A number THAT large is extremely exciting. And it probably makes spending a dollar on a ticket a great value if only to buy hope for a few hours. For those few hours, you can dream that winning is possible.
And here’s how the dream goes: if you win – even if you have to split it 10 ways – and even after you take the discounted lump sum payment – and even after taxes – you’ll be free! You’ll never have to worry about money again!
It’s a wonderful dream but, unfortunately, it’s a false dream. Sadly, there’s ample evidence of this fact.
The first problem is that when you win that much money all at once, the money can quickly define you and money is all you worry about. True, you worry about it in a different way, but you worry about it nonetheless. And there are countless stories of lottery winners being broke within 5 years or simply never finding the happiness they had hoped for when they bought that ticket.
So how do you win the lottery for real? Well the secret is understanding the truth about getting rich and what wealth really is. I think Dr. Keith Ablow said it best when he wrote:
True wealth is only one thing—always, and without exception—and it has nothing to whatsoever to do with cash: It is the absolute, unshakable knowledge that you love yourself, are loved by another human being, have the capacity to love others and understand that love is immeasurable, inexplicable and evidence of a force greater than any one person or, perhaps, all that is mortal.
In other words, true riches and true happiness has nothing to do with cash. It has to do with personal fulfillment, loving relationships and self-esteem.
The problem many lottery winners face is that if the things that are truly important in life – relationships, self-esteem, etc. – are not strong to begin with, a massive infusion of money magnifies the problems and it can become overwhelming.
And financial wealth that is gained through random luck rather than through one’s own hard work and creativity is more likely to obstruct your progress toward true wealth.
So come Saturday morning, if you want to feel wealthier than the person wins the lottery, commit yourself right now to love, appreciate, and respect yourself. Recognize your talents and skills and do your best to pursue your passions and make the world a better place. That is priceless and more than you can buy with even a half billion dollars!
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