Who still wants this bill?

Cassan Said Amer tells a story about a lecturer who began a seminar holding up a one dollar bill, and asking:

– Who wants this dollar bill?

Several hands went up, but the lecturer said:

– Before handing it over, there’s something I must do.

He furiously crushed it, and asked again:

– Who still wants this bill?

The hands continued raised.

– And what if I do this?

He threw it against the wall, letting it fall to the floor, kicked it, stamped in it and again held up the bill – all dirty and crumpled. He repeated the question, and the hands continued to be held high.

– You mustn’t ever forget this scene – said the lecturer. – No matter what I do with this money, it’ll still be a one dollar bill.

“Many times in our lives, we are crushed, stamped on, kicked, maltreated, offended; however, in spite of this, we are still worth the same.”


  1. leo says:

    If people don’t have choice surely they will take this one dollar. If there would be another new one dollar and ask them “Choose one of them, what do you want”. Of course they will point to the new one.

    1. Dave C says:

      Interesting comment Leo. Why do you think most people place their value on New VS: crumpled , old, perhaps well travelled, experienced, measured, tested, experienced, proven? Some may say that the old crumpled bill would have to offer a better story, a more worldy experience, and certainly a risk of much higher adventure. Would people mostly take the path most ploughed, or choose to move in a riskier direction? Your comments are quite thought provoking, thank you.

  2. Han says:

    What a fantastic lesson in love and self esteem. Thank you. This story gave me shivers :-)

  3. mary says:

    yes. we all have value.

  4. Shreya Damani says:

    such a good example of making one understand one’s worth!

  5. shilpa says:

    simple and inspirational…..

  6. Annie says:

    Since in the character or this week is Pilar, and Life is strange (1st quote), i continue the strange-ness..

    how similar they almost sound these two words :
    Violence and Violins…
    strange…. Life is strange…

    so, better,let’s forgive all the violence (abuse) towards us(from us /others) and replace it with and focus on the beautiful and divine sound of violins…

    Love and GraDitude

  7. Doris says:

    In my view the comparison is flawed, only the last sentence points to truth. Just like: Sometimes in our lives, we are boosted, elevated, honored, praised, worshipped; however, in spite of this, we are still worth the same.

  8. ANA says:

    What if you know you are a bill who is really worth but don’t really care about your existence?…

    In these last three months I have got myself in a big fight and a big struggle, and always believing that I was achieving something better for me a next step in my life for a new era, for to be the one that I am and come closer to what I want to achieve in my life, but as always, whenever I come close to such things it comes up an old question which I always forget because whenever I come to the top of something, I see it how it falls down in a minute just like a castle of sand.
    “What am I doing this for? What do I really need this for? Is it going to make me feel any better? Is it going to change my life for better? Do I really need this?” And the answer is “I don’t think I do, it is just a thing among others, and the only thing I really want is to find a corner and stay there under its shadow”, or better, my favorite, the thing I always ever wanted most, “to disappear”.
    It is something that I wish so much in my soul because my heart nor my angel is ok with it, I want to disappear as I had never existed. Nor a memory of me so that no one who has and loves me would suffer because of my wishes…

    During this month I had to fight with my anxiety a lot, but it happens that this is what I’ve done all my life long. I have let myself being led by my heart and I am so grateful to it for everything I got in return, it is helping me so much although somethings might hurt now.
    This time, I hadn’t been fighting alone, because I am surrounded with an army of angels in haven just like in Earth and their love brings light to my life each day more.
    I am lucky for being loved so much, but this is a reason why all what I am about to write it hurts even more.

