The question came up in conversation, “What would you do if you suddenly got millions of dollars?” Everyone answered in turn and everyone talked about personal change not ways to save the world. When my turn came, I quietly said, “I’d get a chauffer to drive me to work in a cool car when I didn’t feel like driving myself, and I would hire a person to run all of my errands − take the dry cleaning, pick up things I need, do the grocery shopping.”
One of the two said, “Oh, of course, you’d keep working. That sounds just like you. I should have expected that.” She was being totally honest.
I said, “Yes, I think I would. I’m not sure I would like to spend all of my time with people who don’t have to work for a living.”
The conversation moved on and finally, the lunch was over. I managed to maintain my quiet state for most of it.
I reflect on that answer and my life then. I think now that answer was a self-centered one. It was about making the most of my brain power, seeing what I could do with what I had to work with, finding how far I might go if I tried to go far. It wasn’t about people. It was about what I got from work.
Now I think my answer would be a different one. I would spend time and money to visit the friends I don’t see often enough. When I needed to work I would help people with their work without charging them. I’d become an angel investor, so that I could say that name every now and then.
When we left that lunch, those two asked whether I was sick because I didn’t talk very much. I felt like I couldn’t win with them. I had moved out of the limelight, and they assumed I was sick. But in their own way they had picked up that my focus was off.
Maybe they knew was I wasn’t valuing people as much as I valued work.
That would explain her response to what I said. That would explain a lot of things.
It’s probably good that I didn’t win millions then. I think it would be fine if I won it now.
−me strauss Letting me be