Love, Truth and the 100 Million Dollar Question
Imagine you got this message today: You have 100 million dollars in your bank account. It’s not a scam. Your account balance is correct. The money is yours—legally, tax free, and with no strings attached.
What would you do?
How is your life going to be any different?
This is not a law of attraction experiment. The purpose of this exercise is to bring clarity to life … to know what we truly desire, and what we do for survival and security.
Please don’t get into a mental argument about how you received the money, or whether you deserve it or not. It doesn’t matter. You could’ve won the lottery, had a rich relative, or sold your tech start-up. The money is in your bank, and you can do whatever you want. So go for it.
And one hundred million is an arbitrary number. It could be anything. I just wanted to make it high enough so we don’t get into lack and not enough arguments.
Now back to the question. How is your life going to be different?
Most of what you would come up will relate to these broader categories.
- Material possessions: how you would spend your money.
- Relationships: who are the people you’d want to be with.
- Activities and contribution: what you would do with your time and energy.
Think of these questions as a starting point.
What would you buy? Or how would you use your new fortune?
- Invest some of it?
- Give some to charity?
- Pay your debts?
- Secure your family’s future?
- Move to a different city or country?
- Buy a new home?
- Travel? Explore? Learn?
Anything you want can be yours. Nothing is stopping you. Be as specific as you can. Don’t say I’d buy a new car. Think of the model, make, and color.
What relationships would you keep, and which ones would you change?
- Do you want to be with your existing partner (if you have one), or not?
- If you don’t have anyone special in your life, what type of person would you want to be with?
- Are you going to be part of the same community, or would you change that?
- How about your friends?
- Do you think you need to help your family? If so, how?
What would you do with your time?
- Would you keep doing what you’re currently doing? Or would you quit and do something else, or do nothing at all?
- Are you going to work with a charitable organization, or perhaps start your own?
- Would you start your own business?
- Would you travel the world?
After you made the list of everything you want, imagine having it all.
How would you feel?
Describe your feelings in vivid detail.
Do you feel more fulfilled? Happier? Have a more impactful life?
Now answer the following question as honestly as you can.
What’s stopping you from feeling this way in this moment?
Think of these questions and clarifications when you answer the question for yourself.
Do you feel you don’t have enough security? You might lose your job, your home, or a loved one. But with all the money in the world can you eliminate the risk of loss?
Do you feel having more money will make you appear more successful or worthy, and that will attract the right kind of people to your life? Can you see that the right kind of people for the real you are and will be around you as you are, with or without money?
Do you feel that money will give you opportunities to experience, learn, and grow that you don’t currently have? Are there any creative ways that you can come up with to experience what you desire?
Let’s take it a step further.
Now imagine that one year passed and you got everything on your list and then some.
- What would you be doing a year from having all your dreams and desires come true?
- Who are the people you’re closest to?
I’ll share with you below some of the thoughts and reactions I had as I was formulating the questions above.
When I first thought of receiving 100 million dollars I felt stuck. I didn’t know where to start. Then the ideas started flooding in. The main thing was for me to secure my family’s future by having updated wills and setting up trusts.
For possessions, I’d get rid of everything I own (house, car, furniture and stuff) and only keep a few electronic devices and gadgets. Then I’d want to experience living in remote locales and warmer weather during the colder part of the year.
As for what I would do with my time, I’d do the same things but my focus would vary: spend less time on investments and rely more on professionals for all the routine stuff I currently do, write a whole lot more, and explore music to my heart’s content. I’d continue to support the same causes.
My relationships with my family will be the same. I love the same people and would care about them as much as I do now. I won’t change a thing. I’d hire help to care for my parents in my absence (and that’s for my own peace of mind and not a reflection of their ability to take care of themselves).
When I tried to imagine my life one year after I got everything I wanted, I realized the following truths about me.
Wanting safety and security is a dangerous motivator.
A lot of the things I would change I can do right now.
I can move to a different location right now but I fear making the wrong decision and losing money in the process. Having more money makes me feel I can afford the loss.
Feelings matter more than stuff or experiences.
No matter what we get or what we do, it’s how we feel about it that makes the difference.
If I’m not used to feeling good about what I’m doing right now, then after the novelty wears off, I won’t feel that great about anything. It will all become the same in the end.
Relationships are the ultimate truth-telling instrument.
The most genuine relationships and connections will withstand the test of time, money, and everything else.
No amount of money, or success is going to make people genuinely love me or care about me.
Some might get enamored with my success or wealth. But the people who care are the ones who have been, and will always be there for me.
We always have what we need.
I fell into the trap of wanting more thinking that I’m fulfilling my needs of expression and living a more meaningful life. That’s bogus.
We are the ones who assign meaning to anything we choose to do or experience—not money, perceived success, or other people.
I can write and publish with less than a dollar a day. If I spend a thousand dollars a day, my words are not going to be a thousand times more powerful.
Whatever life throws at us, we will usually manage with what we have. And when life hands us a deadly blow (terminal illness or car crash), more money is not going to help one iota.
If we wait for the right circumstances, or having more money to pursue what we desire, we deprive ourselves of the most valuable part of the journey—starting and finding out what we’re made of.
If we don’t genuinely love the people we’re with, no amount of money or success is going to change that. And if we can’t see the value and beauty in what we already have and do, nothing is going to be enough.
Money is not going to change who we are for the better or worse. What it does is show us more of who we truly are.