    These last days/weeks I have been having weird dreams and receiving signs for bad times(not that bad) which I couldn’t explain. I knew I was having some little difficult time but not that much. Well that made me worry, I had to be prepared.
    I had signs telling me I had to ask for help, that I had to speak out but I couldn’t understand what for.
    Other dreams advertising me of something evil that it had been hiding for a very long time and now it would come out, until the next dream I saw before last night and I could realize only yesterday…

    I saw a dearest friend(that is what that person is to me) to me crying for me because I was being numb to life, to pain, to loss. I saw my friend worrying so much about me because he could see that I was living in a shadow something dark and no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t do anything to give me from his light and that hurt but I couldn’t realize it. I AM SO SORRY, REALLY!
    He could see a dark presence coming around me, but he didn’t know what was wrong therefore he didn’t know what to do…
    When I woke up it was a very senseless dream to me but last night, oh man, I got it all!
    I understood what was going on since the moment that I let myself feel that pain, the pain of lost, again…
    There is nothing that can hurt more than when you loose someone you love, and I have experienced that in my life so many times, but it seems that I never learned what I had to…
    But the problem is that by acknowledging that pain I came to tell my self once more the same old phrase I thought it was lost from my vocabulary once for all.
    “I want to die! I do not want my life. I never really wanted it. I want to disappear as if I’ve never existed not even as a concept.”
    Oh lets just make something clear, it is not that I hate my life. I don’t! In fact I’ve so many beautiful experiences which were worth living them, it is just that I don’t want it. Why? I don’t know!!!
    Last night I could understand all those dreams I saw each day, and that I have never got healed from my old depression. I’ve been living with it since my childhood and it was never gone. There has been even one only day in my life, or at least lets say since from when I was 6 or 7 years old as far as I can remember right now.
    Oh well I can give causes to myself for that but now I am not sure anymore if all this is because of that.
    Unfortunately since than an yet today I’ve been witness or participant of seldom physical but mostly psychological violence and other stuff I don’t really want to talk about.
    By then things were so much worst than now, but since then I had be stay strong and endure many things for the sake of someone who I love, for the sake of someone who has scarified her life form me and my sisters and who still has to endure so much more than I did. That is the only thing I knew I had to do by that time, and whenever it occurred to me to complain about it I knew I would hear the same phrase.
    “Oh please dear, you know we are in a difficult situation. You are so smart, please don’t be sad and just find a way avoid critic situations. You know we can’t help it.”
    No one else could understand no matter how hard I’d tried to explain. That was the time when I really needed help but I didn’t get it so what I learned to do best was fighting against myself rather than bad situations.
    First I wanted to rebel, raise my voice and yell all my anger out and sometimes I did, but it was for worst. I could only make the life of who I love most much more difficult, so I decided to shut up.
    But I am grateful to life for all this. For all my bad and good things because I am who I am now, and there is much more light in my life because of my fights and the love I have always received, and I feel lucky because of it and because there is even worst…
    I remember the place where I used to be before I was born in this life and so many angels and beings of light around me. A beautiful place which I remember it was blue and pure like water but it wasn’t water, and so much joy.
    By then I knew who I was before but all that didn’t matter. I also knew I had to reborn one more time, but I was scared do death(way of saying :P).
    I didn’t want to because life hurts! But there was this guy, an angel who called himself voice of God who said that I had to because… (well I don’t remember this one). I remember even having chosen myself my family and many things which would have had been in my path, so I have nothing to complain about after all. :P
    And it isn’t that I need to complain, not even after last night that after I cried out all my pain I felt my body an soul in pure light and my angel was so happy about it, but I also realized something that I hadn’t never before.
    That there is a demon next to me, at my right, but who hides. I felt like vomiting when I realized that, I felt like that too when I let my pain come in.
    It has always been there. In my dream I saw it just like I had visualized your black dog that you describe at the Pilgrimage, your book. And mine was big and black.
    At the dream my friend could see it much better than I could.
    It has always been there in the moments of anger raising it higher and higher, until I noticed that I had to change that from me. I used to be very choleric, even dangerous, but I learned to love some more instead. It has always been there in moments of guilt or desperation. It has always been there each time that I reached anything high for me. It was there the day I got baptized and one moment before the priest would say my new name he repeated the old one as for to show me that all what I was doing was just a worthless and senseless ritual just like everything I do in my life.
    The more I grow the more he grows as black a shadow.
    The shadow I had to deal with sometimes at night. The first times I thought it was an angel wanting to help me, and I can’t stop laughing if I thing of what I did trying to give him some love. But the next day I was never sure of what had happened. I thought they where different evil spirits but it is just one, a demon, who enjoys being with me because I now realize I have so much to offer him.
    I don’t really care about success or dreams, or nothing at all. All I have ever done was trying to escape from pain, and I thought that maybe this was the right way and that maybe if those were just wounds they’d heal.
    How could I ever know?… How could I ever realized that if it wasn’t for my dearest angels?
    Always scared of pain, mostly physical pain lets say because if I drown into that spiritual one I kind of like it. What a sick masochist!!! Yes, I stay there and only wish to die/disappear. Maybe I would have tried if I wasn’t a coward. Yesterday I wanted the same but I couldn’t drown into desperation because the love of all of those who love me, have changed me very much. I don’t want to be mean to myself as I used to, but I don’t even want to fight. I am a warrior, who doesn’t want to fight, a star who doesn’t want to shine, because I just don’t feel like. Still I know that I am the only one who can help myself so somehow I don’t even understand those signs insisting, everywhere, for me to ask for help.
    If I do want to ask for help is for to options.hahaahah
    1)To disappear as I said.
    2)Since “many” aren’t ok with my wish at least find a way to live/love life just because I don’t want to spend the rest of my days worrying on doing something for me just to avoid pain. Oh it is tiring.
    LOL I laugh but it hurts… and then it hurts but it sounds hilarious.

