If money were no object, what would you do?

Today is February 10 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “if money were no object, what would you do?”


In his video entitled "What do you desire/If money were no object" British philosopher and writer Alan Watts often posed this question when discussing career options with students. Although he died in 1973 his observations about a life well lived are even more relevant today. The video uses his voice over a series of images that challenge the viewer to answer the question “If money were no object, what would you do?”


This is a difficult question because people have bills to pay. With today’s escalating cost of higher education, skyrocketing healthcare costs, and the general overall cost of living launching a career based off of the premise ‘if money were no object, what would you do?’ is rather challenging. It is an important question to ask though, because by not asking it, you are emphasizing money. Is money the sole reason you are looking for a new job? Money is important. It is necessary to feed a family and pay the bills. But is it more important than everything else?


As Watts says in the video


“Well, it’s so amazing as a result of our kind of educational system, crowds of students say well, we’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets, we’d like to be writers, but as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way. Or another person says well, I’d like to live an out-of-doors life and ride horses. I said you want to teach in a riding school? Let’s go through with it. What do you want to do? When we finally got down to something, which the individual says he really wants to do, I will say to him, you do that and forget the money, because, if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid. Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way. And after all, if you do really like what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually turn it – you could eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way to become a master of something, to be really with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. So don’t worry too much. That’s everybody is – somebody is interested in everything, anything you can be interested in, you will find others will. But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like, in order to go on spending things you don’t like, doing things you don’t like and to teach our children to follow in the same track. See what we are doing, is we’re bringing up children and educating to live the same sort of lives we are living. In order that they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children to bring up their children to do the same thing, so it’s all retch and no vomit. It never gets there. And so, therefore, it’s so important to consider this question: What do I desire?”


If money were no object, what would you do?