The $1 Billion Test

I want you to run a thought experiment.

Imagine you wake up to a giant surprise.

It’s Tuesday morning and on Monday night a mysterious benefactor showed up.

And they slid a cool billion dollars into your bank account.

What would Tuesday look like?

First, blow it out!

Ok, I know what you’d do with that windfall.

You’d hop on a private jet and take the family to an Aman resort in Bali.

Or you’d hit up your real estate broker and buy the biggest McMansion on the block.

Maybe you’d upgrade to a Model X. Or if you’re feeling spicy, a Porsche.

And, of course, you’d top off those college 529 plans for the little ones.

So yes, the billion dollars would be nice.

Next, a reality check

But now let’s look at the constraints in this situation.

Sure, with a billion dollars, you could buy a ton of shit. But some hard truths would remain.

If you had high blood pressure, well it wouldn’t go away.

You couldn’t just yank your kids out of school – Unless you wanted to isolate them socially by homeschooling them with the world’s best tutors.

(And they would still throw tantrums.)

If your marriage was rocky, it would stay rocky. (I mean, let’s be honest here.)

Your friends wouldn’t have more free time to hang out with you. (Unless you put them on your payroll. And even then, they’d be your employees.)

Your in-laws, well they’d still be your in-laws.

And many of the difficult thoughts in your head – whether it’s insecurities about how you look, a fierce inner critic or low self-worth – wouldn’t go away (unless you spent countless hours in therapy).

So back to the drawing board

Let’s get to the real juice in this thought exercise.

How would you spend your time?

Like, what does your Average Tuesday look like?

The one where your kids are at school. Your friends are at work. And you need (and want) to be home.

Let’s say you sleep 8 hours.

Exercise for 2 hours.

Read for 1 hour.

Hang with family for 2 hours.

Watch 1 hour of TV.

See a friend for 1 hour – Assuming they can get out of work.

(All, very generous allocations.)

Guess what? You still have 9 hours!!!!

Where do you go from here?

Maybe another hobby? (OK, guitar lessons and practice for another hour!)

We’re down to 8 hours.

You’ve run out of “self-improvement” activities.

The answer may shock you

The truth is with all this time freedom you’ll have to find joy in everyday-ness of life.

I call it my tiny moments happiness theory.

“If you can’t be happy with a coffee, you won’t be happy with a yacht.”

The everyday-ness of life will vary from person to person.

Some will enjoy strolling in nature.

Others will find peace in a stillness practice.

Maybe you’ll find serenity in cooking.

And some may never find it.

You take the test

A question I ask myself every day is:

If $1 billion dollars showed up in my bank account, would I still have the same day I’m having today?

I want the answer to that question to be an emphatic “yes” as often as possible.

Don’t get me wrong, it helps to be semi-retired and to have a decent nest egg built up.

But I still “work” 35 hours a week.

I picked a random day to put this to the test:

On Thursday, May 16th, 2024 I will:

I’ll take that random Thursday any day, whether there’s $1 million in the bank…or a billion.


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