Tuesday, August 13, 2013

all the money in the world

See, I knew that title would get you to read.

This is week four of talking about Gretchen Rubin's questions to ask when you have a decision to make that look a little . . . iffy. Scary. Risky. Un-com-fort-a-ble.

Fateful Question #4:
photo by Jef Poskanzer on Flickr, Creative Commons

What would I do if I had all the time and money in the world?

Well, at least this one is fun to ask. It reminds me of the game I used to play with the kids when I wanted them to stop whining while helping me with chores. “If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?” The top vote getters at the time were: “Feed all the hungry people in the world” and “buy a giraffe.” We had diverse interests.

So, what does asking this question do for your decision-making capability? It tells you where you would put all your effort if you could do anything.

If I had all the time and money in the world, would I still write? Yes, I would, and I would fund a giant marketing campaign to get my work actually seen by the Amazon-buying public. That and travel the world, which I could do as a writer since all I need is a laptop, an internet source, and a chai latte.

This tells me I would put all my heart and soul into writing even if it wasn't a job. I would take the risks of rejection and bad reviews because I wanted to. That's a powerful statement about what you truly want out of life and are willing to risk for.

How does it help you make a decision? If I know what I really want to do, I am freed to start making plans to find a way to do it. If I ask myself, “Would I still want this if I had all the money and time in the world?” and the answer is, “No, I would fly to Fiji and drink coconut milk and marry a tattoo artist,” perhaps the decision you're looking at is something you aren't that attached to. Or you have really unrealistic life goals.

Sometimes, we decide to do what we don't really want to do short term--so that we do get a longer term goal. Or, we do it to help someone who needs it because that's what decent people do, even if they don't want to. Sometimes, the instant payoff sucks, like getting up with the baby three times during the night and being projectile vomited upon every time, but the long-term is well worth it. (Having said baby become a best friend and the joy of your life. Plus help with the cooking.)

But long-term, if you could do it, no obstacles, would you? That gives you something to focus on while making a decision. Then back to Question #1—What are you waiting for?

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