What’s your lottery ticket? How to (never) change things overnight

I say I never played the lottery but…the reality is very different. What a hypocrite.
The truth is, I am wired to play the lottery. Every day.

I have this friend that buys two lottery tickets every week.
“The chances may be slim, but if you don’t play your chances are zero”.
At least he’s honest about his intentions.
Unlike me.

I say that playing the lottery makes you complacent.
I say that if I won a load of money overnight I would feel like I didn’t earn it.
I say that I’d rather invest my drive somewhere else.
Fair points. With 16.5 million millionaires in the world, your chances of working your way towards 7 digits are around 1:461. Sure, some may be inherited. Still. Winning the lottery? 1:14. Million.

Yes, 1 in 14 million.

change things overnight

If only I walked the talk.

I never played the lottery. The only time I bought a scratch card, I must have been 16. I immediately won enough to pay for two more tickets. So I did. Game over. That was the closest I ever got to playing the lottery.

Blah blah. That’s what I like to tell myself. Lies.

We all play the lottery somehow. Your game may not be money.
Maybe you were nodding at my comments above. Good for you.
But we all look for a big break somewhere in life. An overnight success. Zero to hero.

Maybe you want to do work that makes you jump out of bed with a smile every morning.
Maybe you want to sleep like a baby and feel like you have so much energy every day.
Maybe you want to create amazing relationships that follow the 2.1 rule.

Whatever you want to see happen for yourself, what are you actually doing to get closer to it?
If you pay attention, you’ll notice that often, all you do is buying a lottery ticket. A lucky shot, unlikely to happen but just enough to make you feel like you’ve done your part. Enough for you to place responsibility somewhere else. To sit back and wait.

Relationship lottery? Downloading an app that shows you a bunch of faces around you, with no personal context. Then sit on the sofa and find a flaw for every single one.
Friendship lottery? Waiting for school and other life events to bring amazing people to you (ideally inspiring ones, thank you).
Health lottery? Taking a pill to fall asleep and hoping that the symptoms disappear, then ignore the behaviours that caused them.
Business lottery? Buying a domain and business cards, then sit and wait for people to give you money.

And many more. In all these examples, we do just enough to feel ok with ourselves.
Then sit back and hope to cash in on our terrible odds.

All work, no progress

Think about when you were a kid.
Did you wake up every day saying “I’ve grown so much last night”?

I doubt it. Apart from the occasional overnight sprouting, your daily growth was unnoticeable. Yet, when you look back on your pictures, that’s when you notice you’ve changed. A lot.
Look at 3-year-old Matt: he couldn’t even grow a beard. Ah!

Whatever you want to accomplish next, putting in the work daily is tough.
It seems like you’re not getting anywhere. You see no results, but you have to keep showing up.
Until you look back, and you realise how far you’ve come.

The lottery ticket effect gives you the illusion that things can happen tomorrow. Or maybe the day after. In the end, you spend your days waiting.
But if you started taking daily action within your control, you could be there already.

What’s your lottery ticket?

— Matt


PS: learn to celebrate your wins to notice your daily progress.

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