Would winning the lottery make you happy?
This article is about happiness, because there are two groups of people, for some happiness is easy, and for some happiness is elusive, perhaps you know which of these two groups your mood spends most of its time camped out in, perhaps you don’t. Perhaps you have times where you find that being happy is easy, and perhaps you have times when you feel its almost impossible to be happy.
The reason why some people cannot find happiness is that they are simply looking in the wrong place!
In the UK the chances of winning the lottery are pretty low, in fact the chance of 6 numbers drawn at random from a set of 6 balls numbered 1 to 49 means that the jackpot chance is 1 in 13,983,816, or roughly 1 in 14 million and despite the chances of winning being very low indeed we still commonly hear people remark how happy they would be if they won the lottery.
Yet even in this extreme 1 in 14 million example, people fail to realise that;
Happiness is not something ready made, It comes from your own actions. -Dalai Lama.
and here lies the problem because some people, those that have a ‘lottery mindset’ have a way of thinking that prevents them from really knowing where to find happiness and this in turn prevents them from doing what they need to do to make themselves happy.
When was the last time someone described how happy they would be if they had a new car, a new house, or a new pair of designer shoes? The ‘I’d be happy if’ expression is an example of ‘Effective forecasting’ which is the term used by psychologists to describe the process of forecasting your emotional state, the trouble is as individuals we are generally very bad at doing this.
Researchers have shown that the happiness from a jackpot lottery win wears off, research has also shown this happens sooner than we might think, so lets imagine if your prize wasn’t as big as a lottery jackpot, imagine if that ‘I’d be happy if….’ reward that you thought would make you happy was a little more realistic, it could be a new house, a new car, a pair of designer shoes or even just a piece of cake, then I’m sure that if happiness from a lottery win eventually wears off, perhaps then with these more frequent examples of material gain your happiness would wear off even sooner, perhaps in the last example as quick as it takes to have your cake and eat it.
A ‘lottery mindset’ is where people are looking for happiness from external things,
Ask yourself does any material object including money really have a long lasting effect over our emotions, if you have a lottery mindset you might think it does and you will be wrong, now ask yourself does that new shiny red car really have a magical power over you that makes you happy? That car is after all just a ready made material object.
By now you might be saying ‘No I would be happy ! I would be happy if ……I won the lottery’, I’ve no doubt that a big wad of cash would move your mood into the ‘happy camp’ for quite a while, but not as long as you might think it would, and neither is it likely to happen.
Perhaps those that win in the happiness game and stay in the ‘happiness camp’ are those that lose the ‘lottery mindset’, and realize as did Aristotle back in 320BC that ‘happiness comes from ourselves’ and is not ready made in some material object.
Then maybe for real happiness inside not outside is the place to look, compounding this is the fact that the small things in life are priceless, and without these things a lottery win is worth nothing.
You might ask yourself the question what does this mean? and Would winning the lottery make me happy?
Yes it would, but not for as long as you think, in reality the chances are that you won’t win the lottery, this however doesn’t stop you getting a ‘lottery mindset’ which means that you could be going through life looking for happiness in the all the wrong places.