My grandmother was a wonderful person. She taught me how to play the game Monopoly. She understood that the name of the game is to acquire.
She would accumulate everything that she could and eventually she became the master of the board.
And eventually, every time, she would take my last dollar and I would quit in utter defeat. And then she would always say the same thing to me, she would look at me she would say, ‘One day, you’ll learn to play the game.’
One summer I played Monopoly with a neighbor almost every day all day long; we played Monopoly for hours. And that summer I learned to play the game.
I came to understand the only way to win is to make a total commitment to acquisition. I came to understand that money and possessions, that’s the way that you keep score.
And by the end of that summer I was more ruthless than my grandmother. I was ready to bend the rules if I had to to win that game.
And I sat down with her to play that fall – I took everything she had. I destroyed her financial and psychologically, I watched her give her last dollar and quit in utter defeat.
And then she had one more thing teach me. Then she said … ‘Now it all goes back in the box.’
‘All those houses and hotels, all the railroads and utility companies, all that property and all that wonderful money, now it all goes back in the box.’
I didn’t want it to go back in the box. ‘No,’ she said, ‘none of it was really yours.’
You’ll get all heated up about it for a while, but it was around a long time before you sat down at the board. And it will be here after you’re gone. Players come and players go – but it all goes back in the box.
Houses and cars, titles and clothes, filled barns, bulging portfolios, even your body … Because the fact is, that everything I watch and consume and earn is going to go back in the box and I am going to lose it all. Not much of an ROI on that.
So you have to ask yourself, when you finally get the ultimate promotion, when you’ve made the ultimate purchase, when you buy the ultimate home, when you have stored up financial security and climbed the ladder of success to the highest rung you can possibly climb it and the thrill wears off … and it will wear off … Then what?
How far do you have to walk down that road before you see where it leads?
Surely you understand, it’ll never be enough.
So you have to ask yourself the question: What Matters?