The Joy of Winning

It’s April 15 1960, episode 28 of the Twilight Zone aired in the US, titled “A Nice Place to Visit”.

We meet a man named Henry Francis “Rocky” Valentine – a shady gambler who is shot by police after robbing a pawn shop. He wakes up to find himself in Heaven where he meets Pip, his angel, who grants Rocky all of his wishes.

Pip takes Rocky to a casino. They take the elevator to the penthouse. Rocky is provided with a wardrobe full of tailor made suits, draws full of luxurious watches, and a suitcase full of cash. Rocky heads downstairs to test his luck as he takes a seat at the blackjack table. He’s dealt blackjack on his first hand – winner! Next hand, blackjack, following hand, blackjack – he can’t believe it! He heads over to the craps table, rolls a winner over and over again. He’s being served alcohol, women are surrounding him, and everyone is cheering him on. He can’t believe his luck, he’s never won so much money in his life.

This continues for the next month. Rocky keeps winning, in fact, he can’t lose. He summons Pip and explains to him that he has become bored with having his desires instantly met. Out of frustration, he tells Pip he’s tired of Heaven and wants to go to “the other place”, to which Pip responds:

“Heaven? Whatever gave you the idea you were in Heaven, Mr. Valentine? This is the other place!”

Horrified, Rocky frantically tries to open the now locked penthouse door as Pip laughs evilly at Rocky’s torture.

What if you could have all the planes, boats, homes, watches, or money your heart desired? How would this make you feel? Would you feel ultimate happiness and joy? Would you feel truly fulfilled? I’m sure you know of millionaires or billionaires who are unhappy, and I’m sure you know of someone who may not be financially wealthy, however they are one of the happiest people you know.

Without spending time to uncover what fulfills you, just like Rocky, you too will realise that money is simply a means to an end, and that you are setting yourself up for failure. Material items do not bring true joy or happiness. If you live for that luxury house, the finest time piece, the overpriced shoes you will probably never wear, or the next piece of technology, you will never have enough, and you will never be truly happy. You’ll be living in a Twilight Zone of your own making.

Tony Robbins sums up what I believe are two of the most important human needs perfectly:

The Need for Growth

If you’re not growing, you’re dying. If a relationship is not growing, if a business is not growing, if you’re not growing, it doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank, how many friends you have, how many people love you—you’re not going to experience real fulfillment. And the reason we grow, I believe, is so we have something of value to give.

The Needs for Contribution

Corny as it may sound, the secret to living is giving. Life’s not about me; it’s about we. Think about it, what’s the first thing you do when you get good or exciting news? You call somebody you love and share it. Sharing enhances everything you experience.

Life is really about creating meaning. And meaning does not come from what you get, it comes from what you give. Ultimately it’s not what you get that will make you happy long term, but rather who you become and what you contribute will.

Everything we do in life is about how it makes us feel. Whether or not you believe that deep inside you are continuing to grow and push yourself, to do and give more than was comfortable or you even thought possible. The wealthiest person on earth is one who appreciates.