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Nothing to Lose

If you have nothing to lose, you can only win

When you think about it, it’s amazing how many issues around the world are caused because of people being afraid of what they have to lose, either right now or further in the future. This is not only true on a global scale, but also on a personal level. Many problems can be avoided if you would simply structure your life in such a way where you have nothing to lose, or in the worst case, very little.

Why would you want to do that? One of the important reasons is that if you have nothing to lose, the only option that remains is that anything you do, if it does not leave you in the status quo, will make you win. Very simple reasoning, but the implications are enormous. And when I say “have nothing to lose” it doesn’t literally have to mean that you have nothing to lose. Obviously you may have things that you are capable of losing, but in that case I mean you shouldn’t care about it if you lose those things.

One of the benefits of having nothing to lose is not having to deal with the fear of losing something. Imagine the burden that gets taken off of your shoulders when you realize that you don’t have to worry about losing anything. This in turn gives you more freedom to do the things that you want to do most, without having to worry about losing anything. This is one of the most important benefits you get. Less fear, more choices, more freedom.

Today’s world, and indeed for a very very long time now, is structured in such a way where people are directed, if not forced, to become dependent. Dependent on the system, or dependent on others. When you do enough research, you will find that this is all by design. I won’t go into details in this post, but certainly will in the future. For now it’s enough to note that this is by design. The reason why things are set up in this way is of course to be able to control people and limit their freedoms. When people depend on you, you can manipulate them into behaving the way you want. Because they depend on you, they have little choice but to go along with anything you say because they fear losing what they get from you. By definition if someone depends on someone else, or something else, that person has something to lose.

So one of the important things in life is to be as independent as possible and rely on very few things. After all, when it comes down to it, the only thing you can really and always depend on in life is yourself. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t want a lot of things in life. Want and have as much as you like, but require as little as possible. This is the simple rule you can use to guide you in making decisions about what you want to depend on in life.

Want as many things as you like, work hard to get them, but don’t ever be afraid of losing them. In fact, be perfectly capable of living without them. The moment you let yourself be controlled by the fear of losing what you have, you make yourself vulnerable and open yourself up to manipulation.

That job you always wanted? Work hard to get it, but don’t require it. As soon as you require it, you depend on it, and it becomes a vulnerability. People might use this vulnerability against you, knowingly or unknowingly. You might get in all kinds of undesirable situations. For example, if someone knows you desperately need that job, he/she might have you do things you would normally not choose to do. And you would do it because of the fear of losing the chance to get that job you wanted. Another example would be when you depended on the job you currently have. If your employer or your boss knew about this, they could put a lot of pressure on you to get you to do whatever they wanted. As you can imagine, people in such a position soon find themselves doing things, or agreeing with decisions, which are entirely against their principles. If you didn’t depend on that job, and had no fear of possibly losing it, you would disagree with them whenever you felt like it because you would feel absolutely free to do so. After all, you’d have nothing to lose. You’d be free in doing and thinking what you wanted all the time.

So when you finally get that dream job with the great salary, be careful how you handle it. Don’t immediately go out and buy that new expensive car, that big house and take a big loan at the bank. That only makes you depend a lot more on your job and potentially sets you up for losing a lot more if you were to lose that job. The key thing here is to not maneuver yourself into a position where you require that job to be able to live your life. The fact that you have it is great, and you should want even more, but never require it. Only if you know that you will be able to handle it when you lose that job, should you do things like buying that new expensive car, that big house and take that big loan. You should always have a plan B, and even a plan C and D, in place, just in case things don’t go as planned. This will make that you won’t require that job, and you won’t be afraid of losing it as a result. If you have to give up that new car because you lost your job and can’t afford it, you should be perfectly OK with taking the bus again. If you have to lose that big house, you should be perfectly OK with renting a small room somewhere and continue your life as if nothing happened. It’s easy to do this when you require very little in life, even though you may want many things.

This is one of my basic principles in life. There are a lot of things that I want, or already have, but I require very little of them. I quite frankly don’t care if I have to work at some fast food restaurant or even have to become a gardener in the near future. I don’t care if I somehow lose everything I have tomorrow. Perhaps I’ll have to go live in the bushes somewhere, but I’ll try to find a way to live. Besides, seeing how nice and peaceful Indians live here in the Amazon forest often makes me want to do the same. I have nothing to lose. I try to think of something I wouldn’t be able to give up, but can’t come up with anything. Not even my family. As long as I have myself I’ll be just fine. Of course I love my family and always want them around, but I don’t require it and certainly don’t depend on it.

