So if you don't want to invest and wait around, then what do you do?
Enter: The Dream
YOU COULD WIN THE LOTTERY!!!
Ah, yes. The Lottery.
In January 2016, while I was writing my book "Trade School: An Inquiry into the American Cultural Approach to Work and Education", I just googled "lottery" to prove a point. Sure enough I found that a person in Virginia won $1 million dollars on a scratch off just the day before: January 28th, 2016. There was an article stating that the winner was a beloved member of the community whom had garnered loyal customer base for their successful business. The article noted “Co-workers say they have gotten 20-30 phone calls from concerned customers worried that [the owner] will leave [their] long-time career in the auto glass industry.”
I wonder if they will?
Does everybody hate their job so much that they would trade it in an instant for money? What would you do then? Do you know? Have you thought about it?
My good friend, Tim Thompson (http://feralpastor.blogspot.com), once used this illustration in a sermon. Imagine you haven’t cleaned your carpets since you moved into your house 20 years ago. You decide you want to get them cleaned and you decide to rent a rug doctor. So you go to a rental place conveniently located by your home. You see there are several models to choose from and you take your time deciding.
Finally, you see that they are pretty similar and you decide to spend your money on a mid-range model. So you go to the clerk and pay for it and start hauling the thing outside into the parking lot. You’re starting to get a little excited to think about clean carpets. "How great is it going to feel to have clean carpet?" You wonder, smiling to yourself. Then as you reach your truck, you notice something on the ground.
It’s a lottery ticket.
You pick it up and find that hasn’t been scratched off. No one is around to claim it. You scratch it off. The ticket reads "congratulations, you’ve won $10 million dollars!"
Now the question is…
Do you go back to get the high-end model rug doctor?
Okay, now I’m deviating from the sermon a bit here, (Sorry, Tim!) but honestly,
that has to be the question.
You've fallen into riches!!! Why should you care at all about cleaning carpets?! You could buy a new house!!!
Because you're you. You are still the same person you were 10 seconds ago before you found the lottery ticket. Having $10 million dollars to your name doesn’t change who you are. Having $10 million dollars doesn’t change the goals you have. You probably still value clean carpets. And having $10 million dollars in your bank account doesn’t force you to change your spending habits.
Now, will your spending habits change? Will your goals change? Will your values change?
Maybe. ...okay, most likely yes. But I want to encourage you to think of this objectively. If you were to come into a large sum of money--whether an inheritance, an investment, your business takes off, you get a new higher-paying job--or, you win the lottery--
***Disclaimer, I DO NOT endorse playing the lottery. I believe you could make a much bigger difference choosing to spend that dollar buying a treat for child in your neighborhood--or even a stranger in the store. You could invest that single dollar in a bank account. Buy a cheap greeting card and send it to someone you haven't talked to in a while--just because. There so many better ways to spend $1***
--how would that affect your money spending habits?
Go ahead and think about it.
So in this example, maybe you determine that mid-priced rug doctor is still good enough and that the high-end model is really just for suckers who have money to waste. Or perhaps you return the Rug-doctor and pay someone else to professionally clean your carpets. Or perhaps you have been waiting for this day because having a lot of money is more important than clean carpets, so you return the rug doctor and you go out and buy all the things you always wished you had.
The point is, having money allows you to afford many things, but--as a person--you still need to know what you are willing to spend money on. You need to understand your values. It doesn't matter how much money you have. You will spend whatever you have on what you value. You value things that are important to you.
If you want stuff?
You find stuff.
If you want experiences?
You allow yourself to experience things.
If you want relationships?
You have to invest in people.
But if you want money?
That’s a tough one. Because you have to be creative to get it—AND you have to be creative to not lose it. And what good is that money, if you don’t know how you want to spend it?
Just building up a bank account can be an all-consuming task. Why do it if you have no reason? If it’s just so you can pay off all your bills so you have more time to watch TV? Well, you’re probably better off just watching TV every day. That will get you to your goal much sooner.
But what if you don't want to watch TV for the rest of your life? What if you want to do something that matters?
Then keep reading, my friends.