Why The Lottery Is Bullshit

Last week at the end of our vacation in France, my Fiancé and I were in an Uber headed to the airport when I noticed the driver was holding a lottery ticket in his hand.

The music in the car was bumpin and every chance he got, the driver would look at the lottery ticket and say something under his breath.

Finally, when the music died down a bit, I heard him say “Cette fois, cette fois.” Admittedly my French is terrible so I pulled up Google translate on my phone and saw the translation “this time, this time.”

I realized he was trying to manifest winning the lottery, like saying a mantra to attract what he wanted.

Now look, I’m not saying that lotteries are bad or evil, but the mentality behind them is the essence of why so many people are stuck.

The mentality that we should win without working, gain because we’ve suffered, and get a free ride are all dangerous thoughts keeping most people stuck.

You don’t deserve anything. And you especially don’t deserve anything MORE than anyone else.

But why is this hopeful thinking so detrimental? For starters, because it keeps people in a holding pattern of fantasizing about a possible future they have no control over.

I call it Lotto-paralysis.

And it’s not just for lotteries. This is the reason the book The Secret was such garbage. It taught people to just hope and wish for what they wanted without having to work for it. And it’s the main reason why the book sold 20 Million copies.

Everyone wants to win just by thinking and believing they deserve it.

But don’t get me wrong, having an abundant mindset is incredibly important. You ARE a magnet for what you want to attract. Your thoughts are a part of the internal ecosystem which dictates how you show up in the world and how you attract what you believe you deserve (because that’s all we ever do – attract what we think we deserve). So having a healthy mindset is important… and it’s not enough.

Want to know a fun fact about people who win the lottery? Over 70% of them will be bankrupt in less than 5 years.

70% in 5 years… We are talking about people who win 100, 200 & 300 Million dollars.

Think about it. Why does this happen? 

Scarcity Mentality. 

Scarcity literally means to be in short supply or have a shortage of something. Probably the MOST important thing you need to know about scarcity is that it is a form of organizing hierarchies within your mind. You look out at the world and when you think scarcity thoughts, not only is it a reflection of your self-perception, but it’s a reflection of where you believe you “fit” in the world.

Weather you’re rich, poor or middle class, scarcity is your brains way of looking out at the world and assessing whether you have more or less than others, often as a means of making sure you act, behave and remain in some arbitrary place place.

If you’re like me, you may gave grown up in a home where funds were limited and heard your family say things like “debt is normal,” “that’s for rich people” and “we can’t afford that.”

The lottery for many people represents the fantasy of getting to “win big” without having to work for it, and we all secretly want that, don’t we?

But why is this? Why do we all crave this form of safety, security and protection?

Because rooted deep in our brain is an almond-shaped section of nervous tissue located in the temporal (side) lobe of the brain, called the amygdala. It’s a part of the limbic system within the brain, which is responsible for emotions, survival instincts, and memory.

Because of it’s connection to our survival instincts, one of it’s primary functions is to find ways to provide and produce safety and security.

But in the post industrial age people aren’t looking to kill their next meal, or having to worry about where they will sleep for the night. Instead, the brain has become fixated with the pursuit of money. Money is often coded as the pinnacle of protection in the brain because it leads to every form of security. The conflict begins when people don’t know how to make a lot of money or have limiting beliefs that they aren’t capable of it (often at a sub-conscious level).

The 5 apostles of a scarcity mindset.

The 5 apostles of a scarcity mindset are very real and we all battle them. Hell, I’ve had to work through most of these at various points in my life and have seen most of my clients struggle constantly with these in their finances, relationships, career, and family.

1. Believing things are permanent. 

Believing that life’s situations are fixed is perhaps the biggest pitfall of the scarcity mindset. You’ve probably heard people who sound like hopeless victims of circumstances. They don’t believe things can change or will change no matter what they do.

Maybe they think that they will never make more than 100k, or that debt will always be a part of their life, or that people around them will always ‘have it better.’ Whatever the thought, the thinking is permanent and can’t be changed by that person.

The only way they believe these permanent situations can be changed is through some form of a miracle, and so they think, pray, hope, and desperately try to believe that one is coming.

2. Using the language of scarcity

I can’t

This will never change

it’s never enough

Why can’t I catch a break

How come they always…

Scarcity language often uses permanent language like never, only, always, and implies a lack. It’s a fixed form of mindset and causes people to separate and divide themselves from other people and organizations who they believe have more.

3. Being envious of others

Envy is always a result of scarcity. Someone has something and you want it, or at the very least, are upset that someone else has it and you don’t think they deserve it.

Envious thoughts at work place, in your family, and amongst your friends can be incredibly damaging. It can lead to resentment, sabotage and the feeling of isolation.  Envy can be a small step away from justifying actions or behaviors which you normally wouldn’t permit, but allow because it dehumanizes the other person or people.

4. Overindulging

This might seem like a strange one, but overindulgence in todays world is a very common form of staying in scarcity. People overspend, buy beyond their limit, and take on copious amounts of credit. In fact, the average American household carries $137,063 in debt, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest numbers. Yet the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the median household income was just $59,039 last year, suggesting that many Americans are living beyond their means.

This is a major form of scarcity which often leads people to look at lottery tickets and random circumstances as a form of saving grace which would save them from the mental and financial burden they carry around with them on a daily basis.

5. Withholding Generosity

This is when people give less, withhold compliments, and have a tough time acknowledging the gifts of other people in many ways.

It’s usually tied to Envy. Because we think others have more than us, we are very careful in what we give others.

How Do You Win Without The Lottery?

If lotteries aren’t the answer and the secret to life isn’t found on the other side of cashing in through random circumstances completely out of your control… what’s left?

This would normally be where people normally prescribe hard work and focused action, which is all true. But we all know that, don’t we? We all know that real success and winning big is best enjoyed when we know we’ve earned it.

The real lesson from lotteries is to really ask yourself where you are hoping and wishing for things to work out without having to do anything.

Where in your relationship are you in lotto-paralysis? What conversations are you avoiding, what gratitude are you withholding and where are you overindulging?

The same goes for your career or business. Where are you waiting around hoping for ‘them’ to do it? One of the biggest pitfalls I see in leaders who run their own business is the mentality of “if I don’t look at it, maybe it’ll just work out?” Wrong.

Maybe you’ll get lucky for a while. Maybe the action you’re taking and the momentum you have will carry you through… for now. But eventually it’ll catch up with you. What you avoid doesn’t disappear, it’s just waiting for the right time to attack.

Want to have an abundance mindset and really win?

Look at the facts.

Own your feelings about them.

Stay focused on your mission

And enjoy the fruits of your labour when they pay off.

These four foundations (when followed in order) can be the lighthouse for your abundance. They will force you to look at the things you want to avoid, learn what action you can take on them and enjoy the victories when they arrive.

So here’s to you winning the real lottery – not the one you buy a ticket for, but the mindset you build, play and benefit from daily.