Once in a village in Sichuan, I met a wise man in a bar. He was using his retirement pension to sustain not only himself, but an entire family. He told me how even then there was often money left over, which he spent on things the village needed. He went into details, explaining in a matter of fact tone, stripped of pride. When I asked him why, he gave me a look as though it was obvious. “My money goes much further here,” He said. He seemed a little confused when I asked if he would be better off just keeping the pension for himself. “What would I need it for?”
To him, it just seemed like common sense to give away what he didn’t need.
Before leaving, I asked for some life advice. After all, he seemed to have things figured. He thought for a moment, then imparted this wisdom:
- Money isn’t everything in life, but you can’t do a hell of a lot without it.
- Never pass up a toilet. Trust me, five minutes down the road you will regret it.