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An offer you can't refuse

I've been reading 'Surely you're joking Mr Feynman!' this past few days, and never before have I felt that I could take away so much when reading about the life of a person. It is full of incredible stories.

Once, Feynman was being sought by both Caltech and a university in Chicago. When the people from Chicago came over to his house for a conversation, he suggested that they not discuss the salary as he had no intention of leaving Caltech and that if his wife in the next room heard the offer, there would be an argument for him refusing it.

So, they sent him a letter with the number that was three or four times what he was being paid at Caltech. His response had me on the floor laughing.

"After reading the salary, I've decided that I must refuse. The reason I have to refuse a salary like that is I would be able to do what I've always wanted to do - get a wonderful mistress, put her up in an apartment, buy her nice things... With the salary you have offered, I could actually do that, and I know what would happen to me. I'd worry about her, what she's doing; I'd get into arguments when I come home, and so on. All this bother would make me uncomfortable and unhappy. I wouldn't be able to do Physics well, and it would be a big mess! What I've always wanted to do would be bad for me, so I've decided that I can't accept your offer."

But there is such truth to this. As people, we need very little money to have a wonderful life. But, the more we get, the more we acquire in terms of possessions (and attachments) which only grow to weigh us down and take us away from the very things that we are good at and enjoy.

When making any big decision, I hope this response from Feynman will stay top of my head. 

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