How can you cultivate a feeling of having enough and not always wanting?
A big part of it is where you put your attention—if you put your attention on what you already have and what is enough. One way to do that is when your mind is saying I don't have enough, you ask yourself if that's true. It's a surrender game. You get to that place where that voice starts to lose more and more of its power. The other way is through generosity. Many of us think, when I have enough, then I'll be generous. The irony is...you can't be giving money away and feel like you don't have enough. The act itself changes the message you tell yourself. So being generous helps you feel like you have enough.
Yes. I thought one day when I sold my company, then I'd become a philanthropist. In 2002, we found out that my oldest son has type 1 diabetes, and we were thrown into this life where we really wanted to fund diabetes research, so we became avid fundraisers for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. In doing that, it catalyzed a lot of other philanthropy in me, and I started to give more money to other causes. I started to realize that giving itself was turning it around and giving me the same experience that I'd hoped to get by selling my company or saving a lot of money. If you notice yourself wanting something, and you decide not to get it, do you stop wanting it?
Yes, usually very quickly, often within an hour or two. If it's really something big, it might take 24 to 48 hours, but what feels better, when you're on the other side, is that the urgency you felt, the life-or-death feeling, was totally artificial. All these things you thought were essential really aren't. That's where you start to sense the freedom. Have you made a purchase recently that satiated a desire that you were happy about?
Yes—the swimming pool in our house. We have so much fun and invite the community over. I'm totally blessed out whenever that's happening. I had a pool when I was a kid. For me it's an ultimate symbol of family fun. Based on your spending diary, it seems as if you put a lot of thought into whether expenditures are worth it—and often decide against making a purchase or choose the lower-cost option.
To me, money is all about trade-offs. You can have anything you want; you just can't have everything you want. You want to retire as soon as you can, fine, we can make that the focus of the plan, but it means you might not be able to afford the same lifestyle or buy kids the house you'd been hoping for. It's all choices.