Speaking of family, it always amazed me when watching those movies where some gangsters threaten someone with destroying their family if he/she doesn’t agree with something they want, and then watching that person give in to the threats. These things also happen in reality every day. People get threatened with their jobs and even get threatened with the jobs or businesses of other family members for example. It can happen in many ways or forms. Such a thing would never work on me, since I have nothing to lose. In addition, my family are responsible for themselves. I don’t see why gangsters would want to do something to them because they can’t get me to agree with something. I don’t feel responsible for them; they’re responsible for their own lives. Since I have nothing to lose, doing something to my family wouldn’t change my mind. It would be the same thing if people would kidnap my son (which I don’t have by the way) in order for me to agree with something they wanted. The moment they kidnap my son, he would be their responsibility, not mine. If he died, it would not be my fault. And again, I have nothing to lose. Getting me to do what they want would be the last thing they’d achieve with that.

If most people were like this, imagine how fast the manipulation around the world would cease to exist. It would cease to exist because people would see that it would be no use to do it anymore because it would not be possible to get the results they wanted. It’s that simple.

One of the ways people try to make others afraid of losing what they have is making sure they have little or no choice, or at the very least giving them the impression that they have no choice and that what they are getting is the best there is. Of course, when you think about it, there’s always choice. The problem might be that the other options available at that time may not be as nice. But if you have nothing to lose, you won’t mind giving up the better option and being satisfied with something less, because you didn’t require the better option in the first place. It was nice to have, but not required. Of course you’ll continue to want better and that will make that you’ll work to get it again in the future. Those who like to manipulate and control others know that having a lot of choice means having a lot of freedom and no fear of losing what you have since there’s plenty more to choose from. So when there’s a lack of choice, create choices yourself. You never have to put up with anything you don’t like. Never. And if you have nothing to lose, you’ll never have to.

Is your husband abusing you everyday? You don’t have to put up with it. You have choice; you can just walk away. Don’t depend on him to take care of you or give you whatever you may be getting from that relationship. Become independent and have nothing to lose. People don’t want to pay you enough for your work? Don’t work for them. Go flip burgers for far less money if you have to. Have nothing to lose. When they can value your work well enough, they know where to find you.

And I’m sure you can think of even more examples. The people benefitting from this system of manipulation and control of course will never like the fact that they can’t control you. They don’t like it when people are free to do as they please whenever they please. They don’t like it when people can be independent and rely on themselves. They don’t like it when people have choice, and as a result, freedom. It becomes more difficult for them to manipulate such people. To them, these are dangerous people. And it’s quite easy to understand why. I don’t think I have to explain it anymore at this point.

So have principles in life, value your integrity, make your own choices, be free and have some backbone. Above all, make sure you have nothing to lose, because that’s the only way you’ll be able to really have those things.

Additional Notes


  1. Dependence at fulminate // Architectures of Control (17/01/2007)
  2. Karel Donk » Archive » Bad Influence of the US Embassy in Suriname (08/02/2007)
  3. Karel Donk » Archive » Dealing with being Wrong (29/04/2007)
  4. Karel Donk’s Blog » Blog Archive » New Year, Same Approach (31/12/2009)
  5. Karel Donk's Blog » Change the World; Be Politically Incorrect (06/03/2013)
  6. Karel Donk's Blog » A World without Jealousy (26/06/2013)
  7. Karel Donk's Blog » Lessons from Jose Mujica: The world’s ‘poorest’ president (06/09/2013)
  8. Karel Donk's Blog » The sexiest thing in the world is Being Smart (18/09/2013)
  9. Karel Donk's Blog » Prisoner 46664 is no more (06/12/2013)
  10. Karel Donk's Blog » Put your money where your mouth is (09/10/2014)
  11. Karel Donk's Blog » Why I never want to get rich (31/12/2014)
  12. Way to go Notch; Keep speaking the Truth — Karel Donk (03/05/2019)
  13. Go for repairability — Karel Donk (20/09/2020)


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