Someone sent me a lengthy, anonymous email yesterday urging me to acquire a lot more resources, suggesting that I could do so much more good if I had an 8- or 9-figure net income instead of 6 like I’ve been doing for years. He claimed to have acquired a great deal of wealth himself and found it highly beneficial for fueling his path with a heart. He wasn’t suggesting that I do this to acquire more luxuries but rather to better express my creativity and increase my contribution, as well as to magnify my fulfillment on this path.
As I pondered his suggestion, I found myself not having much clarity as to what I’d do with 100x or 1000x more money flowing through my life. I put so much attention on creativity, fulfillment, exploration, relationships, etc. that I find it difficult to intelligently imagine about how significantly more financial resources could provide extra fuel for that, except in minor ways or in ways that aren’t particularly meaningful to me.
I have a nice house in a great neighborhood, a car that runs well, and all the tech I desire for now. I have the best available and maximally upgraded models of the MacBook Pro, iPhone 5S, and iPad Air — my trio of tech nirvana. What more could a guy want?
The parts of my life that give me the most fulfillment are already free or within my means, so I could actually do with substantially less resources than I have now. Lately I’ve been pondering what it would be like to deliberately reduce my income for a while and see if I could live on much less, just for the experience. What if I capped my net personal income at $10K per year, for instance? That isn’t such a big deal to me though since I already went through a period of low income like that during the 1990s, and I learned that I could still do what I love regardless of income.
I’ve never worked in a corporate environment — the only job I’ve ever had was working for $6/hour in a video game store while I was in college. So I’ve never seen how larger operations allocate resources. That’s probably why I haven’t pushed to acquire more. As I mentioned in Money and Your Path With a Heart, my main financial goal in life was to make money irrelevant in my life — to earn enough that I could put money on the back burner and not give it much attention.
I’m not interested in building an empire. What interests me is exploring personal growth and sharing what I learn along the way. In some ways I feel that acquiring and allocating more resources could become a big distraction. I’m already doing what I want to be doing, so why risk distracting myself to acquire more resources, especially when I lack a compelling vision for what to do with such resources? I like having freedom and flexibility, and I don’t really see how more resources would meaningfully enhance that. I don’t think I’m doing anywhere close to an optimal job of leveraging the resources I already have.
I reached this point mainly by minimizing the role of money in my life. So it seems odd to think about increasing its role in my life. But sometimes what works for us in one stage of life must be discarded as we enter the next stage. I’m open to pondering the possibility, but for now I can’t say it seems particularly exciting.
Complacency doesn’t suit me, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of complacency when new growth efforts must be consciously chosen as opposed to being forced by outside events (such as those caused by scarcity). Usually when I embark upon a new path of growth, I’m either moving away from something I no longer wish to experience, or I’m moving into a new vision built around my desires. In this case, I’m content with my current financial situation, and I lack a compelling desire-based vision to significantly change it, so there’s no real motivation to immerse myself in resource acquisition. Consequently, I give my attention to other avenues of growth that are presently more compelling to me. Lately that’s been a focus on relationships and my social life.
What would you do if you were me? Would you keep doing what you love by largely ignoring money, or would you see value in creating a 100x increase in your financial resources? Once you’re living your purpose and feeling fulfilled, what then becomes the role of money? What new vision would you create beyond this if your passions are exploration, learning, growth, and sharing? How would more resources make you a better explorer, especially if you were still finding plenty of fascinating facets of life and growth to explore within your current means?
How would you enhance your life with 100x more resources? Do you have a compelling vision of what that would do for you? If you did have a compelling vision, what would it include?