You Just Won the Lottery! Now What?

Hopefully, yesterday’s Chinese menu of possible passions “primed the pump” for you to identify your own. Other ways to identify passions are to talk with family members and good friends (who really know you) about your list. What gifts do they see in you? What passions? These conversations are enjoyable in and of themselves, because they get us dreaming.

But if you like, I can share a couple of other dreaming exercises from my book Platinum Living: Getting the Best Out of the Rest of Your Life. Here’s the first one:

You Just Won the Lottery!

This is a “get us dreaming” exercise that I used years ago when I taught Personal Finance at a local college. On the first night of class, I had my students imagine that they had won the lottery. Their homework for night #2 was to turn in their plan for how they planned to spend, not invest, their winnings. The imaginary winning amount was enough so they could well afford the new car, the new house by the ocean, etc. You could generally throw out the first paragraph of each of those assignments, because virtually every student's response began with those. But after that, you would find out what they really wanted to do with their lives. And those responses generally fell into four categories:

Self-Improvement – Travel abroad, learn a language, learn to play an instrument, write music, learn to cook, etc., etc. Those responses were to be expected. But included also in this area was a surprising number of respondents who identified challenges, usually small business startups, that they wanted to tackle. The reason this surprised me was that the financial reward aspect had pretty much been taken off the table. People, it seems, still like a challenge.

Relational/Family – Caring for a sick family member. Repairing a strained relationship. Helping a family member or good friend financially. Spending more time with their kids. Seeing distant family members and friends more often.

Charitable/Philanthropic – These were mostly late teen and twenty-something students so this was a weaker response category. Let's face it, it's not usually the first thought of any lottery winner, but there were still quite a few “youthful idealists” who had their causes and strong motivation to help people and make the world a better place.

Spiritual – Answering my questions about God, connecting with Him or my own Spirituality. This is another weak response area, I think due to the monetary nature of the exercise. In my experience, if they actually began to live the dream, it wouldn't be long before many began to ask, as the song says, “Is that all there is?” This lines up with my own spiritual journey as well.
Have some fun with the one for a while... then check back tomorrow for the second one.

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