The Gift

Imagine that you’re teenager again, about 15 years old. One day you receive a letter in the mail with a strange key and a short letter. You open it the letter, and read its contents:

“If you chose to accept this key, you will find a small car in the front of your house, which is now yours. As soon as you take possession of the car you will also receive access to a bank account with one million dollars in it, but access to that account is limited based on the following terms:

  • You can only spend the money on the car
  • Only you can work on the car and you have two hours per day for the rest of your life to work on it
  • You can only spend the money in equal allotments, $1000 per month, for the rest of your life
  • If you break any of these rules the car and the money disappears
  • You can never own another car as long as you own this one

Of course you accept. Who wouldn’t want a free car and a million dollars?

Even if you only get $1000 per month and have to spend it on the car that’s still an awesome deal, right? And, you remind yourself, if it doesn’t work out you can always just get a new car.

You walk outside, overwhelmed with excitement for what you might find. As you burst through the door see a rusted out 1960 Volkswagon Beetle. This must be a mistake you think. Maybe the car hasn’t arrived yet….but, it’s pretty clear that is your car.

Not exactly what you were hoping for….But, you’ve got the rest of your life and a million dollars. You can probably build something really, really cool.

I know this is a little abstract, but stay with me.

What to build?

You’re going to have to learn how to work on the car though – because only you can work on the car. So, the first thing you’ll have to do with all your time and money is invest in your knowledge of how to work on cars.

After a few years of taking courses and reading and tinkering on your car you can do most general maintenance. You can keep the car running, but now you’d like to start making the car a bit nicer.

Time to hit the books and take some courses on how to modify your vehicle. Of course, it’s the only care you’ve got so you’ve got to keep it running on a daily basis. After a few months of reading and accumulating materials you do a thorough revamp of the bodywork. After a few months of painstaking work and a fresh coat of pain the exterior looks pretty sweet.

Motivated by your success you decide to move onto the engine. You’d like a bit more horsepower. After a year, you’ve got a sweet engine. It runs beautifully, but now you’ve found that your steering system needs upgraded……..

A Surprise

Now, imagine that the car that I was talking about is your body. If you had a million dollars, spread out over a lifetime, and two hours per day for the rest of your life, what do you think you could do accomplish?

  • What skills would you need to learn?
  • What would you need to do every day, week, and month to make sure your body almost always performed the way you wanted?
  • Would you be willing to put the time to do this?