Ted’s Hundred Grand

ted.jpgWho caught today’s Oprah show about how a windfall of money isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?

Oprah talked to a variety of folks who had come into big bucks about the challenges they unexpectedly experienced.  The most interesting segment was a social experiment with a homeless guy who was given $100,000 free and clear.  (Stay tuned to hear his story … )

Many of my clients say the reason they want more money in their lives is because they want to help others.  That probably sounds familiar, right?  Don’t we all have a natural inclination to want to be generous with others?  Isn’t it common to want to have money in order to give to others who struggle?  It’s a common theme among my clientelle, anyway.

Maybe you yourself have fantasized about totally changing the life of a homeless person by giving him a shower, a place to stay, and/or a job … ?  I know I have.

And that was the inspiration of the filmmaker who produced the documentary about this experiment.  He wondered what would happen if he DID give a boatload of money to a homeless guy.

So he pitched his idea to Showtime and got $100 grand to give away to a homeless person.
Guess what happened?

hundred-grand.jpgTed, the homeless guy, was given $100k back in 2005.  He cried when he opened the suitcase and realized it was his.

And over the course of the next couple years, he blew it all.  He gave lots away, bought a $35,000 truck, got a wife, bought two vehicles for other people, paid off debt for family members, and now he’s penniless and homeless again.  Without a wife.  She left him after the money ran out.

In fact, he says he’s worse off now financially than before the experiment, since he has debt now.

Ted said he actually feels worse for having received the money than he did before, because his worst suspicions were confirmed: you can’t trust people.

(He had lots of friends while he had money, but now that it’s gone, so are they.)

I don’t share this story to suggest money is evil and we should stop wanting it.

I share it because it’s a good example of how if we don’t change our vibration, money can’t do it for us.

We get what we vibrate – and if we’re miserable before the money shows up, we’ll be miserable after.   Money doesn’t change that.

Neither do degrees, dream jobs, babies, lovers, or thin healthy bodies.

Until we take responsibility for changing how we feel, we won’t feel any differently.  That’s all there is to it.

Nothing on the outside can make us happy.  This is all an inside job.

And if today’s Oprah episode doesn’t prove it, I don’t know what would.

Yes, I do.

Personal experience.

We’ve all had it, right?

Example: I thought having a full and thriving coaching practice would make me happy.


Lesson learned.  (Early on, thank God.)

Only I can make me happy.  My clients can’t.  No matter how many and how fabulous they are, I’m in charge of how I feel.  If all I know is the vibration of stressed out, all I can be is stressed out.  You can’t change that for me.

And we can’t change it for those we love, either.

We can’t love them enough, or shower them with enough money, or protect them from life’s bumps and bruises enough to change how they feel.  We’re each in charge of how we feel.

Money can’t make us happy.  Other people can’t either.

It’s an inside job.

I choose to look at that as good news, because it means we each have the power to be happy now.  Not just when the bills are paid, or we get a new job, or better boyfriend.  But right now.  That’s all there ever is – the choice right now.

Easier said than done, I know.

That’s probably why there’s so much literature out on this topic.  Happy For No Reason, The Art of Happiness, Stumbling on Happiness, How We Choose To Be Happy, What Happy People Know, Be Happy; these are just some of the books in my personal library that offer a simple message – happiness is your choice, available at any time, no matter what.

And until we learn to choose it, we’ll never be it.  It’s not magically conferred by some fabulous outside circumstance.

In fact, even as I searched for today’s Oprah show link, I found this piece on happiness front and center on her home page.  (It’s a good read.)

Having said all that, I still think it’s enjoyable to imagine how life would change given a windfall of easy cash.

And however you would be different in that fat cash scenario, if you start incorporating those differences in your life NOW, you will invite money into your world in big beautiful ways.

Just don’t expect it to make you happy.  That’s your job, not money’s.

I also know you guys know this.  Would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the subject, as always!

  • July 30, 2008
  • Patti says:

    Thanks for this inspiring post – inspiring because there is no real secret or catalist for being happy, there is simply a choice. How we choose to view our everyday, the people in our lives and recognize our blessings can be the difference between living joy and feeling like life has handed us a rough shot.
    How we respond to the world around us, how we choose to think about each and every situation and how we decide to find the gift or “silver lining” within each event can truly make a significant difference.
    This post is only one of millions of messages that say the same – it comes from within and you get to be the one to choose it!
    Wonderful to have your posts and messages, thanks!

