Why people buy lottery tickets, when there’s almost zero chance they’ll ever win? Previously I thought the answer is obvious: They buy because they want the millionaire lifestyle right now! Instant gratification! Boom: Millionaire life. Now.
However, after giving it additional thoughts, this seemed not to be the complete truth.
Actually, people buy lottery tickets ritualistically because it gives them the permission to regularly fantasise about living the millionaire lifestyle. It’s like buying a movie ticket for your own inner mental cinema showing: “Me, the Millionaire”
Apparently having this fantasy playing in your “Kopfkino” is worth $2 a week to many fellow humans. In fact, a large majority of people show very similar behaviour with all kind of stuff such as weight loss products, get-rich-quick schemes and products, dating products, you name it.
Why not spend the money on a one-year gym membership and then daydream about losing weight while not actually going back to the gym?
How convenient! For a seemingly small amount of money you can instantly “buy” yourself a solution to calm your inner voice that’s constantly asking you to change something in your life: Like a lottery ticket.
The main problem here is most folks attempting to consume their way to happiness will realize that after having bought their “feel-good” products and picturing what life could become: Instead of changing life itself – everything remains the same. And soon next purchase of happiness is needed. Like an addictive drug.
There’s no instant rich, no instant weight-loss and no easy way to success.
How about yourself? Many people spend more time reading about getting rich, successful people or businesses, instead of attempting to build one themselves? Sure, we all need inspiration. But how to actually get started once you feel you got the right amount of inspiration?
Most people persistently complain about “not having enough money or time”. They worry about their lack of success, instead of focusing on their small victories and building on what they’ve already got.
Luckily: Most successful people, wealth and businesses where not “built” overnight.
Somehow, it’s quite logic, the bigger a dream you dream, the higher an ambition you have and especially the more impossible your plan seems, the more scared you might get that you could fail. Many humans somehow fail to see beyond their own worries, concerns or problems and panic as a result of fear-based decisions.
F-E-A-R has two meanings:
Forget everything and run
Face everything and rise
The choice is yours.– Zig Ziglar
In other words: If something isn’t working after a few days, or weeks, they move onto something else. And then something else again, and on and on the cycle goes. Until at one point in time, guess what, they buy their next lottery ticket once again and break the chain of trying – by giving up.
How to break this apparent inevitable downwards spiral?
The key to change is simple, but not easy: Slowly reduce and then replace consumption with creation. Instead of daydreaming about getting rich, start earning more, saving more and learn how to invest and making money work for you. Instead of going to restaurants, start cooking more at home. Instead of reading more, start writing more. Instead of buying craft-beers, start brewing yourself! Need veggies? Plant them! Haircut? Learn how to do it yourself. Make it a habit to keep learning and doing.
“Stay afraid but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”– Carrie Fisher
Like anything at the beginning, it might feel awkward and you might not get immediate success or satisfaction.
However: Keep at it! See it as a transformation. Important is that you’ll take the first steps and that you keep going.
As you keep learning, doing, creating – whatever it may be – you’ll feel how your skills improve day by day. If you just improve 1% day over day, imagine how much better you’ll be in a years’ time, two years’ from now, in a decade! It’s the law of compounding! Your wealth will grow, your self-cooked food will get better, your haircuts will start to look better, your writing will get more appealing, you will get more confident and have more fun. And one day you might be able to do stuff you don’t even dare to dream as of now.
Besides: Creating value to the world is so much more satisfying than mere consuming stuff or ideas other people created.
Ultimately, you’ll gain mastery from doing. It takes time and repetition. The better you get at doing something, the more enjoyable creating will get. The more value you can add to the world, the more ideas will be pushing you from the inside – asking you to get realized.
You will transform into an idea-machine: An Imagineer!
Eventually you can’t leave your home anymore without a notebook to write down your new ideas as they come and hopefully you can’t even wait to start and keep doing again. Once you wake up, you’d want to jump out of bed to get back doing and you’ll be filled with a new kind of energy and deep satisfaction.
Believe it or not: Humans are born to be imaginative creators!
Not lottery-ticket buyers.
For most of human history there were no lottery-tickets.
In a way, it was only the occurrence of the industrial revolution that started to change how we humans spent our days. Thanks to increased productivity, corporations suddenly found themselves drowning in too much supply and not enough demand.
They had to find ways to convince us we need more; they improved marketing in order to let an increasing amount of people believe they need to consume more in order to “keep the economy going”. Unfortunately, many bought into this lifestyle.
Most surprisingly is that especially nowadays, where most of us are fully aware of this bombardment from advertisers, we still let them do it and give them evermore of our attention – the new currency of the 21st century. We let them into our lives, our homes, our screens and they know more than ever before about us. Just think about the big data-collectors on this planet.
The problem is that we believe we can fill our inner emptiness by consuming the right products and services. However, we can NEVER get ultimate satisfaction by simply consuming more. Actually, the opposite is true. The more we consume, the more we tend to experience stress and anxiety. The more we consume and possess, the more our possessions possess us – mentally, physically and emotionally.
It takes time to realize that the solution to this problem is on the other side of the equation: We’re so into this consumer mindset that we forget our inherent urge to create. At least for me, the solution is to consume less and create more. If we spend more time creating, we will automatically spend less time consuming. This saves money, builds skills and experience and leads to a happier life.
“The cost of living is dying.”
Find one thing that will add value to your life, your family and the world – and let’s start creating it! Step by step. Doing so will provide you much more satisfaction than purchasing a lottery ticket and just dreaming about another, better life while your actual life, your time passes by.
For myself, acquiring new skills, applying them and creating has and always will be an essential part of my life. Even though I can afford to have my hair cut, I bought an electric haircutting machine, I love to cook myself, learnt how to brew my beer, paint the walls in my home, started an indoor herb garden and much more. Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change. So, stop wishing, start doing.
What would you love to be able to create?
Would be happy to read more about this in the comments!
Disclaimer: I must admit having bought lottery tickets myself – and will buy again in the future. It’s a fun thing to fantasize and hey, I choose to be called Financial Imagineer. While I enjoy the fantasies, I don’t build my “wealth building strategy” solely on lottery tickets and will not be too disappointed by not winning. Should you have won the lottery already and wonder what to do now, please look no further and read here. There are too many horror stories and horrifying stats about lottery winners getting rich quickly and losing everything again.