I grew up as a teenager in Berlin, MA. There was an awesome church field a couple towns over where friends and I would meet to stare up at the stars and inevitably get philosophical. “Do you believe in God?” or “What do you think happens when we die?” or “Do you realize how long it would take to reach that star?” or “Dude, what’s its gonna be like when we’re old, like 30?” We would go ’round the circle from guy to guy, each one adding to or countering the answer of the previous man. Some would say it was a great form of mental masturbation because most of us simply enjoyed the inquiry itself rather than actually getting the answer to questions that have baffled mankind from time immemorial.
One of my favorite questions that seemed to get everyone heated up was, “Who is the number one person you would like to meet? Dead or alive?” I liked those questions because it told me where someone’s head. If the response was “Bill Parcels.” That was my friend obsessed with everything New England Patriots. “Britney Spears.” That was a friend who could not get enough of the music video, ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time.’ “Mother Teresa.” An occasional girl who valued service to humanity above all else. Me? My response has remained consistent for most of my life….Bill Gates. And the interesting thing is, beyond the fact that he’s one of the World’s Richest People, I don’t really know why I chose him.
I always fantasized what it would be like to sit across from Bill Gates at an independently-owned coffee shop. Which leads me to the third question among my friends, “If you had just one question to ask this person, what would it be?” So much pressure, I got Bill ‘Freakin’ Gates sitting across from me and I only have one question to ask him before he vanishes from my psyche like a genie going back into its Lamp after granting my third, and final wish. But in my fantasy, I don’t ask just one question.
I ask a series of causal yet thought provoking questions, where he keeps saying things like, “Hmm, never thought about it like that.” or “Wow, that’s a great question, you should come work for me.” or “Man, I’ve been trying to answer that one for most of my life.” Because really, how is one measly question going to matter? I’ve read books on the Art of Asking Questions, but even then I wouldn’t get more than a few paragraphs out of the man. In the end, he ends up answering each and every one of my questions.
Speaking of Bill Gates and asking questions, it reminds me of the ‘Lunch with Warren Buffet Auction.’ Once a year Warren Buffet has an auction where the winning bidder gets to have lunch with him and pick his brain with the proceeds going to charity. The winning bid for June 2013 was $1,000,100. Think about how well-thought out and even timed, each and every question would be for Warren Buffet. That guy wants to make that $1,000,100 investment count. My questions to Bill Gates would not have same ROI like the winning bidder whom is dining over a BBQ Burger and seasoned fries with Warren.
Being in his aura, or the aura of any successful person who has made a positive impact in the world, would be reward enough for me. It would make a great story for sure. “Did you feel the basic chakra on Bill spin? Holy moley, it was like being sucked into a wind turbine.” But other than donating $1M to charity, how else can one bask in the aura of a Multibillionaire Philanthropist? If you have any ideas, comment below.
Who would you like to meet, dead or alive? And what burning question(s) would you like to ask? Most importantly, how would you implement the answer(s) you receive to move your life and the lives of those around you forward? If not, it would just be an exercise in mental masturbation…and I don’t think Mother Teresa, the Dali Lama, Martin Luther King Jr, Bill Gates, Katy Perry, or Oprah would like to clean up after.
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