“To get what you want, you have to deserve what you want. The world is not yet a crazy enough place to reward a whole bunch of undeserving people.”

– Charles T. Munger


Life isn’t all about waking up, going to work, getting back, having dinner and going back to bed. It’s a sum total of all the things, the little acts we do in between. Those are the inputs and the factors which shape our lives. Those are the things that actually matter. Inspired by the wise words of Charles T. Munger, this article is all about how an individual becomes deserving of the things he/she wants in life.

Charlie Munger rightfully said, “To get what you want, deserve what you want. Trust, success, and admiration are earned.” He explains it ever so simply by answering the foremost question in everyone’s lives – How do we live a life that really works?



You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Yes, you get what you need. But does it just get delivered to your doorstep? Absolutely not! You work for it, you persevere and you get your rewards at the end of it all. Your inputs should matter. The things you do daily should impact society and lives in a completely positive way. You should give unto others what you expect them to give back to you. It’s like you are selling a product that you yourself will be willing to buy. Put yourself in other’s shoes, understand the importance of your choices and the gravity of the situation. Work towards a better future.



Learn to love and admire the right people

We all learn and live by example. So it makes sense to be a good example for those who come after us. It’s a nice reminder that not only do we usually “reap what we sow,” but that respect and success come from thinking about and empathising with others.

If you value friendships and the impact people have had in your life, you learn to respect them. You grow daily learning from people whom you idealise. Its a mutually beneficial relationship. Respect and love is something you become deserving of only when you stop commanding and demanding it.



Never Stop Learning

Charlie Munger felt strongly that an individual never ceases to learn. Life is in itself a learning curve, you grow daily from the experiences and the trials you face. A person isn’t going to get very far in life based on what he/she knows. You’re going to advance in life by what you’re going to learn. He rightly said, “If civilization can progress only when it invents the method of invention, you can progress only when you learn the method of learning.”

Never Stop Thinking

People calculate too much and think too little. Being or taking calculative decisions and risks is a good trait, but if you aren’t exercising your thoughts frequently you fail to tackle problems that life throws at you. You become overly dependant on someone else to sort out the issue, and in doing so become less deserving of the final reward.



Learn to think through problems backwards as well as forward. If you can visualise it from reverse, it might reveal an instant solution. Charlie Munger in relation to brainstorming solutions for problems said, “Those of you who have mastered algebra know that inversion frequently will solve problems which nothing else will solve. And in life, unless you’re more gifted than Einstein, inversion will help you solve problems that you can’t solve in other ways.”

Be Reliable

Unreliability can cancel out the other virtues. If you’re unreliable it doesn’t matter what your virtues are, people will avoid seeking your help or advice. So make sure you are true to your work and faithful to the commitments you make to others. You want to avoid sloth and be termed unreliable.

Inculcate Interest

Being a jack of all trades is good. You make yourself an all rounder. But to be really good in something specific requires your utmost interest. If you have an intense interest in one subject you’ll make sure that you excel in it. You will put in your best efforts and nurse it like a child.

Knowing what drives you, what inspires you and what motivates you the most is important. It will help you identify yourself uniquely in a world where most of the people are contented in being mediocre or average.



Be Opportunistic And Recover From Setbacks

In his opening speech for the commencement address at USC Law School 2007, Charles T. Munger said, “Every mischance in life was an opportunity to behave well, every mischance in life was an opportunity to learn something, and your duty was not to be submerged in self-pity but to utilize the terrible blow in a constructive fashion. That is a very good idea.”

If an individual is able to pick himself up and learn from past mistakes, he grows. He builds his self-confidence and this helps him tackle future situations. He’ll learn to trust his decisions and make the best choices.



Charlie Munger believed that Being Opportunistic meant Being Ready. If you are able to anticipate opportunities or even troubles that may arise, you are prepared. If you are simply relying on someone to hand you work then its pointless.

Being ready makes it simpler for you to work on a task wholeheartedly. Your preparedness helps you function to the best of your abilities and in doing so you become more and more deserving of the rewards.


Wise words indeed from an individual who’s made his life big, living by his virtues, standing by his principles and along the way sprinkling bits of valuable and priceless advice to the teeming millions who seek answer to the fabled question – How do we live a life that really works?

Concluding this inspirational and thought-provoking narrative with the following quote –


“Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Day by day, and at the end of the day-if you live long enough-like most people, you will get out of life what you deserve.”

– Charles T. Munger


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