A few nights ago, I had the strangest dream. I remember so much about it. Every detail. The people. The numbers. The decisions I had to make. And when I woke in the morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about it – as if it really happened. Did I make the correct decision? What would I really do if given the choice? Why did I make that choice? I kept telling myself ‘it was just a dream’ but I still couldn’t shake the feeling. Here’s the dream.
I’m asleep in my bed when a god-like figure comes to me and wakes me out of a sound sleep. “I’m here to grant you a dream,” it said. “But you can only chose one, and you can’t change your mind.” I answered, “I have so many dreams, things I’d love to do, people I’d like to see again.” The voice answered, “I have chosen your dreams for you.”
“Here is the first dream. In January of 2014, you will win the lottery. The prize will be $883 million dollars. People all over the country will know your name. You will have financial security for the rest of your life. With the money, you can make any dream you’d like come true. You can help the poor. Be a patron of the arts. Start your own business. Some of these are also dreams of yours, but you haven’t had the financial means to make them happen. Now you will.”
“And what is the second choice?”
“You’ve always dreamed of being a better athlete – here is your chance. On January 1, 2014 you will be the world’s greatest golfer. You will be able to hit any shot you want at any time. All you have to do is think about where you want to hit the ball and it will land there. People all over the country will know your name. You will have financial security for the rest of your life. With the prize money you will win, you can make any dream you’d like come true. You can help the poor. Be a patron of the arts. Start your own business.”
I asked, “When do I have to make my decision?” The voice came back, “right now.”
I looked around, was this real? Is this a dream? Then I answered, “I be the golfer. While you will be giving me the tools, I still have to earn it.” And then the figure said “done,” and disappeared.
The rest of my dream was about me playing golf. Hitting the ball exactly where I want to hit it. Winning tournaments. But then something else happened. Golf became less interesting to the public. Because one player (me) was dominating the sport, people stopped watching. The outcome wasn’t suspenseful or interesting. To make it better for the public, I started losing on purpose. Getting close but not winning. I would win enough to keep the reporters away, but I would lose enough to make people watch. People started rooting against me. People wanted me to lose. I stopped playing a full schedule because I couldn’t take people telling me I wasn’t good anymore. I knew I could win every time I played. But I also didn’t want to ruin a game that I loved. So I stopped playing.
And while I had all the financial security I could ever want, I was sad. People all over the country knew my name – but also remembered that I used to be really good. And while I could do anything I wanted, I didn’t want to leave my house. I felt like a prisoner.
And then I woke up.
I remembered so many details. I woke up sweating. I was confused. What just happened? For the next few days I remember thinking about this dream. If it were real, what choice would I have made? If it were real, would I still act the same way? If it were real would I keep my promises to help the poor and be a patron to the arts?
I’ve replayed this dream in my head over and over again. And then yesterday I noticed the lottery jackpot has risen past $500 million. So if it reached $883 million – you know that I will be buying a ticket.
Because I can tell you this – my golf game isn’t getting better any time soon.