Last week I watched ABC’s new show, The Secret Millionaire, which places millionaires in low-income communities, strips them of all their worldly possessions and asks them to covertly find worthy organizations with which to volunteer and eventually to make a sizable donation to. I cried.
I cried not for the organizations that received the surprise monetary gifts (though they did seem genuinely touched), but for the millionaire who comes to realize, in the end, that the power of generosity can make you giddy.
I then went online and watched all three episodes available. It was the same storyline every time. The millionaire starts out complaining about the beat up car they are provided with, only to arrive at a dirty, uncomfortable apartment where they will have to live on the equivalent of weekly welfare. They each spent the first of five days intensely missing all that had disappeared from their daily lives of convenience. It always begins with “me”.
But then something magical happens. Forced by their circumstances to reach outside of themselves and connect with their neighbors and fellow do-gooders in the community, their sense of humanity emerges. Their faces begin to change. Stripped of the stigma and posturing of being a millionaire, you can literally see how dropping their identity leads to letting go of their fears. The “me” expands.
Next: Life-changing happiness