I love to hear the phrase “when I’m rich and famous”. Usually, it’s tossed around by people who have no plans to be rich and famous, do nothing to help raise their social profile, and most likely won’t end up ever being anywhere near rich or famous. So in these cases - it has very little to do with a realistic scenario.
A lot of it boils down to pure chance. By pure chance or by being in the right place at the right time, you happen to get offered an opportunity that someone else doesn’t have. But chance still only affects the people who are ultimately looking for it. That’s a lesson I tried to wrap my brain around when I was a nerd who spent all his time in his parents’ basement playing World of Warcraft - how the hell was I, in that scenario, going to run into the chance big opportunities that would make me rich or famous?
Think of it like this. Your favorite actor probably lives in Los Angeles. You probably don’t live in Los Angeles. So, you can joke all you want about how you’re going to get married to your actor crush some day, but chances are that you’re never going to ever meet your actor crush. It sucks, I know. I told myself I’d somehow get married to Jennifer Lawrence, but that never ended up happening, did it?
So if my intent is to do something like that, what should my first action step be? Well, moving to LA, of course. Saving up the money, maybe developing independent online income, moving, finding a support network and connections, building my way up, etc. - and even then, I might never meet my celebrity crush or have the possibility of making a good impression on them. But - and this is the important thing - putting yourself out there is what opens yourself up to that chance. Moving to LA doesn’t guarantee you’ll end up rich and famous, but it does open you up to a lot more opportunities than living in the middle of nowhere. You can work as hard as you want somewhere else, but it’s not necessarily going to expose you to the kinds of opportunities that you can have in LA alone.
Life sucks. It’s not fair. A lot of the work we can do to maximize our chance of success isn’t necessarily about hard work - it’s about finding a way to seek out new opportunities and put ourselves in the right places. This doesn’t guarantee success, but like they say, you’re going to miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
I started writing this blog with the intention of helping people, raising my profile in the fitness industry, and finding new clients. In the end, I do it to make money. Since I’m all about self-improvement, I couldn’t just let this site be any site - I wanted it to be the best it could be. I wanted to keep as many doors open as I could. I tried a lot of stuff over the years to make it better - some of which failed terribly, and some of which worked surprisingly well, but most of which just sort of worked, at a slow, steady rate. It’s a process, just like anything you’re trying to develop.
Here’s the thing: I want to make as much money as I can. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. But that’s not what this is about for me. For me, this is about respect - this is about proving that I’m worth it, that I do good work, and that I can help you.
People also like to ask “what would you do if you won a million dollars?” I hate this question too, because it’s such a waste of time. Well, I haven’t won a million dollars and don’t plan on wasting money on lottery tickets, so why don’t we move on to a more useful discussion?
That being said, it’s a guaranteed fact that if I won a million dollars, my life wouldn’t change much at all. I’d keep working. I’d keep writing for this site. Sure, I’d pay off my student loans and put a bunch of it into savings, but it wouldn’t really change my day to day life in any meaningful way. I’m not one of those people.
I’m not a person who needs much. I eat, sleep, lift, and need a roof over my head. I don’t spend much on entertainment, and I don’t travel much except for conferences. I’ve got a cat. I help support two wonderful kids. I’m blessed and privileged to have a wonderful life, and I don’t need much more. Honestly, I’ll be at this for years, decades. I’m here for the long term, because this is what makes my life worth it.
Two of my favorite clients of all time were an older married couple that worked out at one of the gyms I first worked at, back when I was personal training full time. They were both the wise-cracking, give-no-fucks types, the kind who come into the gym ready to hate it and complain about it the entire time, but keep coming back for more. They knew that their lives were running out, and they were frank about it. They had never exercised before, and they sucked at it - but this didn’t discourage them. They kept showing up. They kept getting stronger.
One day the wife comes to me and says with excitement “guess what? I walked up the stairs!”
They had a set of stairs in their house which they hadn’t been able to use without help in years. They rarely used their second floor anymore because it was so much easier to just stay on the first floor, where most of their stuff was. They had just written off the second half of their home as a lost cause. Working with me and just a simple lifting program twice a week, they gained enough strength that it became a possibility for them.
That’s why I’m in this career - not just because I want money, or a living, or to test the limits of my own ability. Because sometimes, the right amount of help can make a huge difference in the life of someone else.
And here’s the deal - if I start making a lot of money, I’ll give it all away. Honest. I’ve got a lot I want to invest and student loans to pay off, but my monthly expenses are pretty low. Other people need it more than me.
And I understand - you’ve got to spend money to make money. When you get wealthier, you end up being pressured to spend more, on better clothes to look good for meetings, on plane flights for business travel, on production value to make better content and on tools and products to help do your work for you. When you get richer and more famous, you have to spend more money - that’s just part of the game.
But I’m not in it for me. I’m in it for you. Above a certain yearly income, all of my further income will be donated to charity, period. I just don’t need it. Sometimes, I wish others in the world would feel the same. I think we’d all live a bit better if the rich didn’t hoard their money and act high and moral about it.
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