Elena and I always have a lively discussion on what is the worst shock to one’s system. She was an oncologist or cancer doctor for many years. She often had to give patients the shocking news that they had terminal cancer and a finite time left on earth.
Elena believes this is the worst shock that a person can get. Common sense would say that she is right.I’m blessed to have very good genes and probably will die of natural cause at some advanced age. Let us assume that I was given the news by my doctor that I had a terminal illness and only a few months to live. Of course it would be bad news. But I would look at it as if I had lost the lottery and became one of the relatively few people to die from cancer or something like that. I would accept the news with resignation, try to spend the remainder of time I had in comfort, and give love to those close to me.
In my 65.5 years on earth I have suffered shocks like being wounded in time of war, a divorce, literally losing every penny of money I had on earth, getting arrested, getting severely injured, etc. What I have found is that the worst shock to one’s system is to have little or no money and to all of a sudden (perhaps overnight) have a lot of money. Some years ago the television series Numbers did a show on people who win millions of dollars in lotteries. They did not end up living happily ever after. A lot of them ended up dead broke and in tragic situations. People literally go crazy when they get large sums of money in their hands. They irrationally spend money. They dump long-time domestic partners. They lavish money on friends. They become victims to fraud artists and Ponzi schemes.
I know of two super-rich men who had the right idea of what to do when they got a lot of money. Both of these men died of old age in a peaceful manner.B.J. Pevehouse was one of these people. He was a wealthy oil man in Midland, Texas. Anton Rupert was the other man. Before he died he was the wealthiest man in South Africa. Both of these men treated all of the money that came to them as “just a bunch of zeros on a piece of paper.” They continued to live in the same house they had owned for years. They drove modest cars. The dressed the same.They bought few luxury items. Both of these men invested their money wisely and made a lot of money for themselves and many others. They also contributed a lot of money to worthy charities.