What’s it really worth?

So I’m sure some of you have heard Steve Jobs’s (CEO of Apple Computer) commencement speech at Stanford. One of the lines that stood out to me was this, relating to how he dropped out of school at Reed and decided to just drop in on classes there.

I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple.

Now look at him. Sure he only makes a $1 a year (he’s currently the lowest paid CEO in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records), but he is a richly successful person (all that stock and company incentives also help him survive on more than a $1 a year). I’ve been reading a lot about financial planning and how so many people live on meager means, believe they don’t want that for themselves and eventually work their ways out of poverty. Some may argue that it is happening less often (maybe due to the fact that it was easier in the older days to make money), but none the less it does happen. People seem to go out of their way to live frugally, taking pottery classes to make gifts (see this CNN article) and doing all sorts of crazy things to save a few bucks. Those few bucks though seem to add up into good savings over the years and into lots of money. Yet I sometimes wonder, is it really worth not spending that little bit of money on yourself or someone else could give them happiness. Sure that money could in the future go towards something like a boat or a new car that could make you much happier, but whose to say that would worth it either.

I guess my point is maybe we get a little too far in the work hard ethos that has been drilled into us. Collecting soda cans maybe good for extra income, but definitely not something I would like to live on (I barely could stand eating Cup Noodles after the dorms: I could only imagine that was the best thing Jobs could afford eat from his income). I guess that’s what’s going to separate me from Jobs or any millionaire who didn’t earn his/her money from the lottery; they were willing to put sacrifices together for the future good that they knew would come. Would I be able to do this? Sure, but I enjoy eating regular meals too much.