Here’s why I don’t play the lottery. Like most people, I’m sure, I used to dream of winning the lottery growing up. Despite the enormous odds, I thought maybe I was special. And, if I was lucky enough to win, allowing myself to daydream about all of the unimaginable wonderful things life has to offer, was a very fun pastime. The houses, the vacations, the cars, and yes – the good you could do with all that money.
Just to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming about winning the lottery. And, if you can afford to lose the money ($5 a lottery, times twice a week, times 52 weeks in a year is $520.00), then there’s technically nothing wrong with playing the lottery either. Of course, you can make the counterargument – $10.00 a week over 40 years, with interest, is a LOT of money – even a small retirement condo in the right location. Plus, with impossible odds, you’re guaranteed to throw your money away. But that’s not the point of this blog. In fact, dreaming about what you would do if you did win the lottery is not only fun, it can be life-changing. I have a friend who has built a business off of helping people create the lives they want – and his message is to dream about what you would do if you won the lottery, then take a tough, honest look at why you actually need to win the lottery to achieve those goals. Move to Florida? Buy a house with a fence and a dog? If you think you need to win the lottery to have that life, you’re lying to yourself.
Yet the real point of this blog is this – for me, and this is very personal, winning the lottery would be a depressing shortcut that I couldn’t handle. I have reached a point in my life where the business has started to provide my family with the things I really want, primarily, the freedom to choose. A mentor once said they define freedom as having the ability to make choices based on your values. I agree with that, and in the U.S., if you believe in extreme personal responsibility, you could argue that everyone with their civil liberties still intact is truly free (don’t @ me, criminal defense attorneys, I’ve got you).
If I won the lottery, I wouldn’t be successful, I would be lucky. All of the hardships I’ve had to endure (which I keep in perspective, by the way, because any hardships we endure in America pale in comparison to other places in the world), all of the entrepreneurial struggles, the lessons, the learning, the bundles of money spent on coaching and self-growth, would all be for nothing. Everyone could rightfully say, “he got lucky.” Before I became the person I am today, this wouldn’t have bothered me. I pictured myself like Scrooge McDuck, swimming through piles of money, carefree, and laughing at the haters. So, why would I care now? Because when you work hard for something, it’s not the end result that necessarily matters most. It’s the process you went through to become the person able to achieve what you set out to do. Put another way – and if this is offensive, so be it – there’s only one thing preventing you from having everything you want to have (and not just material items, mind you), and that one thing is you.
Sure, it’s easy to lie to yourself to make yourself feel better and point to “rich kids” and say “that’s daddy’s money.” And certainly, it may be. First of all – who cares? If those kids were rich or poor, your life wouldn’t be affected by one iota, save for the fact that when we’re envious of other people, we feel bad, and vice-versa. But second of all, what about their parents? Or their parents’ parents before? Somewhere along the line, outside of a royal family, someone took a risk and became the type of person that was a high achiever. Today’s CEOs come from all types of backgrounds. Aren’t our favorite stories, though, the ones where the person came from rags to riches? Don’t we admire that person? Believe they’re special? (Never mind the fact that our kids make the same “daddy’s money” remark about their kids, but alas, such is life). Don’t you want to be the person who figured out how to make it on their own? I sure do.
Playing the lottery isn’t about the money – it’s about a mindset. Hoping for a way out. Clinging to the thought that you may be saved by someone – or something – else. When I was in high school, my grandfather “almost” (still millions of percentage points away) won the lottery. He had four of the six numbers on one line and the other two numbers directly beneath the next line. If he had won and our family received generational money, what type of person would I be today? I’ll tell you, quite honestly – an entitled, spoiled brat. As soon as that money hit the account, I would have felt entitled to it. I would have felt that I was special or “chosen.” I would have convinced myself that my life was plucked out to be different because I was somehow better or more deserving. Even if these beliefs hadn’t manifested into treating others poorly, don’t most people feel, deep down, that it’s not “fair” that life isn’t a utopia?
Instead, what I have built in my life, I have built on my own accord. Surely, others have helped – but I put myself in a position to create those strategic relationships that have aided my journey (as I hope I have returned the favor). Winning the lottery would be fun, but you’d always be the person who took the shortcut. The rich person who got lucky. You wouldn’t be respected or admired, and your family, with all their hands out, would never be the same. No, I don’t want that life. Reading books such as Think and Grow Rich and becoming the type of person that creates his own destiny is a much more thrilling – and fulfilling – way to spend life.
When you play the lottery, you’re hedging your bets, and that’s a huge disservice to your state of mind. It prevents you from taking the extra step or living each day like life is short and tomorrow isn’t promised. If you want to rid yourself of the mindset, once and for all, that someone other force, such as luck, will eventually step in and give you everything you’ve ever wanted, stop playing the lottery. Write down your goals, tape them up on a wall in your house where you will see them every day, then set out to work each day to achieve those goals. With each micro-step, you will certainly reach milestones, but much more importantly, you’ll start to become the type of person who manifests your own destiny. You will become the master of your fate and the captain of your soul.
Finally – why write about mindset, you’re asking? Aren’t you an offshore staffing company, not a life coach? The answer is that while what we do is provide incredible offshore talent to lawyers and law firms so that they can increase capacity, lower overhead, and start to achieve true freedom, our why is much more important. Our mission is to liberate lawyers, not just inform, but also from the poverty mindset that holds so many of us back – especially me when I used to play the lottery secretly, hoping that someone would save me from being responsible for my own pursuit of happiness. And yes, I had an entrepreneurial mindset as a kid as I started businesses and made my own money, but if I’m being 100% honest with myself, I was always hedging my bets, even just a little. Now, if I want something, the only thought that enters my head is, how can I manifest that myself? Becoming that person, to me, is truly winning the “lottery.”