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The Meaning of Life and Investments

Updated: Mar 18

What is the meaning of life for an investor? This is a question many ask themselves, especially in times of crisis, uncertainty or loss. How to find motivation to continue investing, seeking profitability and financial security, when everything seems to fall apart around us?

Girl picking up a book in a library

Viktor Frankl, a famous psychiatrist and Nazi concentration camp survivor, developed a theory called logotherapy, which is based on the search for the meaning of life. For Frankl, man's primary impulse is what he called the "will to meaning", that is, the will to discover the meaning of life. The meaning of life is not something given a priori, but something that is discovered. According to Frankl, the meaning of life lies in finding a purpose, in taking responsibility for ourselves and for the human being itself. Having a clear “why” we can face all the “hows”.

But how to apply this idea to the world of investments? How to find a purpose that guides us in our financial decisions? Frankl proposes some specific points that can help us in this task: work day by day with motivation, live in love and have courage at all times to face adversity.

Climber celebrating on the summit of a mountain.

Working day after day with motivation means investing with a clear objective consistent with our values and needs. It's not just about seeking profit for profit's sake, but understanding what we want to achieve with our money, be it retirement, financial independence, fulfilling dreams, social contribution, etc. Investing with motivation also implies informing yourself, studying and updating yourself on the financial market, seeking the best opportunities and strategies for your profile.

Living in love means investing with ethics, respect and solidarity. It is not just about following the laws and rules of the financial market, but having a humanistic and sustainable vision of our investments. This means avoiding applications that harm the environment, society or ourselves. It also means sharing our knowledge and experiences with other investors, seeking to learn and teach. It also means being grateful for our results and recognizing our mistakes.

Having courage at all times to face adversity means investing with resilience, flexibility and optimism. It is not just a question of accepting the risks and losses inherent in the financial market, but of knowing how to deal with them in a positive and constructive way. This means having adequate financial planning, diversifying our investments and having an emergency reserve. It also means knowing how to adapt our investments to changes in the economic and social scenario. It still means having hope for the future and trusting in our potential.

We can also mention a few more items that Viktor Frankl considered essential and are completely applicable to the act of investing:

Humility: recognizing that you don't know everything, that you can make mistakes, that you can learn from others and that you are neither better nor worse than anyone else. Humility is the basis for respect, cooperation and personal growth. It's the willingness to listen to different opinions, to accept constructive criticism and to ask for help when needed. It is the virtue that prevents us from being arrogant, overbearing or superb in the act of investing.

Acceptance: accepting reality as it is, without denying it or running away from it. Accept your limits, your weaknesses, your emotions and your needs. Accept the challenges, difficulties, losses and changes inherent in the act of investing. Accept that you can't control everything, but you can choose how you react to everything.

Gratitude: thank you for everything you have, for everything you've lived, for everything you've learned and for everything you can share. Gratitude is the source of joy, generosity and abundance. It is the virtue that prevents us from being ungrateful, dissatisfied or envious in the act of investing.

Sense of humour: knowing how to laugh at oneself, at situations and the ironies of life. Knowing how to see the positive and fun side of things. Know how to relativize problems and not take yourself so seriously. A sense of humor is the antidote to stress, anguish and boredom. It is the virtue that prevents us from being tense or bitter in the act of investing.

Cultivation of inner freedom: developing your conscience, your autonomy, your creativity and your ethics. Do not allow yourself to be conditioned by other people's opinions, by social pressures or by investment fads. Do not allow yourself to be dominated by fears, vices or prejudices. Do not allow yourself to be manipulated by interests, lies or illusions. Cultivating inner freedom is affirming your identity, your dignity and your uniqueness. It is the disposition to act with autonomy, responsibility and coherence in the act of investing. It is the virtue that prevents us from being slaves, victims or alienated in the act of investing, and from investing like the herd.

Faith: trusting your ability, your intuition, your vocation and your mission. Trust that there is a meaning to your existence, to your journey and to your destination. Faith is the light that guides your path. You can't invest without having faith that something will work out, right?

These are some of the values or attitudes that can help us find meaning in the act of investing. They are not the only ones, but they are examples of how we can live with more fullness, freedom and transcendence in the act of investing. They are invitations that make us question our values, our goals and our actions.

Investing with meaning is an act that can bring us happiness and fulfillment. It is an act that can make us better and more human people. It is an act that can make us participate in the construction of a better and fairer world.

Family walking on the beach.

Therefore, the meaning of life for an investor is something that is built every day, with every decision, with every action. It is something that gives us strength, direction, and satisfaction. It's something that makes us grow as people and as investors.

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