Friday, December 29, 2006

10 Obvious Millions

I find it is significant that if you ask someone what they would do if they won 10 million dollars, the answer is often: travel the world.

Why is this the most common answer, I wonder?

A wild guess would be that travelling is a wonderful experience, but it is expensive, so people would want to do it more so?

I have some friends who squirrel away some money to take a cruise once or twice a year. This is what they really like and they don’t wait for a million dollar windfall to act upon fulfilling this desire. They invest in the opportunity for themselves and enjoy it to the fullest.

This is a wonderful example to follow, really.

So why don’t more of us do this?

My hypothesis is that people who answer the question thusly, don’t really want to travel all that much. Furthermore, I submit that they might travel if they got out of their own way right now! Lack of money notwithstanding.

So I believe the basic problem is that people want to get away from their otherwise unsatisfactory lives. Travelling to far-away and exotic places seems like just the ticket. And this is the illusion.

I don’t know that very much thought is given to this, but travelling for more than a month, maybe two, is extremely difficult for most of us, even with an expense account. So what gives that people would want to travel for the rest of their lives? This simply lends credence to my hypothesis.

One possibility is that the answer isn’t really well thought out in the first place. Disbelief that a million dollars will actually land in our lap warrants no further investment of mind share. I’m entirely with that.

But if the dream is pushed on regardless (notice proper use of the term regardless…) then often the true answer will come out, to wit: I would travel for a month, or six, then I would return and blah-blah.

AH HA! The blah-blah is what the situation is really about. Upon hearing this, I inevitably start to pay attention. The answers are as diverse as the people I talk with.

Some will start their own business, others will actually travel for a few months out of the year and plan the next trip, even buy an outfitted bus and take in the country for a couple of years, others still will semi-retire to a similar job but only part time, rebuild an old car, volunteer for a good cause, invest in the market - privateers or stock, build houses, work with wood or steel, get involved in full-time leisure like motocross or racing or horses. The list goes on.

In effect, travel is the default position, it’s like saying, “I’m fine, and you?” in answer to the obvious greeting. It may be true, but it may also hide something worthwhile.

So the question becomes why aren’t we pursuing our desires as a goal, instead of abysmally hoping for the million dollars. And then not driving for it anyway!

The person who answers “I wouldn’t do anything different than I am doing now” is truly the happiest among us. Or maybe this person suffers from utter lack of imagination. Regardless (see? again, proper use) this person is already living the dream.

All I have said above is obvious and has been debated over many a coffee or beer. What is not so obvious is that we systematically deny ourselves that which we truly want to do for no good reason.

If one truly dreams of something then why is this not pursued? Money is an obvious roadblock, but again I submit there is much deeper issue. Either the dream is unconscious or it just seems plain impossible, or one is deemed unworthy of the dream (that’s awful), maybe we are punishing ourselves (more awful), or maybe we actually don’t have a clue how to attain our dream. In any case, the pursuit is stopped short and it shouldn’t be.

And so we use the excuse of lack of money, far too often, to keep ourselves away from what we really like or want. This has also been debated over much coffee the world over.

This is starting to sound like a new year’s resolution essay. Gawd!

Anyway, to answer the question, with 10 million dollars, what do I really want?

I would continue to lose weight and take care of my health. Umm, no, wait, I’m doing that anyway, for 8$ a week.

10 millions dollars would publish my writings. Umm, well, I’m not even trying to be funny here!

Let’s see, with 10 million dollars, I would certainly have a bi-weekly lunch at the Lone Star with my buddy. Umm, I’m already doing that, but, oh yeah, I would pay for both our lunches though!

With 10 million dollars, I would watch movies all tangled up on the chesterfield with my wife. Umm, no, wait, we already do.

To be honest, now that I’ve thought about it, the list could go on for pages and pages, so I think my new years resolution is to be thankful for that which is worth tens of millions, to me.

And for this, my friends, I don’t need a single damned cent.

Wishing upon everyone a wonderful & merry New Year!


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