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Don’t Join The 99 Club

99 club

Somewhere in India, centuries ago, there was once a very spiritual king who was yearning for true happiness despite a life of luxury. He felt something missing in his life. The King enjoyed traveling his kingdom incognito, and during one of his trips, he came across a peasant who appeared high on life happily singing while tilling his land.

“I am the King, and I have all the luxuries anyone can afford. I am not so happy. This peasant seems positively blissful. How could that be?” wondered the King.

So, the disguised King approached the peasant and asked him, “you seem so happy despite all the hardship. Can you tell me your secret?”

The happy peasant responded, “Why, sir. There is no secret. What does a human being need to feel happy and contented? A family, work to do, good food to eat, and a roof over the head. I have them all.”

The King found the peasant’s response too simple, and it did not convince him. So he called his trusted and wise Minister and told him about what the peasant had said.

“I have everything that peasant said he has, family, good food, roof on my head, and a kingdom to manage. Yet, I am not happy while he said that is all that is required to be happy. Something is not adding up? What do you think?”

After listening to what the King shared, the wise Minister said, “Yes, what the peasant said may be true, but it is also important to note that the peasant has not become a part of the 99 club yet!!”

“The 99 Club? What is that?” inquired the King.

The wise Minister replied,” If you can give me 99 gold coins, I will place them in a bag and leave it at the doorstep of the peasant this evening. Very soon, you will understand what the 99 club is.”

The Minister had the Bag of 99 gold coins placed at the peasant’s doorstep.

That evening the peasant got back from the fields and noticed the Bag at his doorstep. Intrigued, he picked up the Bag, went inside, and opened it. To his amazement, he saw the gold coins and let out a whoop of joy. He was rich.

He started counting the coins without bothering to think about who could have left the coins for him. The count was 99 coins. “Surely, there is something wrong. It would have to be 100 coins. I must have counted wrong. Let me count again.” So thinking, he carefully counted the coins and again the number came to 99.

Now he was concerned. “It can’t be. There must have been 100 points, but one coin must have fallen off !!” He scrambled, searching around his house, but the 100th coin was not to be found anywhere.

Something changed that day for the happy peasant. He wanted to have a collection of 100 gold coins, not 99. So after a hard day in the fields, he decided to go to the market to do some labor to earn himself one gold coin and complete his collection of 100 coins. The peasant became obsessed with the thought of acquiring the 100th Gold Coin. The peace and happiness gave way to irritation and grumpiness.

The King could not help but notice the drastic transformation in the peasant. Puzzled, he asked his wise Minister why the peasant wasn’t happy and satisfied anymore.

“Your Majesty, the peasant, is officially a member of The 99 Club now,” the wise Minister responded with a twinkle in his eyes.

He explained, “The 99 Club is for all those people who have whatever it takes to be happy, but they are not content, because they are always looking for that one missing coin thinking “I just need to work hard for that one thing, and I will be happy in my life.”

This apocryphal story is a metaphor for our lives in a way. We all have what it takes to be happy and content. But we ignore the 99 coins and keep chasing that one elusive coin. At some deep level, we forget to appreciate what we already have and operate with a sense of something missing all the time.

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