Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Million Dollar Project

WEEK 1 12/27/2009

My friend, some say "money can't buy happiness", but the lack of money, and the stress that comes with it, can chase it away. If you stumbled upon this blog, you may take one look at the title and think, "Uh, million dollar project? Yeah, this is just another scheme for some a-hole to make a dollar." Well, my friend, my reply to you would be... you're right, it is. I'm a college student and I want to raise about $3000 for my online business, but despite the ploy and my admittance of this, it is not a SCAM. I mean this. The questions this project will pose is, "How much do you value $1?" "Do you love money more than you think?" and "Would 1,000,000 people give a stranger 1 dollar-- if they knew it would make that man/woman rich?"

If you find these questions to be though-provoking than you know that I am serious when I say the Million Dollar Project is a project, and you should stick around and subscribe to this blog. This is indeed a project and I believe this will be an experience that you will find worth more than what it appears to be. I don't really don't care if you end up participating or not, if you are reading this now, I am already grateful that you would take time out of your busy schedule to better understand the true purpose behind the Million Dollar Project. Before we begin, open up Microsoft Word, or get a piece of paper and a pen. I want you to document your feelings at some very exact moments, all you have to do is look for (Document) and then record at that very moment how you felt.

This project will last only 12 months, so if for the next 12 months you can find the time in your busy day to read this post weekly, I believe it will captivate you. Enough, let me introduce myself. My name is... well, I don't think I am going to tell you. (And for good reason, stick around and I'll tell you why) Instead, just call me Mr. Millionaire. Yes, Mr. Millionaire. Does that bother you? (Document) If it does, than look towards the bottom of the page to see the donate button. Now, I know you don't know me and I am sure after seeing that donate button you are bothered. Why? (Document) Unconsciously, money made you do it! Ok, that's another week's blog, right now, let me at least tell you exactly what the million dollar project is.

This is an experiment about money and how it influences and affects the lives of people especially when they are making decisions around money. Yes, I'm almost sure you are saying to yourself, "Listen, buddy I'm not going to contribute in any way, shape, or form to this friggin' project! Yes, I know you have already made your decision. My friend, this is exactly where I want your mind to be, because of this very mindset, it is with great passion that I will be writing and updating this blog weekly. The idea that the rich and the poor are equal before the law and that the vote of a rich man counts just as much as that of a poor man are two of the most radical ideas in human history. Now remember, I told you to call me, Mr. Millionaire. I could very well be. How do you feel about that donate button on the bottom of the page now? (Document)

It is a project that will examine humanity, intellect, compassion, and the very emotional and mental attachment that many tie into their money. For those of you who appreciate the fine art of the pen and pad, go no further, because you will grow this million dollar project with me whether you give one red cent or not. All I really request is your time. Allow me to challenge you, invoke you, inspire you, puzzle you, and ultimately free you throughout the course of this experience. Are you ready? If so, let us begin Week 1 of the Million Dollar Project.

Week 1's Question: What is money to you?
The most common answers I hear people say are along the lines of “something you buy stuff with”. While this answer is not wrong, it’s only a seriously limited view of what money actually is. For example, did you know that if you leave your money in the bank gathering interest, you actually lose a little bit of it every year? Yes, it's true. You actually lose money by keeping it in a savings account while your account balance gets higher. I'm not going to go into this, this is something you should consult with your bank, since the bank is one of the many who gets to make a couple of bucks off of you. The point is money to so many is that "something" that you buy "stuff" with. If it was just that, many wouldn't be so attached to it.

About a year ago, I was caught off guard recently when my 9-year-old daughter, who attends a public school, requested a cellphone. I sort of snapped at her. I said, "Don't think that you're some rich kid, because you're not." Even though I know my daughter rarely expresses envy of her more affluent friends, I believe in my heart that I had an "unedited moment" revealing my anxiety over being in a world where other parents have more money than I do. Last night I saw just how discomfing money's effects can be as I watched one my favorite films, Friends with Money.

If you haven't watched it, it's basically about four female friends, three who are set financially and one who's barely getting by. The most compelling scene is when the friends are gathered for dinner and Olivia, a former schoolteacher played by Jennifer Aniston, announces that she has started working as a maid. A few moments later Franny, played by Joan Cusack, says she and her husband will be making a $2 million donation to their child's elementary school. When another friend asks why Franny doesn't just give the money to Olivia, everyone laughs uncomfortably and the subject is changed.

It seems as if money is talked about with such discomfort; it's like it's so taboo. My friend, why is that? What kind of stronghold does money have over people. Is it truly everything? One thing I've noticed is that the mere thought of money can turn a person selfish, to the point that one cares less about others and prefers to be alone in life. We've all done it. Yes, you've done it! Think about it, it makes sense. Why wouldn't you feel like Rick James, and proclaim to the world, "I'm rich bitch!"

While doing some research online, I discovered on a website called that there was a series of online experiments and researchers found that money enhanced people's motivation to achieve their own goals and degraded their behavior towards others. They suggested that the concept of money, makes a person feel more self-sufficient and thus more apt to stand alone. The scientists said the study had nothing to do with making a person feel wealthy. When real or fake money, or even a photo of cash, was placed in sight of participants, they became selfish. What about you?

Do you become selfish when money is in your sights? Are you attached to money? Even a little? As an college student who grew my business from nothing to over $200 a week in revenue, I’ve learned some really important lessons about money along the way. One of the most important for me is the idea that money has any meaning you assign to it. So, first think about how you experience money in your world today. Before technology took over, you probably saw more of your money. Now, it’s very rare to see even a small percentage of your money—it’s become even more of an abstraction. Whether your money exists as coins clinking in your purse, bills crumpled in your pocket, stacks lined up neatly in your wallet, or bits and bytes traveling through the market, it only has the value that you assign to it.

Included in this assignment of the value of money, is the signing of tremendous meaning and emotion. To some, money is simply energy. To others, having more money means having more power. Some people feel that if someone else gives them money, then they owe the other person something. Some people feel wealthy even though they are living below the poverty line. Others, who are drenched in tens and even hundreds of thousands, hell, even millions, feel like they don’t have enough.

So, where do you stand? My friend this is only Week 1 of the Million Dollar Project Here is the first exercise that have helped me to understand that money takes on whatever meaning I assign to it. Once I really understood this idea, I realized that the meanings I had assigned to money were controlling my emotional responses to it. Once I got a handle on my emotions associated with money, I got a handle on getting as much money as I needed to do whatever it was I wanted to do.

Exercise 1: What does money mean to you?
Make a list of what money means to you and be brutally honest with yourself. No political correctness here. How you feel about money is what drives your behavior, so if money represents evil, greed and the worst of society, then you’re going to have a problem making it. Whereas, if money represents freedom, comfort, choice, security, and philanthropy, those are positive attitudes that can open up your own personal financial floodgates. Simply subscribe to this blog and post your answer in the comments field.

My friend, this completes Week 1 of the Million Dollar Project. I want to leave you with a statement to say over the next 48 hours: Money doesn't make me, I make money! Freakish? Just say it, and write in the comments how it made you feel. Again, this is the Million Dollar Project and I am challenging 1,000,000 people to donate just 1 dollar, (you can do more if you would like to) so if you believe that this blog will benefit you in some way, shape or form, is it too much for this stranger to ask you to click on the donate button and donate one measley dollar to this cause? Think about this, how do you feel about this? (Document) If you are not yet comfortable doing so, can you at least get two others to read my blog. Thank you very much for your participaton. Next Post will be in 72 hours. Week 2 promises to be explosive so have your comments posted.