The Lottery Myth is that idea that the joy and happiness you seek is waiting at the end of the current struggle if only the odds would work in your favor just once. Other incarnations of the same thought involve you being “discovered” or otherwise plucked miraculously from your current situation to a more prosperous existence. My grandmother would always end any conversation concerning money with the phrase, “Now, if I hit the lottery, you know you’d be set, Right?”
“Yes. I know, Grandma. Love you.” I remember as a child hoping, almost expecting, that my grandma would “hit the lottery” some day soon. All my financial and many other challenges would fade away. My family would be safe, satisfied, and set. Right?
One thought shook that hope from me as I passed from adolescence to adulthood. It was simple as math. One million dollars is $100,000 over 10 years. That same $1 million is $50,000 over 20 years. At some point in adult life, I realized that I had already processed $1 million dollars through my hands. The question was much more about the value and utilization of the money than it was about the amounts.
The Value of Money
Money does leverage safety and satisfaction. It can have you set in a certain path of opportunity and access. But, your definition of safety, satisfaction, and “set” are the more sustainable focus of your health and well-being equation. Just as time passes by, money comes and goes. What I could have lost in the hope of lottery winnings was life with my grandmother. Those holidays and summers of great food and life lessons. Those random phone calls when she would be eating and attempting to talk on the phone annoyingly. That belief she supported in me that someone thinks the world of me. Truth is, these moments, creating memories are the definition of safety, satisfaction, and “set” that I cherish as I get older. Even as $1 million turns to $2 million and investments decrease the work required while increasing the returns, my safety is in the ability of my children to step out of their comfort zone. My satisfaction is in the products my wife and I bring to market. I am set knowing that I contribute beyond my small circle and create a legacy for the future.
Legacy: Hope and How
Now that my grandmother has passed away, I find that she was my lottery—worth more than I realized with enduring impact across generations. She was the support that allowed me to leverage safety and satisfaction. It was never about the lottery. It was her way of communicating that she believed in me. With her, I was always set. Now, without her physically, I live her legacy as I connect with each new person and share a vision of hope and how.
Hope is that safety that allows you to risk. I believe in you even with your faults, your temperament, your failures, and your uncertainty. I believe because your next choice is waiting. You can always choose the more sustainable path. “How” is the work I have done to analyze my own experience, human behavior, institutions, environmental factors, and interactive effects. I take the time to understand you, your profile, your history, and your preoccupations to plot your path toward your greatest satisfaction. Just like my grandma was to me, I am your keeper of the hope and the how until it becomes second nature to you. I remind you of hope and how until you learn to motivate yourself through them. And…If I hit the lottery, you know you’d be set, Right?