Inspired by a different kind of baby

My friend, Krista, who can always be counted on to share motivating and interesting blogs, sent me a link to an interview with Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby. CD Baby allows you to buy CDs directly from independent musicians. Yes, it was super cool of him to provide a format for new artists, and allow them to make more of the money they deserve, but he just gets cooler. Instead of sitting back and reaping the spoils of his hard work, he gave away his rights to the company… to charity!

English: Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby and ...

Derek decided that he had enough money already. On his blog he writes, “Having too much money can be harmful. It throws off perspective. It makes people do stupid things like buy “extra” cars or houses they don’t use – or upgrade to first class for “only” $10,000 so they can be a little more comfortable for a few hours.”

And so Derek transferred his intellectual property and domain name to a charitable trust for music education. When another company bought the rights they paid the trust $22 million. What’s brilliant about this is that instead of selling the company directly and having to pay $5 million in capital gains tax, all the money is going directly to a cause he believes in.

We would all like to think that if we came into a money we would take what we need (probably splurge just a wee bit) and then give the rest away to good causes. But I’ve seen first hand that as soon as you have money you need more money to maintain that lifestyle. It will never feel like enough.

I’m not sure if this story motivates me more because of his act of kindness or because of his conviction that more money was not going to make him feel more satisfied. I’ll leave you with his perspective on matter:

It’s not that I’m altruistic. I’m sacrificing nothing. I’ve just learned what makes me happy. And doing it this way made me the happiest.

I get the deeper happiness of knowing the lucky streak I’ve had in my life will benefit tons of people – not just me.

I get the pride of knowing I did something irreversibly smart before I could change my mind.

I get the safety of knowing I won’t be the target of a frivolous lawsuit, since I have very little net worth.

But most of all, I get the constant priceless reminder that I have enough.