One Million Isn’t Your Goal

When I was 23, I wrote on a dollar bill “#1 of $1,000,000” and was naive enough to think this is what it would take to make it in the world.  If I could get here, I would be doing the right thing.  If you don’t believe me, here it is still framed in my office.  I still use it as motivation, but in a very different light.

$1 Million Goal

$1 Million Goal

Nine years later, I reflect back and laugh at the ignorance of my younger self.  If I had one million dollars right now, would I have the world by the balls?


Money will not be the sole driver to anyone’s success and truth be told, why only one million?  The efforts required to reach ten million aren’t really that different from one million.  Yes, it is ten times the amount but most people that make ten times their peers don’t work 10x harder.  There isn’t enough time in the day.  If you’re ONLY interested in the money, set a bigger goal!

However, the more important viewpoint isn’t to focus on the number because inevitably when you hit it, then what?  Please don’t tell me you’ll buy stuff.  You’ll end up just as unfulfilled, but with stuff.  People spend their whole lives working for the man only to end up retired at 65 with nothing to do and no ideas of where to start.  Want to know what boredom looks like?  This is it.  It is followed by unhappiness.  Even the guys in Grumpy Old Men had fishing as a hobby!

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The secret then, as Tim Ferris teaches in “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated)“, isn’t to delay life’s treasures forever, but to embrace them along the way.  Enjoy mastering your craft at the same time you’re enjoying and living life to the fullest.

Daniel Pink expounds on this topic as well in this terrific video, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motives Us”.  I promise you it’s worth the ten minutes.

People aren’t only looking for one million dollars.  They’re looking for autonomy and mastery.  They’re looking to be themselves and to enjoy their craft.  People want to be challenged and contribute.  It won’t take too many companies like Google to see that success and achievement run a parallel path to people enjoying what they do.

Can you still have the goal of making money?  I really believe the answer is a resounding yes.  There is nothing wrong with making money.  There is nothing wrong with making a ton or a little money.  It is a resource.  Some value it more than others.  I do wish people understood it better, but that is a completely different conversation.

Where do you go from here?

ACTION ITEM:  Follow the List Below

  1. Do set a goal for your income.  It’s important to you and your family.  Take actions to fulfill the goal then 10X it.
  2. Also set a goal for autonomy.  Where would you like to have more freedom?  Or, what do you need to do to earn more freedom?
  3. Seek out a new challenge.  Learn a new language, plan a vacation, start a blog, etc. Successful people love a new challenge.  Seek and destroy!
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