There couldn’t be two more opposite characters to juxtapose.
You have the calm, serenity of Gautama Buddha, who would meditate peacefully under a waterfall in the knowledge that all things are one. With Donald Trump, you have a bombastic, egotistical, billionaire turned politician who is rioted against when he is elected president.
But their qualities aren’t mutually exclusive. That’s right – in this post, I am going to explain why you should enjoy the best of both mindsets.
It is a concept that I have always wondered about, as I can relate to both archetypes – the meditative acknowledgement of all things being one, and also the fiery ego and desire to get ahead in life.
You can’t be a monk and a millionaire, so how do you reconcile the two seeming opposites?
Both mindsets, if followed exclusively, have their drawbacks.
Living a life of meditation and foraging from a hippie cabin in the woods without technology or running water doesn’t appeal to me, but then again, neither does being the most hated person in the country.
First of all, let’s start with an analogy.
You’re playing a game of Monopoly with friends and family, and you end up trading a couple of properties with a friend. I’m not sure if trading properties is allowed in the official rules, but it makes the game somewhat more tolerable.
Your friend uses the properties that he has been given in your trade to begin collecting a set, and he fortunately lands on the last of the set that is up for sale and buys it. Then, over the course of a few rounds, he builds Trump towers on all of them, and you are quickly bankrupted after landing on his hot property a couple of times.
Do you threaten him with legal action? Do you lash out and hit him? Do you lose any sleep that night, lamenting why you traded that property to him?
Of course not. You play it for fun.
You might get a bit frustrated when it’s happening and jibe him with a few joking remarks, but you don’t lose your sense of perspective.
What about in sport?
Sure, there are some individuals and teams who lose their shit if they are beaten, but most sports rely on a code of professionalism. If someone is injured, the game is stopped while the players, often from the opposing team, check to make sure that the guy is alright.
After all, it’s just a game.
In the greater scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter if your team loses. No one dies (in civilized countries, at least). The worst that could happen is that you might never get picked again if the responsibility for the loss sits squarely on your shoulders, but life goes on.
So why do most people not take this view of the game of life, on a holistic level?
Let’s face it, someone who dies with a garage full of supercars, a mansion and a platinum credit card is just as dead as someone who dies with nothing to his name.
You don’t take any of it with you, so what does any of it matter if your ultimate cosmic purpose is to be worm food?
This is where you can get trapped in the question of “What is the Meaning of Life?”, which I have written a post about previously.
Imagine a football team that was coached by Buddha. With the utmost respect, they would be at the bottom of the league table.
After all, why bother? It ultimately doesn’t matter where you finish in the league anyway.
That’s where you balance the serenity of the Buddha archetype with the more ambitious Trump-like mindset.
Sure, you can’t swap any of your Monopoly money for real money once the game has finished, but that doesn’t mean that the game doesn’t have a point. However, your perspective shifts.
Instead of viewing the game of Monopoly, football, or life as pointless, you foster an internal passion for it (which I have also written about previously). Of course, the nihilist would say that it doesn’t matter ultimately, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t immerse yourself in it.
You can enjoy a game and care about winning it, while still realizing that it is just a game.
But ultimately, don’t swing too far towards the indifference of a guru or the life-leaching stress of a tycoon.
Play hard, but remember:
It’s just a game.