The Value of a Twenty Dollar Bill

by: Camden meyers

There were 200 people in the audience. After a few minutes the next speaker came on stage and the first thing he did was take a crisp $20 bill out of his wallet and hold it in the air. As the crowd sat, confused, he asked them “who wants to take this $20 bill home?” and as you probably guessed every hand in the crowd went up. The speaker laughed and replied “by the end of this presentation I will give this money to one person, but only if you still want it by then.” He then placed the $20 bill on the floor of the stage.

 The man began his presentation on the topic of self-worth and believing in your ability to succeed. He spoke eloquently about how to see yourself and your potential in a realistic way that enables you to believe in your own growth and success. After several minutes of his presentation he stopped and asked “how many of you remember the $20 bill I mentioned at the beginning of my presentation?” and again every hand in the audience shot up, eager to get a little bit of free money. The presenter then asked a follow up question; “What would you do with the $20 bill if you were to get it?” he received numerous different answers varying from putting the money into savings, to buying a joint on the way home, to purchasing a surprise gift for a loved one. As the speaker turned around to get back to his presentation he bumped into the stool on the stage and spilled his water all over the ground where the $20 bill was waiting to be claimed. As towels were rushed on stage to clean up the mess, the speaker picked up the soaking wet bill and laughed as he addressed the crowd “Well, now who wants the money?” and yet again every hand went up. Then the man crumpled the money up and asked the same question only to receive the same response. “Really? You still want it want? How about now?” the man said as he threw the bill on the ground and stomped on it. The once new $20 bill now laid on the ground, crumpled up, soaking wet, covered in dirt and stomped on. Even so, the audience members raised their hands in united desire for the free money.

 The man smiled and said “This $20 bill has taught you more today in 15 minutes than I could have in 15 hours. You all see this money as a valuable and necessary tool to achieve your goals, and this didn’t change even when the bill was put on the floor, when it was soaked in water, when it was crumpled up, when it was dirty and even when it was stomped on”. The man continued “why is it that this piece of paper can be neglected, rejected, disapproved of and kicked to the ground yet it still holds value, but some of us stop believing in our own value the second we run into an ounce of adversity? Just as the $20 bill has the worth and potential after it has been mistreated, so do you. When you are tempted to stop believing in yourself and your potential, when you fail, when you are rejected, when you feel tired and stalled out and when you feel the weight of your own goals on your back, remember this $20 bill and remember that none of it can diminish your value unless you let it”.