written by
Mike Speer

Don't Wait Until You Win the Lottery to Live the Life You Want

life 3 min read

If you've left your house at all in the last week, chances are you've heard the news on everyone's lips. It doesn't matter where you go--work, grocery shopping, out to lunch--everyone is talking about the so-called "biggest lottery prize in history." Maybe it's from your coworkers who are pressuring you to go in on a lottery pool. Maybe it's people in line at the coffee shop chatting about what they'd buy with the >$1.5 billion prize. So many people have bought lottery tickets that 75% of unique number combinations will be purchased by the time a winner comes forward. With the chances of winning calculated at 1 in 302,575,350, there will be a hell of a lot of disappointed people after that winning combination is called.

I've gotta say, there's something really sad about that.

While not everyone who buys a lottery ticket has any serious expectation of winning, almost everyone is motivated by the same thing: an excuse to leave their humdrum life, move to Hawaii, and never work another day in their life. It's like sitting on your ass and sipping Mai Tais for the rest of your life somehow became the new American Dream.

To me, it would be an absolute nightmare.

Why Work Matters

I'd be lying if I said that having money doesn't make things easier. If I somehow ended up with that winning ticket, I know the first thing I'd do would be to sprint to my wife and kids and just hug them, knowing that they would have everything they'll ever need in life.

But after that, I'd go right back to work. Just like every other day.

Without work, I'd be climbing the walls. In fact, I don’t think you could pay me not to work. I’ve had a side hustles since as far back as I can remember. Hell, even if I lost my job tomorrow, I’d start from the ground and happily build my way back up.

Hands overlapping

I think a lot of people, deep down, feel the same way. That's because work has always been an essential part of the human experience, ever since our hunter and gatherer ancestors. We're wired to want to keep our hands and our minds busy and to contribute to the betterment of the tribe. We evolved to become farmers and craftsmen and traders. We started working harder to improve our products, which drove us to, in turn, improve ourselves. Now, we have people who specialize in everything from microscopic human cells to the vastness of space. How cool is that?

Learn to Stop Hating Work

In today’s culture, work is seen as something to avoid at all costs. Retiring early is the ultimate goal, and I hate that mindset.

Whether you like it or not, most of us spend at least 40 hours every week at work. With 52 weeks in a year, that's 2,080 hours. Sure, you might get a week or two of vacation somewhere in there, but that's still a lot of time.

Why spend that time being miserable? Like I said, money is important, but is it really worth it if you spend 2,000 hours every year daydreaming about running away from it all?

That's why, if there's a choice between earning a little less with a job I love vs. earning more and being unhappy, I'll pick passion over paycheck every time.

A smiling ambulance driver speaking with a woman

Material wealth is not the only measure of success. I see success in the guy who's working his ass off with a smile on his face--whether he's working at a Fortune 500 or at the corner store. Finding that motivation and passion is something that I want for everyone. We need that curiosity and drive to make us human.

So, if you need to daydream about winning the lottery to get you through your day, maybe it's time to rethink the way you're spending your life.

About the Author

Mike Speer is a digital marketing executive at Michael’s Wilder. He shares his experiences with creative marketing, business, and balancing a hectic work schedule with his life as a devoted husband and father.

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career advice work money life lessons