I made good friends when I lived in Los Angeles. This couple, Rick and Kat, were the first real friends I made there. My plan was to set up a table on the boardwalk in Venice Beach and give people free life coaching while they passed by. Writing that kind of makes me sound crazy like I was standing on a soap box screaming at people to repent. It wasn’t like that. I had a table, set my books out on it, and had a sign that said “Free Success Tutoring.” And I just sat there and smiled at folks when they walked by. It was cool to trade in my dim office from the college for a new backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.
It turned out, though, that there were certain rules and people definitely had their favorite spots to set up along the boardwalk. For anyone who has seen Venice Beach, it’s filled with artists, musicians, sometimes celebrities (I saw Conor McGregor zinging by on a Segway), or random people slinging free advice on living your dream (that last one was me… no Segway).
Everyday, all of these people hurried to get the best spot. Lucky for me, Rick and Kat welcomed me pretty quickly and let me set up next to them. They were always there before everyone, so, no one ever took their spot. They got there so early because they lived on a sidewalk fifteen minutes away
(This post is not my PSA or call-to-action to fight homelessness. That’s something we should all be working on anyway. No motivating blog necessary. Click this link if you want to learn more about homelessness/solutions.)
Kat explained to me that her and Rick made the decision to live this way. She wrote poetry and they both took that poetry and burned the words into wood using a magnifying glass. It was pretty incredible, not just her beautiful poetry but also the concentration and effort it took to burn it into wood.
I was helping them carry their things back to where they slept one night and we passed a small group of people going into a restaurant. It hit me immediately. They looked at us like we were scum. In that moment, I was seen as homeless. I wasn’t homeless and I really can’t truly envision what it would actually be like to sleep on a sidewalk every night, but I knew what it felt like to have eyes look at me as if I did.
When I think about that experience, I’ll be honest, I didn’t like it. Los Angeles puts on display, people of magnificent wealth and people sleeping in piss. You can see an entire spectrum of socioeconomic status on a single street. It hit me pretty hard that I didn’t want to be poor, especially if I had the power to avoid it. Which I do. I titled this blog, “I’ll Be So Much Happier When I’m Rich”, and that, in part, is very true. I have also had the experience of sitting on a bedroom floor with negative bank accounts, realizing that I couldn’t even get a coffee at Starbucks. It can be difficult to live a life of positive impact, for others and yourself, when that’s your reality.
A lot of people say things like, “I just want to be comfortable and have my bills paid.” I’ve already said before that comfort kills and still stand by that. I want to pay my bills, I want to pay other people’s bills, I want to give away a crazy amount of money, and I want a private jet. I read something great by Grant Cardone. He essentially said that when you tell people you’re gonna be rich, they think you’re nuts and if you tell them you are rich, then you’re a jerk. So there isn’t much incentive to pursue wealth because everyone will likely hate you or think you’re insane.
I stand by the belief that the more success I achieve in my life, the more people I will be able to help and impact. “You’re full of it, Craven. You only want wealth for you. All of this helping other people is bull.”
Go feed a hungry person. See what it does to your heart. And then realize that you wish you had an unlimited amount of money to keep feeding people. Then you might start to see what I’m talking about. Also, if I’m stressed to the max on whether or not I can pay my light bill, I’m not gonna be much of an emotional support for people I love around me. I wont even be able to emotionally support myself.
And I’ve said in the title that I’ll be “happier”, which is a presupposition to the fact that I already am happy. I don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking that I will be happy only when I achieve my definition of wealth.
This is one of the pieces that Rick and Kat created. It’s the only picture I have of their work and it happens to be a quote from my first book. (I’m not entirely vain and will only show their work if it is somehow a reflection of me, it’s just literally the only picture I have. So calm down.) They sold this to some guy from Philadelphia.