This has been my favourite question since my Australia times – 2009. Why? Because it gives you a very good insight into a persons priorities. Most people say "travel". Which seem to be a really good use of your time. I remember having once read that the only thing that you can buy and that will make you more happy is travelling. I must admit it it does sound very attractive.
This is also a question that I have been asking a lot of people, even when we have just met, as soon as we got past the usual chit-chat. Only twice or thrice, I have been asked the following counter question:
"If money is not an issue for me or for everybody?"
The first time I heard this question, I was baffled. It gave it a whole new perspective; a perspective I have not considered, and none of my discussion partners until then.
My answer up to this point has been: "I would love to work with wood! I would love to be a carpenter and a furniture maker, work with different timbers, travel the world and learn from different carpenter masters their techniques and new timbers. I just love the smell of wood!"
Ever since that first counter question, I have also revised my answer. I have encompassed the other of my life goals into it – spread education around the world. I strongly believe that education is the solution to most of the worlds problems.
Now, when I wish to dive a little deeper than the shallow small talk at a party, I ask my usual question and wait for a few seconds to see who will be the first to shout "Travel!" and maybe for the one odd person who is not satisfied with this question and will want to give it a collective perspective to it. If nobody brings it up I ask them to consider this additional question of whether the money is not an issue just for themselves or for everybody else. It's interesting to see the individuals' thinking shift up a few gears!
My answer remains: "If money was not an issue for everybody I would be working with wood. If money was not an issue just for me I would be doing what I am doing now but with an increased speed – accelerate the spread of high-quality, future-proof education all around the world."