The Real Million-Dollar Question

For those of you on dating apps like hinge and bumble, you might be familiar with some of the prompts you can answer and post to your public profile. They are designed to cultivate meaningful conversation with the expectation that two strangers can connect intellectually, rather than objective appearance. One of these questions is (or is similar to), “If you could donate a million dollars, it would be to…” and then you finish the sentence.

Think about something that you could donate a million dollars to. It might be a non-profit, a religious organization, a person very dear to you, or towards any cause you care about. The reason this question is effective is because when you are given a hypothetical opportunity to donate a million dollars to anything you want, it reveals who your character really is. It reveals your passions, ambitions, sensitivities, intellect, and so on. Two people who value the same things in life and would be willing to donate a million dollars to similar causes might, in fact, be attracted to one another. For dating apps, this question makes sense! It’s effective at revealing who you are, while fostering the opportunity at a intellectual conversation.

This breakdown of dating apps and questions may be somewhat embellished, but the question proves a point. Money can reveal who you are as a person.

This question, however, is also tricky. It asks, “how would you donate a million dollars?” It does not ask, “what would you do with a million dollars?” This question is truly more revealing. Why? Because most people are more selfish than you might think.

The Million Dollar Question

So ask yourself the million dollar question – “If I wake up tomorrow with a million dollars and I could do whatever I wanted to do with it, what would I do?”

What were some of the very first few things that popped into your head? Would you quit your job? Would you travel the world? Would you pay off your student loans? Maybe you’d take your friends and family to a nice, expensive meal or five. Drinks on you? Sure! With a fortune like that, who wouldn’t want to have some fun, right?

But how many scenarios went through your head of yourself enjoying that million dollars before you began to ask yourself the question of “how can I help other people with this money?”

Think about that question instead. Now you answers might be a little different. This time you said you wanted to use that money to start your own business, or invest it in the marketplace. Maybe wanted to give it all away, and donate it to a charity or person you care about. How is this different?

Money Mindset is the Difference.

Think about these two scenarios. In which scenario do you control the money, and in which does it control you? If you woke up with a million dollars tomorrow and called your boss and proclaimed “I QUIT!” well then, there is probably a good reason that you aren’t waking up with a million dollars. The money controls you. If you call all your friends and family and tell them “drinks and food are on me all night every night!” well, the money controls you.

If you woke up with a million dollars and started a business at the service of others, now you control the money. If you donated a large portion of it to a cause you care about out of pure selflessness and passion it’s because you control the money. If you invested it into the marketplace so that one day you could donate even more than a million dollars it is because you control the money.

It’s the same money, but two very different mindsets.

It’s okay to be selfish with your money. After all, it is still your money.

Don’t get it too confused. It’s okay to be selfish with your money. If you have hundreds of thousands of student loan debt, pay it off! If you have never been out of the country, go exploring! If you want to show your family and friends your appreciation for them over a nice meal, dine them! But use caution. With that quantity of money and lack of discipline it’s easy to perpetuate self-indulgence. You can’t grow very much as a person when everything can be bought for your own indulgence! The money controls you.

But if you stop to think “what else could I do with this money to serve a greater purpose other than myself?” and act on your disciplines to do something for the service of others, imagine the person you will become! Imagine you wake up with a million dollars and decide to donate it all instead. Imagine the experience you will gain if you used it to start a business. Imagine the stimulus you can achieve by investing it back into the marketplace. The person you can become by using the money for the service of others is boundless.

Build a Relationship With Your Money

It is important to ask yourself these questions because, although it may reveal who your character is on your bumble profile, it actually reveals the relationship you have with your money. How well developed is your money mindset? Do you control your money, or does your money control you? Your relationship with money will last your entire lifetime, and it the one relationship you simply can not break up with. Those who do are as rare as diamonds. If the relationship is inevitable, the best thing you can do for yourself and for others is to strengthen your bond and control over your money.

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