I don’t know about you, but I see an awful lot of headlines and advertisements and social media statuses all designed to tell me exactly how somebody will make me rich.
Perhaps I should have titled this article, “How I earned $100k from my coaching business in a week with no prior experience or talent.” Maybe it would have gotten more clicks.
Of course, it would be entirely fake. But it would be in keeping with the modern gold rush.
Let me explain.
I was lucky enough to visit the Yukon this summer. In that time, I learned a little gold rush history.
Stuff like this: Between the years of 1896 and 1899, approximately 100,000 people stormed the Klondike in pursuit of getting rich. Ultimately, between 30,000 and 40,000 of them actually made it there. Meanwhile, they tackled incredibly dangerous, icy, bone-chilling mountain passes and murderous rivers, all with heavy supplies strapped to their backs and no real mountaineering equipment or skill.
To put it simply: many people died. In some pretty terrible ways.
It seems absurd now: people abandoning their families — and their sanity — and many ultimately dying in horrific conditions, all for the prospect of striking it rich.
Greed made them go blind.
As crazy as it seems, when you think about it, maybe the gold rush never really ended.
We’re not climbing mountains in perpetual cold and darkness (well, most of us aren’t), but in a weird way it seems like we’re living in our own, modern gold rush, under the new economy’s promise of “more”.
We want to make more money, and faster, and preferably through “passive income”. We compete for more followers — whatever that means — and more chances to sell. Whatever we are making, it seems, it’s definitely not enough.
I see a lot of lists these days, and while I clearly like a good list, it also seems that most of them are about how to make you more money.
Well, this is the opposite.
Here are 7 things you can do right now that probably won’t make you rich in cash (but just might be worth doing anyway.)
1. Listen to an older person’s story.
Older people usually have more, and better stories to tell. Some of them you may have heard before; listen anyway.
When someone is older they might need a little more time to their story — their stories tend not to come out in 144 characters. Again, listen anyway.
With certain folks, you might suspect the details have been exaggerated, or the truth twisted a little bit. There’s something good in all of that. Just be quiet for a while and pay attention. Get lost in whatever story they have to tell.
2. Get lost.
Speaking of getting lost, sometimes you go down a dirt road and it goes nowhere. Sometimes you get a beautiful view and sometimes you don’t. But how does it feel to get lost? To take a detour or go a little further?
Try it out. Sometimes you come up with the best stories this way.
3. Wash dishes.
I don’t usually have to wash dishes at home because I am lucky enough have a dishwasher. But when I was at the Yukon, in a cabin, water was a precious commodity and we didn’t have any power. We boiled water to warm it for washing. Washing took more time.
This was a good thing as it forced me to slow down and just do the thing. No podcasts and no TV. Just a cup of tea and a little job to do.
It feels good to just do a task and not rush sometimes.
4. Get up before everyone else.
Not to get more work done. Just to be up.
What happens when you’re standing outside, in the cool air, while the sun comes up? What does it feel like to be in the quiet, with the stirrings of morning just starting? What goes on in the moments when you are just there, not yet doing anything, not yet racing to attack the day in pursuit of progress?
Here I might quote Henry David Thoreau: “The morning, which is the most memorable season of the day, is the awakening hour… some part of us awakes which slumbers all the rest of the day and night.”
Or I might just say: I think it feels rather nice.
5. Pet cats
I like to go for walks and stop to pet cats. You can pet dogs too, if their owners let you. Of course, you only get to pet the cats if the cats want you to.
There’s definitely no money in this because if there was, I’d already be rich.
Nonetheless, no matter how busy I am, I will always stop to pet cats.
6. Read a book
Not the self-help book or the get-rich-quick book or the business book or the guru book.
Read a novel. Or a memoir by a person you never knew very much about. Or a book that makes you laugh. Or poetry. Or a comic book.
Do it because it feels good to be told a story.
Do it also because it takes time to read books. You can’t just skim them like you might be doing with this article right now. They demand to be read, word by word. This is a good thing.
Reading might make you smarter or contribute to self-improvement but a good book isn’t likely to make you rich (even the ones that tell you they will). They’re worth reading anyway.
7. Tell your story.
Okay, this one might actually help you achieve your business goals. A good story — told truthfully, and told well — can help you market and sell your services, establish a brand, and stand out, etcetera etcetera.
But then again, if you’re telling your story purely for the purpose of getting rich, it’s probably not all that great of a story. (Just guessing.)
Besides, not all stories have that sort of purpose. Some are there to show the world who you are.
Some are there just to be stories.
So if you have a story to tell, let go of the goal. Tell it from the heart and see what happens.
Maybe, just maybe, you’ll strike gold.