  • Thanks for reading – I’m wondering what last post you’re referencing. The numbers blog or the last comment?
    I’m just glad that FINALLY someone says something that shows I don’t moderate or edit readers’ comments! ha!
    All right, technically it probably doesn’t do that, but most of these comments are so positive I think it sometimes sounds like I wrote them. lol
    I do very much appreciate this community of supportive, engaging, encouraging and inspiring people! Thank you for that, everyone!

  • 6hThank’s for greate post.7x I compleatly disagree with last post . wwn
    паркет 9r

  • Yes, you are indeed onto something, Iyabo! lol
    That’s a great story – thanks for keeping us posted on the progression here! 🙂

  • Phillis says:

    Iyabo — WOW – you are wonderful – – – I do love your ‘thinking vibe(s)’ — and how you express your thoughts to us — thank you so much for the share and awesome on the quarter and $100 . . . can’t wait to here what comes next! Phillis

  • Iyabo says:

    On the 31st I made a post about how I found a quarter. Well that day, I wrote in my visualization for the day, “Big, bodacious money comes my way.” Well instead of the customary shinny penny, I got a whole quarter and I was excited. I thought it was 25 times more that what I usually get when I find a penny.
    Well, yesterday, on the money issue, I wrote in my visualization for the day, “I get all sorts of fun surprises along the way today. Money hears me and comes to me as my energy is super clean.”
    So I was out at a party and an older lady friend of mine that I have not seen in a long time just gives me a hundred dollar bill. I was shocked and trying to figure out what was going on. In our culture, it is appropriate to see soemone you love and just give them something to let them know you have been thinking of them. It took me a couple of hours to realize that it was a serious wink from God.
    So, all this to say, I am thrilled beyond measure. I obviously am unto something here. I am a little stumped as to what to write about money now but I know I am in the right direction.
    Any thoughts,

  • bonni says:

    I absolutely agree with the difference between “happiness” and “joy”. Happiness is a human emotion, and it’s usually fleeting and triggered by external stuff. Joy comes from inside and it’s always there, even when, externally, you’re irritated or annoyed or distracted. When you have cultivated and are in touch with the wellspring of inner joy, you can always access it. You just have to relax and let go of the “surface” stuff and let it flow.
    It’s not unlike the difference between the human emotion of “love” (I love my car, I love ice cream, I love my house, I love my boyfriend so long as he’s nice to me…) and the flow of Universal love, which, like joy, flows from inside and is there regardless of the petty surface human emotion that masquerades as love.
    Experiencing Universal (Spiritual, Godly, whatever you want to call it) love will utterly change your perspective on the whole topic of love, just as experiencing true Spiritual joy will change your view on the subject of happiness. 🙂

  • Shama Hyder says:

    This is so absolutely true! When you are in love with what you do-the stars, moon, and earth align to bring you what you need.

  • Gillian says:

    Yap, Being brings Having and your Pray Rain Technique helps us get to achieve this “Being” or “state of consciousness” of our desires.

  • Hmm. Interesting distinction between happiness and joy … I’m ruminating on that one …
    I love how you got what you asked for and flowed such nice gratitude for it, Iyabo! woo hoo!!
    And I’m totally with you, girlfriend, that there is happiness in knowing we are powerful and can change our circumstances. That’s a better-feeling thought if ever I thought one! lol
    Thanks very much for posting, Iyabo.

  • Iyabo says:

    Jeanette, this post dove tails into the other post you did on expectation. To get your expectation flowing in the pure, positive direction, you have to unkink the vibe in it. It seems that another way of saying this is that Ted had a kink in his expectation vibe.
    Money is a funny thing. I asked the Universe for money yesterday and I love how faithful the Universe is. It amazed me that I found a quarter in the grass outside. I was so excited to know that my voice is so powerful, the Universe hears it. That is amazing to me. I am so grateful.
    My happiness is in knowing I am powerful and can change my circumstances. I get happy discovering new components of myself.
    Yes, I will be extremely happy when I manifest that first million dollars but not because it is a million dollars but because it is a reflection of the power within me to change my circumstances.
    There is happiness in acheiving and getting what you want but the “things” are not the source of the happiness.
    I also think of a definition of happiness that I heard which is that happiness is momentary and comes from external things that make us happy but joy comes from the inside and bubbles up to the outside. I try to distinguish between the two. Almost like the difference between a smile and laughter. Both are good but I can be alone and smile all the time. Whereas usually something on the outside makes me laugh out loud.
    Just my musings.

