104 – April 14
“A person will be called to account on Judgment Day for every permissible thing he might have enjoyed but did not.”—The Talmud
Financial stress reduction is as much about being relaxed and happy as it is about making a lot of money. Ideally, you want to be making more money and having more fun on a daily basis. Lack of either one creates stress and unhappiness.
A wealthy young stockbroker named Max, who had inherited money, took my financial workshop several years ago. Tense and unhappy when I talked with him on the phone, he seemed hesitant about attending the workshop, but agreed to come to the first class and see how he liked it. Although I instruct everyone to dress casually, he wore a suit and tie. He had a rather negative attitude, made skeptical comments, and sat in a closed position with his arms tightly crossed. It was clear to me he had an attitude and needed some help, but I wasn’t sure I could reach him. However, by the end of the first class, he said he wanted to continue with the course.
During the second class, I ask each participant to share three opportunities and three obstacles they see facing them. Then, as a group, we offer each person creative suggestions for taking advantage of their opportunities or for solving their problems. When it came time for Max to share, a lot of anger came pouring out. Once again wearing a suit and tie, he had no opportunities on his list and about twelve obstacles. As he spoke, I saw that his need for financial stress reduction wasn’t about money. He had that. What he didn’t have was fun.
At that point, I jumped in and asked him, “Where is the fun in your life?” Totally taken aback, he just stared at me. I said, “Max, I’m giving you a special assignment for this week. You don’t need to work on money—you have that. What I want is for you to do as many fun things as possible this week. Go to the beach for a day and just lie in the sun and swim. Go to a movie in the afternoon. Rent a hotel room for a night and take your wife out on the town. Whatever you think is fun, do it. The sky’s the limit. Bring a list next week of all the fun you had to share with us.”
As I spoke, he changed right in front of all our eyes. He started smiling. Then he grinned and blushed. He sat back in his chair and relaxed. Everyone applauded and envied his assignment.
He looked like a little kid at Christmas.
The next week, when he came to class with his “fun list,” he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sandals! He wore a Hawaiian shirt to every class from then on—and a smile.
Make fun your priority today. Take a day off. Get yourself a Hawaiian shirt.
“The more fun I have the more money I make!”
I love this story – I remember Max fondly. He was so much fun in his Hawaiian shirt!
When I was an actor, the costume always meant a lot to me in building my character. Was she funny and flirty? Strict and up-tight? A show off or an introvert? The clothes tell a lot of the story.
Shoes were particularly important. High heels, flats, or sneakers give you a totally different posture and attitude. In my theatre costume class in college, one day the instructor held up a pair of 1940s style high heels and said they were called “Open-toed Joan Crawford F** Me Shoes”. We all howled at that. One of those little bits of trivia that sticks in your mind forever. Hee.
Joan Crawford shoes on bottom row
An accomplished, professional friend of mine who had a corporate job always wore a suit to work, and was in her finest no-nonsense business mode when dressed that way. Her young daughter picked that up immediately. She didn’t like it when her mommy put her jacket on, because along with it, she put on her business manner.
Whenever her mom came home from work, she’d say, “Mommy, jacket off!”
So, jackets off today, everyone! Relax, change your style, and have fun.