Possessions vs Experiences: Straight From the Horse’s Mouth

I recently found this article on Quora, and it really piqued my interest. I’ve always had the opinion that spending money on experiences is far more rewarding than accumulating material goods, and this (supposed) billionaire has reinforced this in his answer to an almost unrelated question.

The question is “What does it feel like to be a self-made millionaire under the age of 25?”

And here’s the answer that caught my attention: (Note: I bolded my favorite sections)

“I’ve been featured on the homepage of Yahoo! as a millionaire, offered 3 separate reality TV shows – including that terrible Millionaire Dating one on Bravo. I bought a luxury car with cash on my 16th birthday, owned a house a few years later.

Hitting $1m was a non-event, I don’t even know the exact date it happened. The dividends just all of a sudden added up, and it was there. I celebrated by buying myself a used Rolex. A few years later I also did a vacation where I “tried to spend as much money as possible” – but I still found myself gravitating towards “values” on the wine list rather than blowing it all out by spending thousands on a bottle, which I thought was silly.

Hitting 8-figures was a bit more substantial, I knew it meant I’d never, ever have to work again unless something went terribly wrong. The closing call with the law firm was one of the biggest anti-climaxes of my life. I had already “owned” the money in my head years before hand, so seeing it crystallize on my bank statement didn’t make a huge difference, except that it freed me up to start tackling bucket-list items.

I had been postponing so many experiences with the idea of “doing it at some point in the future when I made it” that I just started tackling them one by one. Superbowl. Sundance. SobeFest. Africa. A month around Europe. 3-Star Michelin dining.

The only “awkward” thing I keep running into repeatedly, is other people’s comments about wealth or money. Whether it’s a tour guide pointing out a hotel that costs $1000/night and everybody in the tour bus gasps (and it’s where I’m staying) or taxi drivers making snarky comments about millionaires, or people suggesting it’s my “lucky day and I should buy a lotto ticket” – I run into it repeatedly and predictably, but I always tend to keep my mouth shut and not say anything.

Along the way, the most interesting phenomenon has been “adaptation”. Moving from a $300K apartment to a $1m one barely made a difference after the first month.

Jumping from that to something 60% bigger, and oceanfront (on the beach) that was worth over $2m barely made a blip after the first few weeks.

Buying a fancy, fast sports car – yes, I did it, but again people tend to massively overestimate the “joy” or “happiness” that a particular item will give them vs. reality. After a few weeks, it just sits there. The anticipation, wait and planning is almost better than the realization of the event itself.

When they say “it’s all about the journey, rather than the destination” that’s absolutely true. The part that I’ve most enjoyed is hanging out, meeting and become friends with amazing, successful, smart and ambitious entrepreneurs. It’s inspiring, invigorating, and just plain fun. 

I still don’t have a private plane or NetJets card, I fly economy-class around North America most of the time, I don’t even have a maid to do my cleaning. I prefer to buy clothes when they go on sale, and I cringe at people who waste thousands on Gucci-this or Prada-that. I upgrade my MacBook every few years, not every model. I still use an original iPad. I’ve never bought a new car (except for my parents). The biggest TV in my apartment is 42″.

Experiences, even when they cost thousands of dollars a day, so far have been my best investments. I’ve stopped postponing as much as I used to. The best time is “now”, but to be honest, I could have done many of these things much earlier, and on a lower-budget, and probably still had a great time.

Try this as a test–

Make a list of all physical things you would buy if you had $10 million. Let your mind roam free. Don’t limit yourself to the reasonable.

It’s not that long, is it?

And if you worked a decade, or more to earn that money, you’d cross 90% off the items off that list anyway. There’s amazingly few physical things that are worth spending money off once you’ve covered the basics. If I gave you $100K in cash and told you to spend it in a day, you’d be hard pressed unless you bought jewellery, or a car.

Gadgets? Clothes? A bigger TV? Unless money fell from the sky into your lap, you’re probably going to be quite pragmatic about what you invest in. There’s a reason why most lottery winners end up bankrupt within a few years.

The utility of money once you get past a certain threshold is very limited. And I honestly think that most people who want to be “rich” don’t really mean it. What they are really saying is that they’d like someone to hand them a check.

But when push comes to shove, and there’s hard work, sacrifices, and tears involved, they’d rather spend 4-hours a day watching TV along with the rest of America.”


Life Pyramid

The Life Pyramid is a little diagram I came up with to illustrate our relationship with ourselves and the world around us. Here’s the explanation:

Mind/Body/Soul: The foundation of everything in life

These are, by far, the things we have the most control of. Everything that happens externally is a reflection of what’s happening internally.

What is a strong mind? Being the master of your thoughts and emotions, not a slave to them. Using your mind to project positivity, visualize a goal, and have the willpower necessary to attain goals.

What is a strong body? In harmony, free of dysfunction. Free of tension. Reliable. Able to perform tasks with relative ease. The temple. A vehicle to make life easier more enjoyable.

What about the soul/spirit? The intangible, omnipotent force that resides behind your conscious mind. Pure energy. Pure love. Pure consciousness. When you stop becoming a slave to your thoughts, you open yourself up to the universe and the soul/spirit starts working it’s magic. When you’re in touch with it, situations arise, people come into your life to guide you, and you realize how malleable reality is.

Aura: The energy you project

This is the result of the mind/body/soul being in a positive state and acting harmoniously. It’s the vibe you get from people, and people get from you. It’s when you’re operating at the right frequency. It’s the energy you project to the world. When people gravitate towards you because of your amicable disposition. When strangers ask you for advice because you seem approachable. When people feel at ease around you. It’s all of those unspoken, intangible things that are conveyed externally from your inner self.

Interactions: What you do and how you interact with the world around you

These are the actions you take throughout life. The choices you make. What you say. What you do. Interactions affect others and the world around you, as well as yourself. A person who has mastered everything described above interacts with reality in a way that benefits the world around them, and brings happiness to themselves and others.

Legacy: The intangibles you leave behind in this reality

This is how you affect this reality during your time here. What you leave behind. Your mark on this plane of existence. It is the culmination of everything else in the Life Pyramid.


Promising Origins

How it all started:

When asked “How are you?” I often found myself saying Feelin good, feelin great. Feelin great, feelin good. How are you? (See the video above if you’re not getting this. Great song too btw.)

As my life progresses, it’s becoming more and more apparent that I have a knack for feeling awesome, both physically and mentally. And I think this is a skill/behavior that I can share with others.

What it’s all about:

The general purpose of FGFG (yeah, that’s the acronym) is to simplify health, fitness, and spiritual principles for the continuous enhancement of overall well-being. (See the “Mission Statement” page for more details as well)

Helping people is one of the best feelings. When someone thanks you and shows gratitude for something helpful you’ve done, it’s an intrinsic form of happiness. You help yourself by helping others.

I actually found this on my teabag the other night. How fitting, right?

*Let’s break it down*
What is feeling great?
It’s when the mind, body, and spirit are in harmony.When they are operating without interruption or dysfunction. It’s pure happiness.

Why do we want to feel great?
When you’re mind, body, and soul are continuously improving and working harmoniously, this carries over into every aspect of life. What good is a strong mind if your body is falling apart? What good is a strong body if you have no control over your mind state? What good is spirituality if you neglect physical reality? The mind, body, and spiritual connection is the foundation of a great, happy life. And doesn’t everyone ultimately want happiness? That’s what feelin good, feelin great is.