Ted's Hundred Grand
Who 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?
Ted, 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.
We’ve all had it, right?
Example: I thought having a full and thriving coaching practice would make me happy. Wrong.
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!