If Jeff Bezos Gave You a Billion Dollars, What Would You Do?

18 Jul

It could be Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, or another favorite Billionaire. The point of the question is, to ask yourself what you’d do if money and time (and therefore freedom) were unlimited.

If you removed any obstacles from your current thinking – if there were literally no barriers for you do anything you want, forever – what exactly would you do?

I’ve asked hundreds of people this question in some form or another in 20+ years. Often, I am surprised to learn that many people have never thought about what they really want. They haven’t really considered the, “What’s YOUR dream?” question.

If you don’t know the answer, which is OK, then how do you know what you really want? More importantly, how do you know if you already have it? (Which is a fantastic answer, BTW.)

Although I’m not a life coach, I do occasionally play one on TV, as they say. I am genuinely curious about what makes friends, family, and colleagues tick, so I ask them. Often.

Big dreams don’t have to be unrealistic!  First, though, it’s critical to know what your dreams truly are.  Maybe you’re already living them?

After you think about the cool things you would buy for yourself and others, what you would give to charity, and the fabulous trips you would take, what about the rest of your life?

How do your family and friends enter your mind? Often, people say they’d spend most or all of their time with their family. Great! This might mean you’d love more work/life balance. So, things like paying someone to do yard work or housekeeping on occasion to free up an extra weekend day to spend with family might make sense.

Sometimes, people share overarching dreams like “Join the Peace Corps,” “Write a book,” “Get a PhD,” or other similarly BIG things.

We all have a book in us!  Writing a few snippets first is easy.  Add them together for a book!

Happily, pieces of these dreams are often readily, even freely, available to do right now (in a less-dramatic fashion.)

For example:

The Peace Corps is amazing but can be impractical for people with families and jobs.  How about volunteering for a couple hours a month to start?

  • “Write a book” can translate into writing a book that can be self-published and sold on Amazon. Even easier, how about a blog? Easier yet, how about a LinkedIn post?
  • “Get a PhD” can translate into learning something of interest. MIT and other universities offer most of their classes for free online for curious types (not for credit.) You can download apps to learn languages, listen to TED Talks, or download free audio books to listen during your commute. Anything you have an interest in, you can probably learn a PhD-worth, for free.

Do you really want a PhD, or are you simply excited to learn a lot about something interesting?

The goal is, to really ask yourself the question: “What would I do if there were no time or money limitations on my life?”

Because after a little thought, it usually points you to your passion. And once you unearth that gem, everything might get just a little bit more fun.

The biggest hidden treasure might be the answer to what you’d do if you had a billion dollars.

Big dreams start with small steps. So while we are all waiting for those billion-dollar checks, if we know what we really care most passionately about, we can start with a few little steps right now that will help us feel happier and more complete.

I’d love to hear from you about any ideas or insights! Please leave a comment or connect with me @CharityIdeas on Twitter or on LinkedIn.

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