    I am not writing this because I need mercy or love, I have so much of this. And I don’t want anyone to feel sorry about all this, because I don’t much. This is my truth, my ugly and old truth which has brought me peace after I saw it, but I am just numb at life. Pain only awakens me and happiness scares me. Mostly physical pain. That’s why probably I had so many problems with health in my life and I worried/worry about many others… hehheehh
    I never wanted to share these things with no one, but now I know I have to, my heart tells me to, and I am so glad I am doing it. I had to make that demon shut up so many time, that little voice talking all the time…

    Paulo, THANK YOU SO MUCH! You have no idea of how much I love you and I ALWAYS will.
    I want to beg you please don’t turn your back on me, not because I can’t stand loosing you but because I love you very much, and I always will and you will always have my support unconditionally. Thank you for your AMAZING HEART!
    I miss you so much, and I really do hope I didn’t do or say anything to offend or do wrong to you.

    Always in my heart!
    God bless you!

    1. Annie says:

      Dear Ana,
      plz listen
      there are 2 powers that make the world, this world go round.. Fear and Love
      there are 2 motives/intentions that make people do something..Fear and Love..
      These two they can never ever meet..
      Love is above, fear is always below love..
      Fear gives birth to Hate.
      They collide here on earth..

      When you love, you don’t fear…because Love is the Ultimate power..
      When you feel fear, you don’t love..

      People/we are rarely aware so that we can understand our motives clearly..
      so then one cannot accuse the other of not loving, or that he is afraid, because he doesn’t know he is afraid.. or he doesn’t know that when he is afraid, he is immediately thrown to lower energetic fields which is a bad thing.. so what you can do? forgive.. forgive whoever has hurt you, any abuser, even yourself, for letting this energy of Fear (of the others/yours) and accepting it and ‘falling’..
      You are here to bring Beauty..

      beauty is an energy of higher frequencies than the n-average frequencies of people..and of their creations..

      To bring Beauty forth you have to Love
      And to Love, you have to begin from yourself
      You have to protect yourself, like you would if Ana was your kid..
      And you won’t protect yourself from Fear, but from Love for you..

