Lottery or wishful thinking

When the economy is in a slump we find it tempting to buy a lottery ticket as a possible way out of our troubles(1) . Even a rainy day can send us to the Lottery stand in search of a cure for our bleak and dreary environment. Just like Romance Novels, Donuts and Nail Polish among other petty things we seek out things to cheer us up and put our focus on our well being and to the future.

One Lottery ticket every now and then can be a joyful event. It takes us out of the ordinary day to day activities and we look forward to the forthcoming event. For a few cents we can anticipate millions of Dollars or Euros in winnings. The winning numbers appear live in the TV and we have the feeling of being there when the balls are popping out one by one.

The downside is that suddenly we are under the spell of our wishful thinking with the possible dream of a new life with our pockets full of money. However, what is fruitful and positive is that we are looking to the future and not ruminating about the past or dwelling on obsessive thoughts.

Still we have to remember that our wish for better future has to be worked for. It helps to imagine it bright and beautiful as well as have faith in our prosperity in forthcoming days. It is therefore not helpful to condition our vision of the future on the outcome of the lottery draw each weekend.

The freedom is to be there in our living room with our lottery ticket ready, waiting for the draw. When we don’t win it is important not to be sorry. It is nearly impossible to win anything, so that is not the message. The message is to exercise your ability to be there and look forward to it. Look away from the gloom and towards being there in a happy moment for a while.

We buy a lottery ticket because we want it not because we have to. If we feel we have to, then this little exercise is forming a habit that can become a dangerous addiction.

Bjorn Vernhardsson psychologist

1. http://moneyland.time.com/2011/10/21/12-things-we-buy-in-a-bad-economy/#lottery-tickets

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