  • Jeff, I’ll refrain from arguing with you about the judgment of “staying there” and accepting our plot in life … it’s certainly not what I’m about, but maybe not everyone else is here to grow and expand. (I think in some ways you might have just described my boyfriend.)
    Is it possible just because you and I are turned on by growth that that doesn’t mean everyone else should be shooting for the same thing? I mean … status quo … what’s so bad about that?
    Wait, did I say I would refrain from arguing? I did.
    (And I can already hear you telling me what’s wrong with status quo.)
    What I meant to say was how much I loved the email you just sent me .. I think I’ll post it on the blog as a separate post.
    Thanks for inspiring some new discussion here. I can always count on you for that! 🙂

  • susie says:

    Hi Jeannette,
    I saw the show for the second time yesterday. When Ted said the experiment confirmed what he already knew or thought, “You can’t trust people”, my first thought was SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY!

  • Jeff Atherton says:

    Hey Jeannette,
    Homelessness is not bad, what’s bad is staying there. Doing nothing to imporve, grow and expand. You’re either living or your dying. Not middle ground. That’s the way it is in every place in nature.
    Now it’s probably possible to remain homeless yet grow and expand in some other areas and other ways. But to just stay where you are and accept it as your plot in life… I don’t buy it.
    Blue Skies,

  • You know, there was another thing in that segment that didn’t get addressed. I’d like to hear if anyone else noticed it ..
    It seems to me Ted didn’t mind being homeless. It seemed to suit him pretty well.
    He didn’t seem any happier in a hotel room than under the freeway.
    Is it our automatic assumption that homelessness is bad and anyone in their right mind would be grateful to leave it?

  • I know exactly what you mean, Susie. I heard him repeat that a couple of times, and I thought that he truly blames his family and friends, when in reality, they couldn’t BE any other way while he holds this belief/expectation of them!

    And to see it in someone else makes me wonder where/if I still do it myself. lol

    Who am I keeping in the “box” of how I “know” them to be? hmm …

    Well, if I am, it’s probably very positive. In fact, that’s a more energizing thing to look for. I’m lately noticing how flexible and invested Russ is in this relationship. I always expect my clients to love me, and oh my word, they keep doing it! (Thank you, Clients!)

    I expect … oh, found one. I expect my brother to continue distancing from me. Ouch. Hmm. So Ted and I aren’t so different. Wow, I sure love that connection. If not with my brother, at least with Ted! lol

    Thanks for the post, Susie. I always love hearing from you.

  • Smart girl, Bonni! I wonder what else you’ve learned as you studied this topic?

    You can’t go wrong when you’re creating the alignment … good work!

  • bonni says:

    I’ve been studying the phenomenon of “Sudden Wealth Syndrome” for a while now. I wanted to see what happens to people and why/how they fail. I want to make sure that when my windfall comes, I’m prepared for it, and that I have a plan of action in place.
    Got to get in the proper alignment, you know!

  • Well, THAT’S well said, Gillian: “being brings having.”
    Hm. I haven’t heard that before. It’s perfect!

  • Gillian says:

    Oh, this really is so wonderful Jeannette! It really is an inside job and its so empowering to know, that we have the power to manipulate our experiences by choosing how we feel now and enter those states of consciousness now. Being brings having.

  • Thanks, Peggy! I appreciate that – and love that you put me in the company of Denise Coates! Her book is FABULOUS (I’m intending to write a review of it here soon … )

    I used to have a similar version of that quote in my desk at corporate work … hmm. Can’t remember it exactly, but it was along these same lines. Powerful reminder!

    Thanks for reading and for posting here, Peggy! 🙂

  • Peggy Wilson says:

    I’m not sure if it was Deepak or if it was someone he was quoting, but he said, “No matter how much money you have, if you don’t have abundance in your heart (read vibe) then you are a beggar.”
    I love your posts. I only read yours and Denise Coates’ anymore. It seems like you are the only two who resonate with me any more.
    Keep it up.

  • Nice quote, Jeff. Puts the focus back on what’s important. At least that’s easy for ME to say, since growth is one of my core values!

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing the wisdom.

  • Jeff Atherton says:

    Jim Rohn has a classic quote on this:
    “Pity the man who inherits a million dollars and isn’t a millionaire. Here’s what would be pitiful, if your income grew and you didn’t.”

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