In the wake of last week’s Powerball drawing, you’ve undoubtedly read or heard about the potential psychological hazards of Powerball. It preys on our delusional belief that the practically impossible from a statistical viewpoint could be possible for us. Then, we’re left reeling with the crushing disappointment of not winning or (more likely) the embarrassment at having played.
I would like to suggest a different point of view: the Powerball is an opportunity. It’s a catalyst to begin acting more in keeping with your values and priorities NOW.
Remember the fantasies you had about what you would do if you won? These can clarify what’s important to you and highlight the changes you would like to make in your life so that it’s more meaningful to you.Write down the answers to the following questions:
– If you won Powerball, what is the first thing you would do?
– What is the first thing you would buy?
– What projects would you do?
– What places would you visit?
– What new things would you explore?
– Which charity would you help?
– What benefit(s) would you receive from having this money?
Now, review your answers. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that many of the projects you want to do, new things to explore, places to visit, etc. can all be done with far less than 1 billion dollars or even a million dollars. Reviewing my answers to these questions, I noticed that many of my plans reflected the values of learning, family, and giving back. Interestingly, I already had the means to act on most of them, but I’d postponed them largely because I overestimated how much money was required. I didn’t need a billion dollars or even a million to form a non-profit, teach, travel, and study a new language to name a few.
Review your answers again and ask yourself what values your plans reflect. Then, think about realistic goals you can set that reflect these values. If you value health and fitness, do you really need to afford a personal trainer to get in shape? Do you really need to quit your job and go back to school full time to study something that interests you? Be mindful of the arbitrary preconditions and obstacles you’ve created to living a meaningful life NOW.
It’s true that large amounts of money can be a platform to pursue meaningful activities, but we often overestimate how much money is needed to do what’s important to us. Think about ways to start doing these things NOW. You could always wait to see if you win the next Powerball drawing, but that seems a bit risky to me.