I recall an interview with Gary Vee where he was asked if there was a point where everything changed for him – a turning point. He said no – there is not one moment. I don’t remember exactly what he said next, but I can tell you this: there are lots of them.
For me, the most memorable, we’re not so much telling me where to go. But instead how to find where I’m going. They were like riddles, where the path from not knowing to understanding is the aligned with purpose. Let this be a list to help guide you in your search for meaning. Recognizing you have the answer within is half the battle.
1. My Value
When I was somewhere between the ages of 3 and 5 years old, I learned my value. My Dad is a car guy and I was his “cruisin” buddy. I would ride shotgun in his 1976 Ford Ranchero, running various errands mostly hitting all the hardware stores in a 15-mile radius, grocery shopping, and reading magazines. On the weekends we would take the family sedan to the car shows, drag races, or the ferry to a Mariners game. Other than sports I grew up around cars.
One of my favorites was a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible. The white one that was only ever driven with the top down, and the most beautiful woman I have ever seen with her blonde hair flowing in the wind. She looked like she was straight out of a scene in a movie. She ALWAYS smiled and waved as she drove by.
One day she stopped. She turned to my dad and said, “I’ll trade you my Corvette for his red hair.” My Dad declined. I was worth more than a Corvette to my Dad, but more importantly, she wanted me. That’s when I knew I had worth.
That moment is probably why I had mediocre grades, went to a school that’s not famous, and lean toward a 3 on the enneagram. I can get the woman of my dreams if I really wanted her.
What more does someone need other than that kind of confidence? Well, they need a challenge – assuming they’re like me and developed an idea somewhere that the whole purpose of living is to find someone that you marry and take an on the adventure of life. I’m not sure where I came up with that. Maybe because it seemed like my parents were always taking us places to visit. I’m not quite sure. But that does sound right. Or at least part of the reason. So, if I could get a movie star like that woman, just think what I could get if I already had the Corvette! 🤣
Now, when my Dad told me I didn’t understand the value of money I had an existential crisis. First of all, it must be something I should know. Second that means I don’t understand the value of a Corvette. And if I’m more valuable than material possessions – I don’t know my own value.
Well, I’ll never be able to settle down with anyone if I don’t understand our value. That’s pretty fucked up if you think about it. Especially when you believe yourself to be invaluable. What does that even mean if you don’t understand value to begin with. That’s kind of a twisted head. One side of your head is computing a problem while the other side of your head is presenting what you believe to be invaluable. Until you realize it’s just not worth it. And then both sides of the brain give into putting the problem first. Which doesn’t allow you to live in the moment. So you find ways to tell yourself that this moment is a moment where you don’t have to have the problem solved to be invaluable. Because each moment shared is an invaluable moment. Sometimes the answer to the problem is the problem. What is value? Value is what you make it.
When I was around 6 or 7, maybe older, there was a clown making animal balloons. I told my dad I was going to go find out how much they cost, because I thought they were free. As I walked up to the clown, a kid beat me to the punch and asked the clown, “Are these free?”
“Nothing in this world is free.”
Now, I know that I don’t understand the value of money. But, I had no idea that you couldn’t get anything without it. I’ve gotten plenty of things for free. The clowns voice haunted me as I walked back to my dad. My Dad asked if they were free. I said, I don’t know? Nothing in this world is free. And my dad said, we’ll do you want one? I said no. I felt like my dad shouldn’t give that guy any money.
Now I have this challenge to understand money. Because I do not want to get in fights with my wife about a car payment. In fact, I never want to have a car payment. I got so sick of hearing about Fucking car payments as a kid that I swore I would never have one. I’m 38 years old. Still no car payment.
I wanted to be a millionaire. I knew then that I would understand the value of money. But more importantly I would learn one very important thing while funding my calling in life. To find value. That one important thing is: How to share what I’ve learned wisely.
Hmmm, what would make it wise: one message, unwavering, undeniable when understood, and tantalizingly true.
That message might be something like:
Value is shared, not stored.
Give and you shall receive.
Like the time my Dad talked me into Jolly Rancher instead of other candy. He told me that if I buy Jolly Rancher it supports the Jolly Rancher Fire Truck that was doing wheelies at the drag strip. In fact it supports all the Jolly Rancher race car drivers. I have my money to the mercantile so that the owner Paul knew to continue ordering Jolly Ranchers so that we could support flame throwing, wheelie popping Fire trucks at drag shows across the nation.
That seemed like I was getting the most value. I got to watch a really cool stunt and take home candy. Win – win. It was like a BOGO sale!