      Plz from Love and in the name of Love, i say to you plz wake up <3
      You ve got a lot to do here..
      I don't judge you in any way, you are neither right nor wrong in what you say, and certainly you are the only one to feel whatever you feel.. but the longer you stay down there , the more difficult it becomes..
      Paulo says, don't remember the exact words, it is not that you are underwater that drowns you, but the fact that you stay there.. so plz don't stay down there, come up to breath again..

      Love and Gratitude

    2. Fikry says:

      Hi Ana,

      First of all I am not trying to tell you what to do. I just want to simply share a bit of my own life story.

      Sometimes I have dark moments in my life (especially after a tragedy). I found that ONE thing always gave me the strengths and motivations to be the best as I can in this life. That thing is called “service”.

      I had times where I just don’t see the point of life, but I always came back to this believe that my life is a form of service.

      I asked questions such as: How can I be of service? to my family, friends and the world around me. How can contribute in my life time?

      Just these thoughts alone gave me the “kick start” every time I’m on the dark side ;-)

      I also realised that our past are NOT necessary to be our future. We can choose to shape our own future at any given moments in time.

      Feel free to comment or respond

      hugs ;-)

  9. ishita says:

    hi paulo
    your simple examples give me great ways to lead my life….
    thank you

  10. robelis says:

    Yes we are still the children of god! He loves us no matter what :)

  11. PILY says:


  12. ingrid says:

    é, realmente valemos a mesma coisa, mas é uma pena que diferente do texto, muitos braí§os (no caso, muitas pessoas) deixam de ficar erguidos por nós.

  13. Haiku says:

    I attended a semianar once and the facilitator held up a $100 bill and a lighter. He asked people to get in line if they wanted the $100 bill or he would burn the bill. Each person tried to snatch the bill out of his hand before he burned the bill.

    After about 30 minutes of this demonstration he explained that each time we go out and buy frivolous things that we do not need, or buy things just to impress people who don’t like us, is as if burning a $100 bill.

    The demonstration left an impression on me for about a month or so. However, I went back to spending frivously. This blog entry today reminds me of that seminar.

  14. petabel says:

    El creeer que tienes siempre la razón y todo en tu poder; es simbolo de soberbia,lo q demerita el costo de una persona; pero el verdadero valor se demuestra con las acciones,valorate tu misma y no haga caso de prtextos yo realmente soy compartida ,pero si la persona q dice estar a tu lado incondicinalmente t valora. Porque no lo demuestra y t da el tiempo,el lugar q dice tenerte ó sera q se valora mas los principios de un hogar su familia y su compañera q tiene un costo mas alto. Las cosas faciles se devaluan más aun si tu no exiges q te valoren. recuerda las personas devaluadas estan llenas de odio y rencor y dañan a los q estan a su lado y no tienen la verdadera felicidad solo por ratitos. Ese es tu valor Felicidad a ratitos.

  15. Sami says:

    Thanks Paulo for such inspirational anecdote!
    For me the moral of the anecdote is that the students appreciated the real worth of the dollar bill despite it being defaced by means of stamping etc. Applying that parallel in case of human beings, the real worth has to be appreciated by other discerning people.I don’t really know how many are out there!

  16. LarsAussie says:

    simple, mindblowing, disturbing, very disturbing as a dollar bill is worth absolutely nothing at all…. I wouldn’t be compared with it, thank you very much.

    1. Mark says:

      It’s a metaphor!

  17. kindred spirit says:

    It is simple. This money is not only a piece of crumpled paper, I this about what this bill represents to people. It is memento to what every of us represent. If you will be kicked, stamped and crushed in some drunken ruffle in pub, nobody will respect and love you. If you will be kicked, stamped and crushed when you stand up for somebody or when you fight back badness, people would respect you, regardless of your appearance.

  18. This is very true, thanks for reminding us that whatever it is that we went through in life, even the most painful and frustrating experiences doesn’t make us less of a person.

    1. tere blasco says:

      genial, creo que asi mismo es,hay veces que nos tratan mal, lo importante es saber de quien viene el mal trato, y de como estamos de autoestima.

