Industry POV


08 Jan 2017

Vivek Bhargava, CEO, DAN Performance Group writes about the importance of the ‘4x philosophy of upgrading life’, demonstrating that money is not an evil thing as it is perceived by many and can indeed help in buying happiness

CEO, DAN Performance Group

I believe that the sole purpose of life is to be joyful. Most associate this universal quest for happiness with meditation, spending time with family, being one with nature, etc. However, money seems to be completely missing from the conversation. After spending an entire lifetime attempting to increase my wealth, are you telling me that these precious bucks aren’t going to make me happy? The only time people talk about money bringing happiness is when giving it away. I think it’s high time that someone takes up this taboo topic and demonstrates that money isn’t an evil thing and can, in fact, make you happy.

I have dedicatedly followed the ‘4x philosophy of upgrading life’ for the last 19 years, which has brought me immense joy. The idea is to resist the temptation of upgrading any material object or experience you own on an incremental basis and doing so only when you can afford a 4x of it… 4x here stands for the monetary value of the object or experience. To exemplify, if you have a Rs 100 car, resist the temptation of buying a Rs 150/200 car and buy a Rs 400 car instead.

There are three tenets of this philosophy. Firstly, it’s about material things and experiences that money can buy. Secondly, it applies only to things that you are personally passionate about. Thirdly, it’s for everyone, not just the rich. The following are the benefits I have derived by practising this philosophy:

1. Patient ambition: This may seem like an oxymoron, but this philosophy makes you patiently ambitious. It gives you a steady combination of dopamine and serotonin – dopamine is like the Usain Bolt of chemicals making you ambitious, while serotonin is the Dalai Lama bringing in the patience.

2. Eliminating hedonic adaptation: You stop deriving joy from any incremental upgrade within months of its purchase. It took years to upgrade my car and house by 4x. It’s been five years since I moved into my current house and even today, when my car goes up the driveway, I feel amazing.

3. Prevents downgrades: Since you have to save a lot of money for your next 4x upgrade, this philosophy automatically sort of builds a buffer into everything you have, so you never have to downgrade.

4. Activates laws of attraction: Through this philosophy, the universe works its ways of getting this to me or rather the universe makes me work in a way that that I can get all these things.

5. Internal and external perception: Being in the field of advertising has taught one lesson – perception is reality. When I get up in the morning and see 4x of something that I had earlier and then I look at something else that’s 16x, 128x and so on and so forth, it gives me this feeling of confidence – I feel like the King of the world. This, in turn, makes people perceive me as successful.

6. Superior decision-making: Following this philosophy has made my decision-making skills better and brought in great discipline to the process. Upgrading by 4x involves lots of research and planning, ensuring you spend your hard-earned money well. People pay more for speedier cars and Michelin star restaurants – this is testimony to the fact that everybody has passions that they would love to upgrade by 4x and in turn, the innovators and creators would love to create 4x experiences on those passions.

So the next time you reach out for your wallet to buy something, resist the temptation of upgrading your life on an incremental basis – do it in multiples of 4x.