Do you want to get rich? Do you want to have so much money that it’s obscene? Well, it’s easy! Just stop focusing on earning or saving money and focus on creating value and giving to others. Not only will you get rich over time, but by giving value to others, whether it’s valuable advice, laughter or a genuine human connection, you’ll feel better too. And yes, most people won’t reciprocate your gift. That’s okay. It wouldn’t be a gift if it was quid pro quo. You earn good karma for helping others and giving feels better than taking.
So how do you create a million dollars in value? Everyone has their own unique skill set that others find valuable, so I can’t tell you something like: “Create a website for every senior citizen you know, they value websites at forty dollars each.” This challenge is not about assigning a specific monetary value to every interaction you have with a person. It’s about doing more than is expected in every interaction you have. All of us, especially me, can always do more. You can give this extra value at work by doing more than what they pay you to do, especially if it won’t get recognized. Or, you can even do it for one of your hobbies: For example, if you love playing tennis, give some free lessons.
Although the focus should not be on the actual monetary sum, discussing the sum can help make my idea clearer. Giving one million dollars in value can occur in various ways. You can give one person a million dollars in value, give a million people a dollar in value, or give something in between. Coming up with one great million dollar gift or a million really small gifts seems really difficult to me. A more realistic goal is to divide up the million dollars by the number of days in the year, which rounds to $2,740. Now try to give $2,740 in value every day. Some days you might give twenty-seven hundred people a dollar of value, other days you give three people a thousand dollars of value. For the internet inclined, if you have a blog with 2,700 readers, and you can give a dollar of value a day to each of your readers, you’ll hit the million dollar mark easily (and probably end up with more readers by the end of the year).
And yes, I feel like a hippy writing this, but my experiences over the past couple of years have me really believing this is true. When I’ve given someone something without expecting anything in return, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Posting free comedy tips on my website has led to successful comics getting in touch with me. Giving other comics stage time and not asking for anything in return has led to me getting stage time. I didn’t write tips or ask people to do shows so that they’d help me out, I just did it because it seemed like the good thing to do. The things I’ve received back in return were all just nice unintended side effects. However, every time I’ve pitched someone, asked them for something, or expected something in return, I’ve gotten nothing. (And deservedly so!)
So go ahead, take the million dollar challenge.