Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Want To Carrot

Some colleagues and I used to play 5-a-side Football once a week and then grab a beer afterwards. A few years back, I can remember a discussion with Tom and Matt about what we would do if we won the lottery. Ironically, having a lot of money can be very complicated. Lottery winners get this complication thrust on them. 'Old Money' build the skill over generations, unless a generation blow it and the next bunch start from scratch. In 'David & Goliath', Malcolm Gladwell talks about how there seems to be a Purple Patch of wealth. Not so little that you don't have enough, and so money is a stress, and not so much that money becomes a stress. 

People who are loaded face a whole bunch of velvet problems. It may be that they start to have a number of people who are financially dependent on them. We moan about concepts like universal salaries and how they could potentially make people lazy. Vox recently covered research on 7 welfare programs to see if they made people lazy. They didn't. The uber wealthy have been dealing with this for a while. When you don't have to work for money, what do you do? 'Work for work's sake' is argued as a way of keeping people busy to keep them out of mischief. But if you know the work is effectively just killing time, and you are just a place holder... that isn't particularly fulfilling work. It is dehumanising. 

The Uber wealthy also have to deal with problems of excess. Although I was by no means poor growing up, there were plenty of occasions when my parents said No. I knew they weren't saying No just because they were trying to teach me a lesson. They were saying No because they didn't have the option of saying Yes. Wealthy parents need to put artificial boundaries in place if they want to teach kids lessons. Kids can sniff out artificiality. Hardship is often a great teacher. Comfort is often a trap.

So many people say that if they won the Lottery, they would keep it secret. Tom, Matt and I all agreed we would keep ours jobs. We would slowly tweak our lifestyle with some small changes, but nothing too drastic. We would add space. The only real change would be a mental reframing of our choices. There would be a feeling like we were doing what were doing 'because we want to' not because we have to. 

'Have to' is a stick. 'Want to' is a carrot. 

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