Imagine you’ve been given a blank check to write in any amount. If you had to give back to the world exactly what you planned on taking out, would your number change?
Today, I saw a homeless man walking in the rain. He had everything he owned in a backpack covered by a trash bag. As he moved past, I could see dirt caked in the corners of the crow’s feet around his eyes. His beard was white, but stained with the muck of cars that had splashed puddles on him, as he’d traveled to his destination.
When I made eye contact with him, he smiled. You ever see the look in someone’s eyes of peace? Like, you know they are completely at Zen and okay with where they are in life. He had that look in his eyes. He wasn’t embarrassed; he wasn’t sad; he didn’t look drug addicted. He was exactly where he wanted to be. Responsibility ZERO.
I sat and ate my lunch and watched him come in the restaurant. As he entered, I couldn’t take my gaze from him. He just had a calm look in his eyes. I’m sure he thought I was giving him the “old homeless man” stare, but he didn’t seem to mind. Instead, he appeared genuinely happy. Something you rarely see in someone. It made me think. If I were to give this man a blank check, what would he do with it?
Would he even want it?
What amount would he make it out for?
Let’s pretend a blank check has been given to you. You now have the ability to write whatever number you want in the box on the right. You can make this check out for however much you want. You can use it to buy a bag of chips, or you can use it to buy a small country.
The funds in the account the check is drawn from, are unlimited. Think of it as if the Fed Chief himself, has given you a “name your price” check, directly backed by the fed, with his original signature in blue ink.
You could be the richest man on the planet with just a few strokes of the pen. You could end wars, legalize marijuana, and let non-violent people out of jail—all with just a few smears of ink on a small piece of paper.
There’s only one thing you need to worry about. Whatever number you make that check out to be, you must deliver that value or more back into the world. So, the funds for this check are unlimited, but you can only get out of it, what you are willing to put into it.
What amount would you make that check out for now?
The number you came up with, the first one, the real one, the honest one, is how much you feel you’re worth. Not how much you can be worth, or what other people think you are worth, but what your brain has assigned your value to be.
What was your number? A hundred thousand? A million? Ten million? Ten billion? One-hundred trillion? The number you came up with is your internal self worth number, yet it also represents your confidence number.
The lower the number, the less you believe in yourself.
I gave you a chance at unlimited funds and you most likely assigned yourself a cap, even though you didn’t have to. You could have said anything, but you chose what you did for a reason.
So why did you select your number? In retrospect, knowing what you know now, was the number too high? Too low?
I read an article a while ago. A guy interviewed several people who were once wealthy, but are now piss poor. Some were lotto winners, some athletes, some washed up celebrities. Each of them had been worth more than a million dollars at one point in their life.
When asked how and why they’d lost all their money, one guy said “You don’t understand the pressure of being a millionaire. There were decisions to be made that I was not capable of making. I just wanted to play ball.” In other words, he didn’t want the responsibility.
With big money, comes big responsibility. If you don’t take that responsibility seriously, it will be taken from you. When it comes time to level up, people make one of two choices. The hard choice (to level up) or the easy one (to be comfortable). Most choose the latter. Plenty of people can get it, but can they keep it?
If you lost your fortune, could you regain it?
Back to that check we were talking about. I’d bet the homeless man would write that check for $100 to get some groceries and maybe a new pair of (dry) boots. Where I live, people beg on the street corner quite often. They do not want to exchange anything for money. Hence the term, “handout.” There’s no excuse, other than serious disability, to be unemployed.
If you think about it, we all have a blank check. We’ve actually got a checkbook and no matter where you are on your journey in life, you’ve written yourself a few checks. For the job you have, your family, the house you live in and so on.
These checks you’ve written, all came blank. It was up to you to make them out for the proper amount. The amounts of those checks were based solely on what you were willing to give in return for them. You could only give what you had.
If your checks are for the amounts they are, why are the checks for Warren Buffett, Sergey Brin and Mark Zuckerberg as big as they are? The difference is not in the amount of money they have, it’s in what they are capable of and willing to do in return.
I’m sharing this story for one reason and one reason only. Right now, as you read this, you have a blank check. It’s not hypothetical. Just like Zuck, Buffett and Brin, you have the ability to do whatever you choose to do in life. You’re where you are not out of lack of skills or money. You’re there from lack of effort. Don’t make any mistake about that fact.
So now, it’s up to you. You’ve still got a check and only so much time to get it to the bank (your lifespan). What amount can you handle? How much responsibility can you really manage?
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