The Seven Deadly Sins FIRE Edition: Ira/Wrath
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Although popularized by the epic poem, The Divine Comedy (Divina Commedia) by Dante, the classification of the Seven Deadly Sins had an even earlier origin.
The version I am using as the basis of this series of posts will date back to the 6th Century AD using the nomenclature of the Catholic Pope, Gregory the Great.
These sins are ordered from the least deadly to the most egregious (and this series of posts will follow the same ordering).
The fifth Deadly Sin was coined Ira (later donning the name of Wrath)
“Strong anger can only make you weaker than you already are” ―
Wrath can can cause you to be in a mental state that can cloud your judgement leading to bad decisions, financial or otherwise.
Fortunately wrath does not have much of a foothold in the financial world as it does in the physical world but there are some examples of it that are worth mentioning.
In today’s litigious society it seems that every incident needs to generate a corresponding lawsuit.
However sometimes the legal and time costs end up outweighing the projected rewards.
Individuals who still choose to undergo this process may have the sin of Wrath guiding them as they are letting their emotions dictate their actions with only vengeance as a motivating factor.
This was done purely out of vengeance as she even stated, “How dare you divorce me?” at one point.
I do not know the final legal bill for her civil lawsuit proceedings, which thankfully, unlike the divorce, I did not have to subsidize.
I can only imagine it racked up quite a legal fee as she had not only her original divorce lawyer but also added a second lawyer as co-counsel from another firm to represent her during the week long jury trial.
My ex-wife sought $4 million in perceived emotional damages and received nothing at all in the end.
Her overall financial status therefore took a large step backwards when you factor in the legal fees.
This is Wrath at work.
Had she not undertaken this second legal proceeding, she could have led a comfortable life with all the assets she had gained through the divorce.
Another variation of how wrath may impact finance can be seen in business relations.
For example, say there is Business A who needs a partner business to supply a critical component.
There are two available options Business B and C, both with same quality product but business B is clearly less expensive.
The CEO, despite this information, goes with Business C as years earlier Business B beat out his company in a bid for a lucrative contract.
This CEO has forgone a financial advantage, doing his or her company a disservice purely out of spite, a form of Wrath.
He or she still bears a grudge against Business B and a more beneficial business relationship thereby is lost.
“Anger gets you into trouble, ego keeps you in trouble.” ―
This phenomena is not limited to individuals as on a more global scale this can be the basis of trade wars between countries.
A perceived insult can lead to poor financial decisions based on the effect of Wrath on the mind.
In the medical world, many physicians became enraged as the combination of increasing government regulations and decreasing reimbursements caused many to simply leave the medical profession altogether.
Whether this was or was not a sound financial decision is yet to be seen, but I do feel that wrath did have some element in the decision to give up a high six figure income.
As with any Deadly Sin there is a corresponding Heavenly Virtue that serves as its counterpart.
For Wrath, this counterpart is Forgiveness.
“Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim–letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.” ―
Now I am going to be the first to say that forgiveness is not an easy thing to do.
I still, to this day, harbor pure hatred to every individual who went against me in my divorce that caused me to completely lose my daughter for a period of 6 years.
I do not think any amount of time will pass that will ever let me soften that stance.
I certainly know I am not big enough of a man to actually give forgiveness to any of them (but that is my cross to bear).
But if you can forgive someone, it is true that the benefits to your own psyche far outweigh the difficulty of saying those words to someone who has wronged you.
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