The EXPERIENCE of Money for Free

26 04 2015

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My parents were very practical folks. They had decent middle-class jobs – my mom was a teacher and my dad a salesman and the goal was never to climb a corporate ladder, but rather to provide a good decent lifestyle. We did not have lavish experiences in terms of vacations, camps, restaurants or any of that and I didn’t really know any better. When exposed to those who had lots of nice cars, vacations and material goods, I would remember my father joking that “money is no object, it’s a noun.”

I thought it was funny but not sure why and the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. It is not money that brings happiness but the things that money may provide in terms of experiences, not things. In this way, money is not really an object of desire. Money, as a noun, is the thing that may help to bring that which one desires. But here’s the good news – you do not need money to get those experiences. Let me explain.

I am intrigued by the question “what would you do if money were not an issue?” I have asked the question, googled it, etc. and the answers are overwhelmingly about experiences. It’s not about buying the Ferrari though there are plenty of acquisition type of answers. More than not, the answers are around running a business or charity, traveling, becoming some type of artist, poet, musician, actor or some other type of experience.

For a long time, I fell into the bucket of “if you can’t do something full-on, it’s not worth doing at all” which is nothing more than a cop-out. That is a very alpha-male, Wall Street way of looking at the world. My personal pace is more slow and steady. I am not sure where you may fall on the spectrum.

It’s also easy to say “hey, it’s not even money. I just have no time.” Here’s my take on that. For me, yes, there was a time when I literally could not squeeze any more time out of my life – family, small kids, graduate school at night, working a full time job, mowing the lawn, grocery shopping…on and on and on. The good news is that there does get to be a time when something, even one thing frees up and you get to choose how you fill it, whether it is TV, gaming, sleep or a new experience. That’s the ticket.

All those experiences you would have if money were not an issue are attainable, given you have even a modicum of time.

Travel? Sure, the Tuscany trip would be amazing. Ask yourself why? Fantastic food, meeting new people, taking in beautiful nature. You can have all of those things is smaller bite size chunks right here. There are thousands of MeetUps, amazing restaurants and fantastic hiking trails. Is it the beautiful countryside of Tuscany? No, but the experience of surrounding yourself with things that bring you gratification may not feel all that different (and cost you a lot less).

Want to start a charity or open a business? Get in line. Don’t have that “full-on Wall Street” mindset aforementioned. There are so many little things you can do to get started. Like anything – diet, exercise, learning an instrument – you have to just get started.

So basically, all I am saying is that we are living in an amazing time when we can surround ourselves by rich experiences at only the small price of a little momentum. Yesterday, I featured at a comedy show for a headliner that travels all over the country and a host that has been on the same journey as me since I started. It all started because I got tired of not having the experience I wanted. It wasn’t that I had to be on Last Comic Standing. I just wanted to have the feeling of having a comedic voice. You never know what it may lead to. I promise you, you will feel so much better.

What are you going to do tomorrow? Listen to the Dalai Lama and don’t die never having really lived!

Until next time,

Marc








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