The quality of answers you receive depends on the quality of questions you ask. I either heard or read that somewhere. I like to ask my friends the 100 Million Dollar Question.
If you had $100M, what would you do?
You’d be surprised how few dwell on some version of jet-setting lavish extended vacation lifestyle. This comes up, of course, but soon some other things creep in, things the person holds near and dear to their heart. Sometimes, things just dying to be expressed.
Really, what would $100M do? There’s a few categories I can think of for answers.
First, as mentioned above, is luxury mode a la carte. Blank check. Trust fund baby. Open mouth, insert platinum spoon. But this is a boring answer and, thankfully, is heard rarely and the words soon end.
The opposite spectrum is someone who would give it away. 100%. Or something close. Altruistic, yes, but sort of boring, too.
Both of these answers can be improved with follow-up questions. Asking how the funds will be spent or given peels back the layers of who the person is at the core.
We’re considered a lazy generation. Maybe I have un-lazy friends. But from what I’ve found, few contemplate, at least in theory, laying around to be fun. We want to be active. Engaged. Doing something of value. Purposeful. Something full of meaning.
So if someone is lazy… perhaps it’s discipline not matching the dream. Or activities divorced from the dream. If you are a teacher, manager, mentor, or other task-assigner, do you just hand out to-do lists? Or do you work to fan the flame of whatever core is asleep in the recipient?
Where am I going with this? Money is not an end in itself. Money is a means to an end. If you are subconsciously seeking after money but have forgotten the purpose behind it, then you may find yourself taking the long way round. Asking yourself what you would do with $100M frees you from this trap.
That’s what I love about this question. I get to see their heart for the world. And get to sow a seed of how a more modest version of that same vision is possible. Right Now. And then let them choose.
What would I do with $100M? I have my opinions on this. But I really think I would become a lazy, narcissistic jerk because I wouldn’t have to become something more. I wouldn’t have the daily discipline of serving others, to keep money flowing my way to cover my needs and responsibilities. Maybe I could handle it, maybe not.
I want another ten years of the discipline of contributing every day. Of completing what I start. Of initiating in relationships. Of going the long haul. Of getting rubbed wrong with raw reality to scrape away the sinful self in me.
Make that another hundred years. But what about other forms of wealth? What if I had a thousand people who listened to me? How would I parlay that influence for good? How would I serve them and serve through them?
What would you do with $100M?