Monday, 4 June 2012

Why I don't want to win the Lottery

I remember saying this at my office job years ago, long before the now well known stories of lottery winners lives gone horribly wrong.  I would HATE to win the Lottery.

Working in a pretty dead-end, nine to five job in a horrible pointless industry, my colleagues would often cite the lottery as their best hope for getting out of there - they would pay off mortgages, go on dream holidays and upgrade the car.  All their worries would be over.  Their dreams would suddenly be right within their reach.

My opting out of the weekly office 'pool' was met with suspicion and astonishment.  Especially when I explained that I'd actually totally freak out if I won a million.

So yes, on some level I realised that suddenly coming into a lot of cash may well bring it's own problems, as is proven by the many statistics on people going bankrupt within a few years of a big win.  I'm not great with money and I've no reason to believe I'd be any better with £1million than I am with £1000.

I also had seen the odds.  Around 1 in 14,000,000 for the Jackpot and 1 in 56 for a tenner prize.  I saw a news report once, I don't know how well researched it was, which said that, if you sellotaped a pound coin to a card with your name and address on it and flushed it down the loo, you would have more chance of getting it back that way than if you played the lottery.

Most of all, I've always had this sneaking suspicion that the lottery stands as an invisible barrier between people and their dreams.  The tantalising promise of a huge cash windfall means you can just buy a ticket every week and one day, maybe,one day you can start really living the way you want to.  In the meantime, because you have the remote hope that those numbers give you, you don't do very much else to create your life of awesomeness.

Now see here.  If I had waited to win the big prize to start The Art House, odds are pretty high (14,000,000 to one, in fact) that I'd still be waiting, still be in that office job and I'd be around £520 poorer to boot.

In order to start The Art House I gave up where I was living and put the money I'd have spent on rent into our first quarter's rent.  That was £460.  Less than I'd have spent on all those lottery tickets.

Here's what lessened the odds, in 10 handy steps:-

Step (0) was - I TURNED OFF THE TV.

1) I stopped WAITING - for the big win, the perfect time, the right people, enough money, security, perfect health, perfect skills......
2) I told everyone what I was planning to do.  Literally, EVERYONE.  This recruited me a big ol' team of helpers and supporters.
3) I started saying 'yes' a lot more - to opportunities, experiences, everything.
4) I spent less, buying secondhand, holidaying in a tent just up the road and generally enjoying life on the cheap.
5) I focussed on doing the things I loved as often as I could.
6) I put myself out there - went to classes, did some art markets, joined in. 
7) I got my act together and went travelling (even though I realise now I probably didn't need that step - but more of that on another post).
8) I'd been waiting not to be in debt, thinking I had to keep working until the balance was zero - except it never got any closer to zero.  I decided to do the best I can to pay things off, but not to let my past hold me back any longer.
9) I took the difficult step of letting go of things that were holding me back - where I lived, where I worked and sadly my marriage (at the time it was awful, now we BOTH have the radically different lives we wanted and neither of us is miserable - win).
10) I embraced all the experience I'd gathered in all those boring jobs - it came in VERY HANDY and I started to suspect that those jobs had been a training ground for what I'm doing now, because the universe is clever like that.

There's a bit in Thelma and Louise where Thelma says to Louise "something crossed over in me, I can't go back, I just couldn't".  I remember the day I felt that way.  It was scary as hell, but I made a commitment never to go back to only half living my life.  It's still pretty scary sometimes, not having that rug of a secure job under me,.  I'd got awfully comfortable on that rug! 

But something crossed over in me.  I couldn't go back, I just couldn't.

Living your dream life does take a fair amount of risk.  For at least the first bit, security may be on the line.  I don't have the exact figures though, but I'm 100% certain that the odds on getting everything, EVERYTHING you dream of if you get busy right now are much, much better that 14 million to one.  Much,  much, muchmuchmuch better.

So, play the lottery by all means - now that I've worked on a few lottery funded projects, far be it from me to discourage anyone from contributing.  But don't make that your plan to get that life you really want to be living.  Seriously.

1 comment:

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