is no room in the productive life for blame or playing then the victim. Life is short, every ounce of energy spent on external things you can't control is wasting the most precious resource you have: time.

You waste more than time when playing the blame game, you also waste mental energy as you are pulled into negative thought patterns.

Being successful in life is hard.

Most people will ever rise above their average and will live average lives as a result. They will be averagely happy, averagely fit, averagely financially secure. They will have average sex. They will have averaged conversations. They will otherwise do average things for however many years they are lucky to get.

Some will be happy with average, and they will, as a result, be above average in the fulfillment department. I root for us all to achieve that. In fact, their above average results in life fulfillment will take them out of the average bucket.

Some will find their purpose in community work and/or their family life. The trappings of success won't appeal to them much. Funny enough, they again won't really be average since they have gone above average in this category.

As Thoreau said, most people live lives of quiet desperation.

This sucks and is totally preventable.

You see, this article is about thinking like a billionaire, but I'm not suggesting you should try to become one. Most of us shouldn't even try.

That said, we all should try to be above average in at least some areas of our lives. The areas will depend on you and what you value. To not pursue the things you love, and to not be exceptional in these domains, is the greatest failing of all.

The thinking you need to become a billionaire is the thinking you need to become exceptional in any area of your life.

There are plenty of miserable billionaires, so again, don't mistake what I'm saying for the idea that becoming financially successful is the only path in life.

The idea highlighted in the Munger quote above is a first principle of life that you must adhere to if you want to be extraordinary in any aspect of life.

You will never be able to achieve your full potential if you are stuck in victim mode. When you blame others, you are giving them power while simultaneously removing your agency to do anything about your situation.

Being a victim and blaming the world outside makes it so you will forever be the victim and always be blaming the world outside of you.

Until you stop engaging in victim mentality, you cannot move forward. It's impossible. There is no way around this law.

Think about it: if you remain a victim and forever discontent about reality because you are focused on how unfair life is, what will it matter if you have a million dollars or a billion dollars? All you'll be is a victim with a lot of money, and your fulfillment will be sapped as a result.

I don't know about you, but I'd much prefer to enjoy having a million dollars, or a billion, rather than wasting my precious time and energy wishing things were different.

"Evil requires the sanction of the victim."

  • Ayn Rand

I've never found a more profound quote about ownership than this one.

It removes the morality and right or wrong from the equation and shines the responsibility on you, the individual. This is the key to dispelling the delusion of victim mindset.

To be a victim, you choose to be a victim. If you choose to not be a victim, you aren't.

And after all, you're alive. So each day you wake up is a day you can be anything you want, as cliche as that sounds, it's the truth.

There is no such thing as the past or the future, there is only now.

Try this: Tomorrow, look back on this sentence and ask yourself if you are in the future, the past, or the present.

Then do it again the next day.

Funny enough, you'll never actually be in the future, you'll always be in the present. Due to this reality of the human experience, you are faced with one choice each day: Are you going to be the victim and at the mercy of things outside of your control, or are you going to take ownership of your life and get to work?

That is the only question that matters.