What Do Your Lottery Fantasies Say About You?

What Do Your Lottery Fantasies Say About You?

Do you ever fantasize about what you would do if you won the lottery? If so, what can that tell you about where you may be stuck in life? Also, what was my lottery fantasy when I was stuck in my life? Watch and find out!

Chances are, you’ve asked yourself the “Lottery Question”: what would you do if you won the lottery? As I write this, the current PowerBall jackpot is up to $94 million. That sure would be nice to have in the bank right about now.

So if you won, what would you do? Take a minute to think about it and write out your answers. Would you buy a new car? A beach house? Would you quit your job? Would you take an around-the-world vacation?  Or would you just invest it all in a safe, low-yielding, fixed income portfolio?

Let’s dig into what some of those answers can tell us about ourselves.

First Off – Are You Having Lottery Fantasies?

If you find yourself in traffic every day having a lottery fantasy, then that’s a fairly good barometer that maybe something is misaligned in your life!  If you have a purpose or mission (or are just plain excited about your life), then the chances are you’re focused on that.  The escapism of a lottery fantasy could be a signal to take a step back and think about which areas of your life aren’t clicking on all cylinders.

Lottery Fantasies and Being Rescued

One of the lures of the lottery fantasy is that it’s a quick mental escape from the stresses of real, everyday life. The Buddha said that suffering is the first noble truth and we all face it in our lives. Dreaming about the Robin-Leech-Lifestyles-of-the-Rich-and-Famous versions of ourselves (thanks to our newly won millions) can be a quick and easy way to take the edge off of the stress and monotony of real life.

However, there’s a nefarious flip-side to the lottery fantasy: the idea that somehow all these riches will take away all our problems. That’s where this idea of “self justification” comes in.  It goes something like this: “When I’m worth $100 million, all my needs will be met and I won’t ever have to worry again.” The temptation lies in thinking that we will be fulfilled, happy, have meaningful relationships and sip margaritas on our giant yachts.

It’s easy to want to be rescued from a difficult or uncomfortable situation.  Think about the aspects of your life that you may feel like you need to be rescued from.

Please note: fulfillment, happiness and meaningful relationships are all free.  You don’t need $100 million to be happy and fulfilled.

Of course, being happy, fulfilled, having meaningful relationships AND $100 million wouldn’t be too shabby.

So what can your lottery fantasies tell you about yourself?  I’ll give you a personal example.

My OLD Lottery Fantasy

Years ago when I was stuck in life, I had a recurring lottery fantasy and it went something like this:  (And, yes, I did think in accounting line item fashion…)

Okay I just won the lottery!  Let’s figure out how much I’m going to get… 

Cash option:                                         $ 100 million
Less est. taxes:                                    ($ 45 million)
Net after taxes:                                     $ 55 million
Divided by 2 after divorce:                              / 2
Net after divorce:                                 $ 27.5 million

So I have my number:  $27.5 million. Let’s plan on a beach house in Pawleys Island, penthouse condo in town, a new BMW M6, season tickets for…

Wait what?  Divorce?

Yes, that’s right.  I was miserable in my marriage, but was reluctant to even admit it to myself.  But in the midst of those lottery fantasies, there it was.  And it took a few of these before I actually started noticing that, every time I had a lottery fantasy, I would automatically divide by two.

As it turns out, I didn’t need to win the lottery to leave a bad marriage.

So, what can you learn about your lottery fantasies?

Things AND OUR REFERENCE GROUP

The “what would you buy” aspect of the lottery question can be pretty easy.  Whether it’s about the cars, couture clothing or a ridiculous mansion, these are the fun things to think about.  It’s a great distraction and interesting to see if what you want in this area changes over time.

Of course, none of this will make us happy or fulfilled.

Or what if you have to look to others in order to come up with things to buy in this lottery fantasy that we’re having?  What does that say about you?

Remember that movie, “The Italian Job”?  Edward Norton’s character lived out the material fantasies of all his betrayed crew members because he had no real ideas of his own and was influenced by his reference group.

If you find yourself taking on the dreams of the other people around you, examine what makes you want those same things.  Do you really love sweet, sweet 70’s conversion vans?  Or do you wish you could truly connect with your Uncle Rico so much that you took his ideas of what was awesome and made them your own?

Who is influencing you here?  How have they influenced you?  There’s no judgment here because it happens to all of us.  Let’s just observe.

If all your friends are dying to get into the exclusive country club, do you feel that desire as well?  Do you even like golf and tennis anyway?  Our reference groups are extremely important when it comes to forming our desires as well as what’s “normal”.

Conclusion

It's perfectly fine to indulge in the occasional lottery fantasy, but if you're having them frequently it may be time to examine the other aspects of your life.  It may be easier to buy a lottery ticket than to change your life, but the odds are much, much better.  Plus, you're less likely to pull a M.C. Hammer and blow it all!

Cheers,
Patrick

 

Photo by Lance Asper on Unsplash

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