Today’s lesson from a retired entrepreneur is recorded at Central Station Gothenburg.
When I speak with teenagers about values, I encounter the difference between us. Here am I, a mature (old) person, and from my point of view they are very young.
When I ask “What’s important?” they nearly always tell me the same thing. They talk about money. Because money is what you buy things with, and things make you happy.
They are young. They haven’t learned. Let’s not judge them too harshly.
They nearly always ask me, when I talk about the work that I do, “How much money do you make?”
I have a naughty trick that I play on them. I tell them, “No, I don’t work anymore I am retired. I have an income every month (that’s the tweak, the word ‘income’), but I don’t have to work. And then they want to know, “How much is it? How much do you get?”
And I write on the board a two, three zeros, and three more zeros and then the letters SEK. In case you don’t know SEK is the currency here, Swedish kronor. So it looks like I’ve just written two million Swedish kronor and they all go “WOW” because they’re impressed that I could get so much money without doing anything.
We then play a game of Let’s Spend a Million. I ask them, “What would you spend 1 million on? Tell your partner.” And they come up with ideas like cars, travel, spaceship and then I give them another million and they start guessing again what they would spend it on, and then I give him another million and they start guessing again. I give them another million and then another million and then they say “Oh shut up we can’t spend it fast enough!” and I say, “Oh really?” pointing out to them that 1 million is worth nothing if you can’t spend it.
“It doesn’t matter how much you’ve got if you can’t spend it.”
They are kind of in a quandary that because they’ve just realised that money, money, money doesn’t really solve anything because they can’t spend it fast enough. If it pours in like rain, they can’t spend it fast enough.
And then they want to know “What do I spend my 2 million on?” and I tell them that today I’m spending my money on them. They don’t get that all. They haven’t seen any money, have they?
And then I point out that SEK also stands for seconds, you know 60 seconds make a minute. Count them up. There are 2 million in a month. Oh, they feel so cheated but I think my point is made. I get 2 million seconds a month, every month that I’m alive and I can spend them how the heck I want.
And just today I’m spending 60 minutes times 60 seconds with them.
They kind of like that.
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I am a teacher, a business-owner, a public speaker, a coach and an author.