If you won the lottery today how much in your life would change? Would you buy a new house, mistreat people or become dangerously overweight? Would you control your money or would it control you? My good friend and mentor has always said to me “money has it’s cachet”, and this is true when it comes to your survival, education, opportunity to create more wealth or even the ability to perform charitable acts such as build a school in an underdeveloped country. Despite the undeniable need for money in our lives, and the clear positive implications towards not just our own but many others, there is something to be said for the habits and character that you are working on and how profoundly they affect your ability to live a life of fulfillment and joy.
Can you remember a buying a new car? At first, each moment getting inside it is accompanied by excitement as you take in every detail or simply enjoy that “new car smell” while experiencing the feelings of admiration and elation for your latest prized possession, compared to your last hunk of junk you had. Only to have those feelings disappear just a month later, leaving you with yourself and what you have built within. Please don’t be mistaken, money is definitely a high priority in my life, as it should be for anyone who desires freedom, security, comfort, or those running a business who are taking care of the people around them. Making ALOT of money to support your ambitions and dreams is certainly of great importance as well as a worthwhile challenge or so I make up. But… not at the expense of your health, your relationships, your sense of purpose, or the opportunity to do something great. At the end of the day, many will attest to the fact that you can have all the money in the world and feel like you have nothing at all while some are destitute but are able to find happiness as long as they are able to live and get by. It is not to say that poor people are happier in comparison to those who have made a fortune or anything of that nature, such a proposition would clearly break down under scrutiny.. There is however, something to be said for being able to achieve both happiness and money due to your physical and emotional wealth. I observed this growing up in Vietnam, where I witnessed struggling families who made up the majority, due to the communist regime which doesn’t tend to favor the poor or low class but that is another matter. What struck me was the fact that these families seemed to show great generosity with what little they had and seemed genuinely happy to play soccer together, share a coke, let you stay with them, partake in their meals, borrow their motorcycle, etc. It is worth noting that at the time, the general outlook on westerners was also not entirely welcoming given that the Vietnam war was not too far removed from people’s minds, having ended in 1975, roughly 30 years prior. To be fair, my Asian appearance due to my Japanese heritage definitely worked in my favor but my dad who bears Caucasian ethnicity was also on the receiving end of many genuine acts of kindness and warmth, one of them being permanent residency status, something that was rare for foreigners at the time if you were not a diplomat.
If I were to win the lottery, and become an overnight millionaire I would like to think that little might change about my habits. I would definitely get more sleep for one (I average five hours a night) and have less financial stress knowing that my business would have a cushion and the obvious fiscal implications that would accompany millions of dollars. I would own a very nice home, maybe send my kids to private school etc… As far as my routine, I would still get up early to make my bed (with my girlfriend still in it), read, practice guitar, lift weights, train and teach Jiu Jitsu, knowing the value that a steady routine delivers in terms of mental clarity. Or for the simple fact that I also enjoy those things greatly and receive satisfaction from doing them. I might be able to put more effort into this blog and explore ways I could reach a wider audience. Perhaps dabble in projects that satisfy me such as “vlogging”, writing more books, understanding the crypto space so I can be the next dogecoin millionaire LOL. But my point in all this is that assets and money only represent a portion of our lives that is our security, which most often made possible financially or so I understand. My landlord was not overly appreciative of my attempt to pay rent in copper wire… but I digress. I reiterate this point because grand acts of charity are made possible through such wealth, but your lifestyle and habits should not be affected drastically if you are in fact, living your best life or achieving your most optimal state.
So… if you had all the money you needed in your life, what then would change? This is a valid question and thought experience my older brother Steve has posed since I was a teen. Would your discipline plummet to unforeseen levels or would you continue the path of developing your character through life’s trials in order to become your best version. I work with some highly affluent clients who own basketball teams, islands, private planes and the like (it’s worth noting that some of these people appear to not afford to shop at target besides the 120k vehicle they hopped out of), some with excellent relationships with their health, family, kids, etc who seem to have just figured out life. And while they have all the money in the world you could just as easily peg them for a blue collar worker, while others have relationships that could modestly be described as dysfunctional. Point being, no amount of money should affect the value of what you have created inside, because in my estimation, that is the real prize that you can sleep well at night knowing it can never be taken from you.