  19. ratnam says:

    ur jus awesome….:)

  20. @gn! says:

    its so true… :-)

  21. Rossella says:

    spero di valere molto di pií¹ di un semplice foglio da 1 dollaro….

  22. sabiha says:

    Many times in our lives, we are crushed, stamped on, kicked, maltreated, offended; however, in spite of this, we must remember that nobody can take away our self respect and tht we will be winners if we respect ourselves

    1. rajeshri says:

      Couldn’t have put it better myself…

  23. Annie says:

    something to laugh with , about money: – it’s a very very true story-

    So there goes a thief , sees a bakery, goes in, says to the man behind the counter :
    -give me your money or else , touching his gun, though never taking it out of his pants

    -what do you want??, says the woman behind the counter, totally calm
    – I said gime your money, and quick!
    the woman starts getting angry somehow (i don’t know how she did that BTW – superwoman or something) and says
    -No i won’t give you the money, go away i have work to do
    – Com’on woman, i said i need the money, GIVE me the f***ing money, I need the money, give me the f***ing money
    -I need them too, i won’t give you the money, go away

    and the thief astounded
    -ok, you ll see what you ll get;i ll come again tomorrow..
    and so he goes away
    and the woman says
    -Ok come again tomorrow!!!!!

    Now what was that????? :D !!!!!!!!

    [and about the point of story? ..No one can steal your worth, ever, unless you allow it.. ]

    Love and Graditude

    1. Derluis says:

      Simply true !

  24. lo malo es que,la mayor de las veses no nos valoramos y si lo hasemo nos sobre valoramos

  25. grethel madrid says:

    con el sr coelho siempre hay algo nuevo que aprender!!
    Dios le de larrga vida y siga regalandonos interesantes historias que nos dejan tanta buena ensenanza!

  26. Kaye says:

    On the other hand, it questions what is a dollar bill..it is something material and it comes and goes. So don’t get attached to it, but to remind oneself, we are the decision maker to be ourselves that is much more worth than just a dollar bill and will not allow oneself to be treated as a material that is to be crushed. We are more than that!

  27. Mennah says:

    This is indeed true… You shouldn’t forget that you are a human an that you are still worth it no matter what happens!
    Great one MR.paulo !

  28. Liv-Else Dahl sundin says:

    …not worth much if you have been chewed on,and spit out again<:

    1. Lise says:

      Thats when you stand tall brush yourself off and cary on walking the path soo much wiser…. its all experiences:-)

  29. CRISTOBAL says:


  30. iris de ariza says:

    por siempre lo recordare! muy importante saberlo ! :)….una vez mas gracias…

  31. Shahid says:

    Everyday i read paulo and everyday a little bit of knowledge comes in me
    Never ever stop writing

  32. Amber says:

    I love it …………….. this is what is happening with me now a days but i am not worthless

    1. Mónic says:

      No digas eso eres tan valioso como el sol que sale diario y nos ilumina con sus rayos de luz, mucha gente te ama solo abre los ojos y no vivas en la oscuridad.


  33. Seawoman says:

    What if it’s ripped to pieces?

    1. fi says:

      Even a dollar bill ripped to pieces, with patience, can be put back together again. The same can be said for ourselves.

  34. chaitanya says:

    Inspirational :)

  35. Orie James says:

    simple yet mind blowing

  36. abhishek ranjan says:

    Hello sir..it was a nice view regaring a human life but sometimes we donot remain in the the situation to survive when we are crushed.

  37. Alison says:

    A wonderful analogy and uplifting reminder. Thank you!

    1. Suzanne says:

      Each day this man continues to inspire and give hope. I suffer from a chronic disease and sometimes I am so down in my soul. I don’t feel like a victim, but sometimes the strength to go on just feels too big a burden. I read this man’s blog and suddenly I feel elevated. i feel that I can overcome. I believe in myself and in miracles. I just believe in goodness and the wonders of a mind like Paolo Coehlo.