“Once you have enough money for beans and rice and taking care of your family and a few other things, money is a story. And you can tell yourself any story you want but it’s better to tell yourself a story about money that you can happily live with.” ~ Seth Godin
Money. It’s just a piece of paper with some print and pictures on it. Everyone believes that a $5 bill is worth $5 – but without that mutual belief being present, money is worth nothing. It only has a certain value because we say it does.
And carrying around cash is becoming less and less popular. Money is shifting away from pieces of paper to just being a number on a computer screen or a cell phone. You get paid and that number goes up. You tap your credit card and that number goes down. But is that number a reflection of your worth as a human?
Society would say yes. “In our culture, making more money feels like winning, and winning feels like the point.”
Funny, crazy, or admirable?
“When you think of the word successful, who is the first person that comes to mind?”
This is a question that Tim Ferriss frequently asks on his podcast to guests. There are some common responses – Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, etc. I was listening to an episode recently where Rolf Potts, author of Vegabonding, provided an interesting answer to this question – Dave Chappelle.
Dave Chappelle is an American comedian who was born in 1973. He studied theatre arts in high school and began performing stand-up comedy shows when he was 14. At the age of 19, he moved to New York City to pursue a career as a comedian. In the following years, he appeared in movies like The Nutty Professor (alongside fellow comedian and one of Chappelle’s childhood idles, Eddie Murphy) and Blue Streak. But the tipping point in his career came in 2003 when he launched his own show – Chappelle’s Show – on Comedy Central.
Chappelle’s Show was a massive success. As of 2005, season one was the best selling TV series of all time, and season two became the fastest selling DVD set in history following its release. Esquire named Chappelle the “comic genius in America.” And the momentum was set to continue with the planned release of season three in 2005.
But then Chappelle disappeared. He cancelled season three and turned down a 50 million dollar contract that was going to come with it. What did he do instead?
He moved to a small Ohio town to be near his family.
People literally thought there was something wrong with Chappelle. He must have gone insane – no one in their right mind would turn down $50,000,000.
“It’s very hard to go to someone about this because no one has done this before,” said Chappelle about turning down the money. “So there’s not too many people who don’t think I’m crazy.
He added, “I look at it like this: I’m at a restaurant with my wife — it’s a nice restaurant and we’re eating dinner. I look across the room and see this guy eating dinner and I say, ‘You see this guy across the room? He has $100 million, and we’re eating the same entree.’ Okay, fine, I don’t have $50 million or whatever it was. Let’s say I have $10 million in the bank — the difference in lifestyle is miniscule. Money is the fuel for choices…That’s not nothing, it’s something, but it’s not the end-all be-all.”
Dave created his own definition of success. Society might have labelled him crazy. But those who saw and knew him at the time said he was fit, happy, and around the people he loved.
Some may think Chappelle is crazy. I think he’s admirable.
What do you think?