You Have To Play to Win! (Not a Lottery Ad)

There have been a lot of moments lately where I’ve felt like giving up something that I was previously excited about. You may relate- this is fairly common:

Step 1: You think up a great idea for a project, or for some new undertaking- a lifestyle change, a new diet, a new job, a new attitude.

Step 2: You begin this challenge with gusto and verve, ready to go.

Step 3: Progress is fast and furious- you’ve really got something going. What a good idea you have! Go you!

Step 4: Progress halts. Movement is tough. Are you moving backwards?

Step 5: Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. Maybe you aren’t the one for the job.

Possibly distraction moves in. Another task takes the place of this new creation. Scrolling Instagram for hours seems like a great idea. Netflix calls loudly. Procrastination ensues, followed by giving up.

BUT: if you quit the game before you’ve played, can you win?

Last month I decided to create a bunch of Budget Planners. I began to sell these budget planners on Amazon, and none really sold. I immediately got discouraged, and stopped making planners entirely for a short while- leaving my project half completed.

Facebook feeds were scrolled. A lot of email got deleted. But then, in a sudden burst of clarity, it became apparent to me that I had to play to win. And I hadn’t really played- I had only started. Even if my books aren’t successful, the steps to playing are clear: continue even when a downward dip sets in. Making the creation that does well isn’t the end game. Putting more out there is the end game. Continuing is the end game. Growing is the end game. And that’s the trick that keeps me playing. If my books do well, great. If not, back in the game. Even if they do well- back in the game. The game continues on. There are many more projects/creations/jobs/mentalities/habits/endeavors/people to play with. And there are many more downward dips ahead- but that’s normal. There are also uphill catapults!

Don’t stop!

 

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Should I Play the Lottery In My Thirties?

Last week the Powerball jackpot was 1.5 billion dollars. A bunch of my friends bought tickets and a few of them even won…four whole dollars.

When one of my friends first told me he went and bought a bunch of tickets, I’ll be honest, I was little upset with the idea. He asked me if I was going to buy any myself, and I replied with a haughty, ‘no, I think I’m going to invest my money and save it, thank you very much.’

I kinda felt amazingly proud of myself- the lottery (and gambling in general) are things that I can easily control my response to and I value that about myself. I have insane self-control when it comes to spending money on things that I consider wasteful. I don’t know if I’ve ever purchased a lottery ticket- maybe I bought some for an ex many years ago.

However, something about my own response bugged me- was it really so bad to buy lotto tickets? That same week, I received an email newsletter from a writer I love, Ramit Sethi. He was talking about how silly it is to discourage people from buying lotto tickets, because, in a way, you’re discouraging them from dreaming. Ironically, he was actually writing in response to bloggers who scoffed at people who bought lotto tickets. He said:

Their articles [finance bloggers] reflect a total lack of understanding about WHY people buy lottery tickets. Hint: People who buy lottery tickets don’t really expect to win. People know the odds are astronomically, cosmically against them. So why would they do it?

The answer: They’re buying permission to dream about winning it.

If you think about it, $2 for a dream is well worth it. If you live a life where you’re counting pennies, isn’t it worth paying $2 for the dream of becoming fabulously wealthy — even if just for an hour? Hell, if you live a humdrum life of $60,000/year with 2% annual raises and one 2-day vacation a year, you can see why people would crave an escape.

By the way, there are a LOT of other ways we pay for an escape: Movies, fancy clothes, and so many more things. Isn’t it funny how lottery tickets cost less, but incur more wrath from judgmental people? It’s fun. It makes you feel good, and that’s a great reason to spend $2. OF COURSE lottery tickets are mathematically stupid. So is going to a bar to meet someone…but we do it anyway.

I never really thought about lotto tickets that way, but they’re a tiny price to pay to dream about something way bigger and more exciting in your life. Sure, we can all visualize and meditate and dream for free, but any tool that helps you feel happier and more passionate about life, is harmless, and only costs a couple of dollars, is absolutely, totally worth it. Use the tools that you discover- little indulgences here and there can help you feel better and dream exponentially bigger. Make the ‘silly’ choice sometimes.

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