7 life lessons from Squid Game
POW POW 🥊 !
Welcome back to the fifth edition of the NewWealth newsletter.
Why New Wealth? Because going through school, I realise how little does it really set us up for success. This is the business and life education my friends and I wish we had when we were younger!
Wealth can mean very different things for everyone. For me, health, loving relationship and freedom is the ultimate measure of wealth. It’s the new wealth that isn’t talked about, and while you don’t need to have a lot of money to achieve those, having money helps makes it a lot easier. It buys you freedom!
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Do you have some kind of financial target? Like:
Make $1M dollars?
Have a 3 bedroom house paid off?
Retire by 30?
Create more than $200k in annual passive income and travel the world?
Build your own company and be your own boss?
Today’s writing is an important one for me because as we climb this ladder in life, I find it important to stop, reflect, remind ourselves of the mistakes we’ve made, the learnings we’ve had and keep these important lessons in mind.
Squid Game is the latest most talked-about trend, and most viewed Netflix series. There are 9 episodes. I find it to touch me in a very deep place. The show is really captivating and kept me bingeing on the weekend till 4 am!
I think this is because the lessons and emotions explored within the show apply to all of us.
Money amplifies human emotions and this show takes it to the extreme.
I cried watching it. Let me share with you the top seven life lessons that this show has brought to the present for me.
NO major spoilers ahead, so you can read on safely!
1. The system is rigged
Unless we’re living in a self-sustained, remote piece of land not governed by any government or organisation, our system is rigged.
The only way to play is to not break the rules, but at the same time, learn to be smart and play around with it. Leverage the rules in your favour.
Growing up, we were taught to work hard, study hard, save money and retire… Ha! try doing that now.
If you live in the following cities, housing prices have become really expensive for the average family to afford.
While hard work is important, we also need to work smart.
Most people in the world exchange their time for money, but ultimately, don’t forget, money makes more money.
Learning to tell the difference will help you achieve your goal and get off the treadmill faster.
2. On luck, fairness, and hard work in life
Life is not fair. We all have the play with the hand we’re dealt.
“The shape you have chosen is the shape you must piece out.”
Some are luckier than others. We come across bad situations and bad luck in our lives all the time.
However, instead of crying about life’s not fair, it’s important to ask ourselves instead:
What is within my control? How can I change the situation around?
Adopt a different mindset.
Instead of saying: “I can’t”. Ask: “how can I?”
When the moment comes where the stars align, we need to take it, use the momentum and slingshot through life.
Opportunities come in different forms. Keep our radar on. Learn to recognise it with an open mind.
Be brave. Don’t give up.
When opportunity presents itself, don’t be afraid to go after it.
Life is not a dress rehearsal. This is it.
3. On the pursuit of money
If we only focus on the pursuit of money, by the time we’ve achieved it, we would have lost our youth, our family, our friends and many of life’s beautiful (happy and sad) moments.
Don’t forget to smell the roses along the way. Take little pit stops and detours. They add a lot of depth and flavours to our lives.
“Do you know what people with no money have in common with people with too much money? That living isn’t fun.”
Always remember people who are with us through our worse, not our best. Because most people will disappear when we are in trouble.
In the pursuit of money and success, always make time for people who hold dearest to your life. There’s no excuse.
I rarely use the word “never”, but this I am certain.
You can over-invest in a lot of things - deep and meaningful relationships with family and friend is never one of them.
Lastly, don’t lose sight of what’s important to us. I deeply believe that most of us want money not because we want to be rich. We want the freedom that the money buys.
Remember why we’ve started.
4. On authenticity and integrity
The older I get the more I realise this: money is abundant. Authenticity and integrity are not.
Authenticity means someone who is true to their personality, values, principles in life openly and consistently, and they don’t compromise it for the comfort of others.
Integrity is about one’s relationship to their words; about being true to their words.
Both are values I treasure deeply for myself and from people I spend my time with. It forms the foundation of all human connections: trust and understanding.
I’ve been screwed over in businesses and in life. It’s a very crappy feeling.
We all have bad thoughts from time to time, sometimes in difficult situations. It's how we act it out externally that makes all the difference.
Be authentic. Partner with integrity. Choose our partner wisely.
If you wouldn’t partner with someone for life, you shouldn’t partner with them for a day.
“Look for three things in a person. Intelligence, energy and integrity. If they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two.” - Warren Buffet
5. On gratitude
I think most of us have a lot to be grateful for. Watching the show, and imagining myself in any of these characters’ situations has given me a very deep sense of gratitude for where I’m at, what I have and the love I felt for the world.
The truth is: We’re all very lucky. It’s just very easy for us to forget.
Sometimes, we get caught up in a difficult situation, get dealt a bad hand in life, a lot of things are happening at once and life feels overwhelming. When this happens to me, I often like to do the following exercise:
I think of the worst possible things that could have happened to me:
doctor diagnosing me with a brain tumour
gangs chasing me because of my crippling debt and wanting to harvest my organs
being kidnapped and left in authoritarian countries like North Korea where I have no basic human rights, no freedom and starving of extreme hunger.
And then, I come back to the present moment in my present situation. Whatever it was doesn’t seem so bad anymore. I’m pretty damn lucky.
Now, together, let’s take a step back, think back a year, or ten years. Let’s imagine the baby version of us back in school; imagine that baby version of you looking at all the amazing progress you’ve made in life up to the present moment.
I hope you feel proud of how far you’ve come. Because I most certainly do and I’m so grateful for everything I have.
Try it 😊.
6. Be kind to one another
For most people in life, they take first and then they give.
We all feel entitled to a lot of things in our life: our freedom, our pay, our grocery store having the right brand of juice, our coffee being served a certain way…
Instead, we should give without expecting anything in return. This applies to family, friends, work, and random strangers on the street.
Give without expectations.
The truth is we are all very lucky.
We all have so much to give.
Our world would be a much more beautiful place if we can be kind to one another.
7. On selfless love and relationships
Warren Buffet said something once that made an impression on me:
“When you get to my age, you’ll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you”
In this case, he’s referring to his wife and his business partner: Charlie Munger.
Out of all the people who love us back, the most important person by far is our partner.
Deep down in business and in life, we’re all looking for our gganbu.
Sometimes love finds us in unexpected places. We can’t always control it.
Enjoy the moment we are in. Embrace our abundance, and honour our hurt and fear of things that didn’t work out in the past. Be open, be vulnerable and trust the universe is secretly in our corner. Treasure the relationships when it comes.
(Bonus) Pay off your [credit card] debts and don’t take too much leverage…
Ok, this one is a bit of a joke, but still very true!
Pay off your credit card debts! Don’t take too much leverage. Live below your means.
Or you’ll get wrecked like Sang Woo…
That’s a wrap!
Well, that’s it from me this week.
Subscribe if you haven’t already.
Share it with friends who’ve seen the Squid Game if any of my lessons has resonated with you.
For those that have seen the show, what are your biggest expectations? Do share it in the comment below with everyone. I’ll read them.
I love you all.