Living the Counterfeit Life


Alex would print up fake 5 and 10 dollar bills on his copy machine and spend them in local delis.

“They check hundred dollar bills for counterfeit but not ten dollar bills,” he told me.

Alex had a high end printing business. He’d make posters, brochures, ads. He had the best copy machines in the world.

10 employees worked for him. This was over 20 years ago. I set up his servers so I read everyone’s emails.

One time one of his designers wrote an email to the secretary and said, “I can’t wait to taste your strawberry buttercup tonight.”

I was disappointed when I read that because I had a crush on the girl but I was intimidated by everyone I knew and ashamed to even say hello to anyone.

At the local delis, whenever someone tried to hand me a five dollar bill back in change I’d hand it back and say, “can I have it in ones”.

Alex didn’t need to print counterfeit bills. His business was successful.

I’ll tell you why he did it.

Because nobody wants to work.

Nobody really wants to print posters. Or operate on your prostate. Nobody wants to sit in a conference room at a meeting about marketing insurance policies.

This is why books like “The 4 Hour Work Week” are successful. Not because people want to work only four hours. But if Tim had written the Zero Hour Workweek nobody would’ve believed it.

People want the 4 Hour Work Week because they want to be explorers and not prisoners for the other 36 hours.

Doing their passion? Their life’s purpose? Stopping global warming or malaria?

I don’t know.

I doubt it.

Many people ask, “How can I find my true passion in life?”

People think, “without finding my purpose in life I won’t make money or be happy.”

So I will set you straight. Nobody has a purpose in life to buy and sell stocks. Or create an ad agency. Or build a big pretzel company. Or work in a cubicle. Those are tiny side effects of being alive.

The only purpose is to do the things you enjoy, with the people you enjoy and who inspire you, as much as possible.

Today, engage less with someone who you don’t like, and engage more with someone you do.

Today, throw something out. Maybe even throw out a bad idea you once had. Phew! It’s gone.

Write one email today to someone who helped you expand your frontier. Write “thank you” and let that feeling of gratitude marinate.

Today, let go of all of your dreams for just one moment. Don’t be afraid that some of them might not come back.

That’s all. You can change the world another day.

The only way to clean your dark room is to open the window and let the sun shine in. Right now. Then sweep the dust out. That’s the best way to help the world.

Today my passion was to lie in the middle of the road at 4:30 in the morning until the sun rose. It was fun. No cars came. Birds whistled at me flirtatiously. The sounds of the trains from the other side of the river rippled over me.

Purpose is a man-made fiction. Nobody on their deathbed gets a plaque that says “he focused on only one thing for his entire life!”

Those are counterfeit thoughts in a counterfeit society.

And when you make your money, don’t spend your five dollar bills all in one place or the rest of the world will try to enslave you.

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