A quick disclaimer to those of you who came here looking for the statistical formula to increase your chances of winning the lottery; you won’t find that in this post… WAIT! Before you head hit that ‘X’ in the top right corner and go buy your next lottery ticket, hear me out for 5 minutes.
We have all fantasized about winning the jackpot that will bring us a massive fortune and improve our lives forever. This new found wealth would allow us to buy new cars, a massive house, early retirement, amazing trips, and just about anything else your imagination could conjure up.
With an endless supply of money and all this great stuff and experiences, you would think happiness would be an absolute lock, however, countless studies find evidence to contradict this assertion. One of the earlier and heavily cited studies conducted in 1978 looked at three groups of individuals: lottery winners (the haves), non-lottery winners (the have-nots) and paraplegic accident victims (those with loss). The study finds that the lottery winners took less pleasure out of simple events in life and were not overall happier than those who had not won the lottery. An interesting additional conclusion in the study is that the paraplegic group was generally less happy because they dwelt on their past form rather than their future potential.
The Real Life Lottery
It’s wild to think someone would be actually worse off if they won the lottery. There are certainly situations where prize winners are much better off and do experience happiness, but overall it seems winning doesn’t necessarily correlate directly with contentment.
Happiness is relative. I found out myself when I bought a new car. It was awesome for a while, but then I leveled out and was in the same happiness position as before. I honestly don’t even care when a new scratch shows up on it and, as strange as it seems, I love that! This was an amazing lesson to learn at a relatively early point in my earning career and one that will shape my choices and lifestyle for years to come. There’s a lot of power behind learning what motivates us as individuals and stripping out all the things that don’t. To me, once you’ve figured this out (I’m still learning everyday), you’ve put those jackpot winners to shame with your fat stacks of enlightenment.
So next time you’re watching one of those annoying lottery TV commercials while you’re sitting on your discount priced couch drinking Busch Lite, just think, there’s a rich lottery winner sitting on his/her vintage chesterfield drinking champagne watching the same TV interruption who’s no happier than you.
Daily Guilty Pleasure
I once worked in an office where we participated in an office lottery pool. After working out the numbers and realizing my expected net profit was minus $2, (the exact amount of the buy-in) I still put in each week. The main reason was I couldn’t risk the 1 out of a couple billion chances that I’d be the only one at work on Monday if they won. To me it was more of an insurance policy than chance to win a couple million.
However, one of the very fun things we used to do to waste time and have a laugh, was come up with ways we would spend our winnings. My imagination was always very tame in comparison to some of my co-workers but here’s what I could come up with:
-Video game chair (as seen in 40 Year Old Virgin)
-A cure for lactose intolerance! (…The pills don’t always work)
-A day with Adam West in full Batman costume
The more obscure and ridiculous the better because odds are (literally) it will never happen! Yes, of course there would be charity and providing for others, but it wasn’t as good of a laugh.
Let me know if you have any good ones!by