Savor the Lottery

by Susie Amundson

During our hiatus in Washington state, I used to buy lottery tickets. It wasn’t a “jones.” But sometimes when I was feeling it or just in a funk about work, I would purchase one or two in the express line at the grocery store.

If he was with me, that tall endearing fellow I live with, he’d usually give me the look. You know the look. That incredulous one that says, “What are you doing?” Yes (cringe) deep in my heart I knew that state lotteries were and are still a bad idea.

I’d been schooled by a dear friend. State lotteries hit the poorest the hardest and serve as a covert tax by tax-averse politicians. So there, I’d shudder with a little embarrassment.

And holding the tickets in one hand, paid cash for them with the other.

At times, I even flirted with the idea of what I would do with all that money. Give some away. Invest some. Start a foundation. Travel to third world countries and help children with disabilities. All those noble kinds of things.

By the time we moved back home to Alaska, I had prized a whopping $16 from the lottery. So much for the foundation.

But here’s the deal of this lottery story.

I had already won it.

And guess what? So did you. And not just Thanksgiving week.

There are about seven and a half billion people alive on the Earth today. And most of them are living in very different conditions than us.

From the lens of money alone in the world, if you make $10,000 a year you are in the top 50% of the world. And if you solely make $32,400 each year, well you just jumped to the top 1%.

Top 1% in the World. That takes away my breath. Call it what you want – chance, accident, luck, providence, or fluke.

It was bequeathed to you. And you too, have won the lottery.

In coaching and organizational consulting, I hear about problems and dilemmas. Real. Serious. And worthy. Struggles exist: dealing with family strain and losses of loved ones, managing our own illness, stressing out about money or having enough, wrestling with sideways relationships including the one with ourselves, or dreaming about erasing away our work problems or that agitating colleague.

These troubles are a common thread in all of our lives. For most of us, we possess and use inner and outer resources to help sustain us through tough times. And during particularly bumpy ones, we learn new tools to improve our perspective and connection.

Gratitude tools work like that. They help us tune into the sources of goodness in our lives. ​They heighten our appreciation for even tiny blessings in the world. They expand and warm our spirits. They broaden and build goodwill.

It’s Thanksgiving so it’s a wonderful time to step up your gratitude.

Next time you find yourself in the midst of a funky phase or burdensome life struggle, try to press your “pause” button. Take a deep, cleansing breath of air. Shift the focus of your mind and heart.

And Savor the Lottery. Feel free to try out “Three Good Things,” too.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!  May you notice your many blessings this season.

p.s. Next Post: Earthworms!