What I Learned about Life After Winning It
We all grew up wishing we had more money. I’ll be the first to admit it. I wanted to be rich. Which was funny, because my family was already rich. That’s what happens when you’re pulling 80-hour weeks as a private surgeon in Malaysia. You go places. But I wanted to be richer. Because I was spoiled, and I didn’t know anything about the world. And by some miracle, I actually made it. But I didn’t find what I expected to.
I heard a phrase when I was growing up. “Doing lines off white bitches.” It means snorting drugs on top of white girls who are lying down on their back. Usually shirtless. It’s the ultimate symbol of moral depravity. Complete hedonism. “Living the high life”, if you ask some people. I honestly thought that’s what being rich was like.
I thought I wouldn’t have a care in the world. That happiness would be a constant. That I’d never have to stray far to find something fun to do. I wasn’t sure if doing lines was going to be my thing, but surely the money would be able to find me some senseless fun. But boy, was I wrong.
The funny thing about money is that it alerts you to problems you never knew you had. It’s the same as power in this regard: Money just amplifies what’s already there. If you’ve got issues, they don’t disappear when you have money. They get stronger.
I quickly realized that the “high life” I unlocked thanks to my wealth wasn’t fulfilling. I know you’ve heard this all before, and I was skeptical about it, too, but money can’t always buy happiness. The common version of that phrase, “money can’t buy happiness”, is inaccurate. If you think money can’t buy happiness, you just don’t know where to shop. The problem is, sometimes happiness is created by things money can’t buy. Such as stories.
Here’s one for you: Just over a month ago, I became a sponsor of one of a young YouTubers I’ve been following for a while. I’ve always wanted to support creative people I admire. So this was a dream come true, for me. Best part is, we talk all the time, now. Our values are similar. We think about things and laugh together. This is a lot more than just a sponsorship. And here’s the thing: Money can’t buy that.
Sure, the money opened the door in the first place. But to avoid it being closed respectfully in your face, you’ve got to have other things. Personality. Persistence. Character. Money can’t buy that. You have to earn it. And that’s what makes this little dream of mine possible. This dear artist of mine wouldn’t be so amicable if I was just a stuffy rich person. And honestly, the relationship is more important than anything I can do for her, and anything she can do for me.
Amassing money taught me that money doesn’t matter all that much. And the things that do matter are tricky to find. If you went back in time and told me this was the thing that’d eventually make me love my life, I would’ve laugh myself silly. But I wish you could’ve convinced me. Because knowing this would’ve saved me lots of time, energy, and disappointment.