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What I Learned About Money From Comedian Dave Chappelle

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Speaker 1: 00:00 This weekend I came across an old interview with Dave Chappelle and Gail King. And in the interview they naturally start discussing why Dave chose to walk away from the wildly popular Chappelle show. So instead of some of the other episodes I had lined up, I just knew I had to share an analogy that Dave Chappelle used in this interview with you. Let's get to it.

Speaker 2: 00:37 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 00:37 So the clip I saw with Dave and Gail starts with Gail essentially asking Dave if he had walked away from his wildly popular show and $50 million for peace of mind. And Dave responds that although he was in a successful place and where he thought he would be, and it looked great to everybody else and to him it didn't feel like what he thought it would feel like. And so this feeling led Dave to walk away from what most of us would consider to be a dream. I mean, he was the star of an Emmy nominated sketch comedy show that he wanted and built and he had a $50 million contract secured. I mean, who in their right mind leaves that behind? Right? And I mean, I even remember being personally puzzled by the decision even when it happened. But Dave goes on in the interview to share this analogy about a baboons and salt and that really just sort of put things in perspective for me.

Speaker 1: 01:38 So in the analogy which I actually researched and found to be true, there's this Bush man and he's looking for water. And for those of you who don't know, a Bushman is basically indigenous people of South Africa who essentially live by hunting and gathering methods. And so when the bushmen looks for water while he's hunting in the desert, he will has this kind of weird strategy where he makes sure he's within sight of a baboons because baboons always have these secret water reserves, which again, I had no idea of, but he makes sure he's within sight of this baboon. He digs a small hole, he buried some salt in the hole and then he goes away and watches as the curious baboons eventually wonders up to the hole to figure out what's inside of it, right? And so the baboons reaches in the hole and grabs a handful of the salt cubes.

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Speaker 1: 02:30 And so the handful of the saw cubes now makes the baboons hands larger because it's filled with the salt cubes. Uh, it makes it larger than the hole and he finds himself stuck. Or at least that's what he thinks because in reality, all he has to do is release the salt and walk away. But instead of letting go of the salt, the baboon continues to fight until the man walks up, grabs him, and throws him in a cage. Now knowing the baboons will not lead them to water initially, the Bushman then feeds him all the Saudi can handle. And when he releases him, the now thirsty Baboon leads the bushmen straight to the water. And Dave goes on to share that. In this analogy, he felt like the Baboon, but the only difference between him and the baboons is he was able to let go of the salt.

Speaker 1: 03:20 And so you may be wondering what in the world this has to do with personal finance. But I want to say that I can clearly identify some of my past behaviors with the baboons as well. See, the bushmen in the story is synonymous with an employer or even the societal pressure to choose certain career paths and by certain material things. And the Salt in the story represents all those unimportant material things. And so there was a time when I spent all of my time, all of my money, all of my energy reaching for the salts of life, right? The bigger houses, the luxury cars, all the latest tech gadgets and all of these short term pleasures. But as I started to get a taste of those things, I noticed that the bushmen was watching and he was waiting to put me in his cage. And rather than risk being stuck in that cage longterm, I too decided to just let go of the salt.

Speaker 1: 04:16 So you may be wondering like in a practical sense, I mean, what does it look like to be stuck in the cage and being stuck in the cage in my mind is having to wake up every single Monday morning and go to a job you hate, right? Like being stuck in the cage is having to work extra hours because you have bills and missing your kids' events or family dinners as a result. Being stuck in the cage is having these great business ideas that you know you should be pursuing, but not being able to because you're worried about how to afford your lifestyle in those early days. And so, you know, it's, it's really not all bad because while you're stuck, I mean, you're able to drive these nice cars. You probably live in a quality neighborhood, you probably dress really nice and you eat all the other salt that you can handle.

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Speaker 1: 05:03 Right? But the question you have to ask yourself is this is the salt work, the cage. And I mean, if it is, enjoy yourself. And I mean, I'll see you on Wednesday's episode because this may not be for you, but if it's not, you need to start letting go of some of the salt. Seeing the cage not only traps you today, but it also strips away the ability to actually do what you want to do in the longterm. And so as I've said, I mean I've enjoyed my share of salt to the tune of finding myself $61,000 in consumer debt at one point. But like Dave Chappelle, I was smart enough to let go of the salt in the form of paying off my debt and reducing my spending before I was truly trapped in the cage or my career. And so now I drive older cars that I can pay cash for.

Speaker 1: 05:50 I buy less expensive but still quality clothes. I bought half the house that I was approved for and we've just made so many other decisions like those all because we didn't want to be trapped in the cage or again, stuck in a job that we had to have instead of the ones that we actually enjoy going to everyday. So I guess my question is, I mean, where are you? Are you the baboons with his hand stuck in the hole refusing the leg or the salt? Maybe you see the bushmen coming to trap you in the cage or are you in the cage every single day thirsting for the water, which is more time doing what you love with the people you love. And I mean, hear me out. Getting fed salt while in the cage can actually feel great and you become numb to it. I mean, the bushmen can seem really nice while he's feeding you things that look and feel great according to societal standards.

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Speaker 1: 06:43 But eventually that new car smell wears off and you find yourself like the caged baboon thirsting for the water. See, I'm not one to just wait until the Bushman lets me out of the cage at 70 years old to go and find my water instead of grabbing the handful of salt that won't bring me lasting happiness anyway. I'm content with just grabbing a little along the way and choosing to drop the rest to work towards and maintain my freedom. So yes, we'll take awesome vacations and spend money on other things that we value, but we're 100% cool with leaving the rest of the salt and the hole. And choosing the water, which the water for us means more time with family, more time serving others, more time to doing the things that we're passionate about, like this podcast and the blog and all those other things.

Speaker 1: 07:30 And you know, I have that hope for you to I, I mean I hope that you're able to make decisions that align with your real core values that you're able to drop the salt and start pursuing the water today. But if you enjoyed this episode, do me a favor and hit the share button. Also, if you'd like to check out the few clips that I watched when I was preparing this head over to winningtowealth.com/mtm9 and check them out. I mean, it's pretty interesting stuff. I learned a lot about baboons in this process of recording this episode. So again, if you want to check out those videos, if you kind of into that kind of stuff, I'm head over to winning to wealth.com/mtm [inaudible] and I'll be sure to link to a couple of the videos that I watch while I was learning a little bit more about baboons behavior, because let me tell you, it's pretty interesting, but thanks for listening to a another money talk Monday episode and we'll talk soon.

Speaker 2: 08:31 [inaudible].

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