Warren Miller and E.J.

If you’re a skier then you know the name Warren Miller—famous for his ground-breaking ski movies shot in some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. I had a chance to meet Mr. Miller, age 91, over the weekend on a ski trip to Montana. He was in the lodge, named after him, signing copies of his soon to be released book.

In his book, Miller writes about the first job he had, when he was in fourth grade, stocking shelves at the local grocer. He was able to get a job when, during the Great Depression, the unemployment rate was 25%. But what struck me was not that he had a job, but how he described the feeling of freedom he had from making a little money, one dime, where half of it could be used to buy a piece of penny candy most days and the rest he could save.

Two things struck me about Miller’s story: One was that having just a little bit of money in your pocket gives you options, or as he might say, freedom. I think it was this feeling of freedom that helped light a spark for a young Warren Miller to go out into the cold world and do something with his talent. The other, was how we can all relate to the first time we made a little money. Not our first job, or our career but the first time someone gave you money for your efforts. I’ll never forget when I got $2 to shovel snow from my neighbor’s driveway and buying a candy bar for a quarter—feeling on top of the world.

You don’t have to be rich to keep that feeling of freedom burning ever-strong.