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Why it pays to dream big—even if you don’t win

Fri 27 May 2016, By Henry 'Mystic' Maven
It pays to dream big about winning the lottery

Ever asked someone who plays the lottery how they’d spend their winnings? You’ll probably be able to spend a good hour or two listening to them rattle off a long list of unfulfilled wishes and dreams. Nobody is immune to the wishful thinking prompted by the idea of coming into a large sum of cash.

And even if you don’t win the jackpot, this daydreaming can be a powerful force for good.

Take the example of Caitlin Huson. She recently wrote a piece for the Washington Post describing how the slim chance of winning the lottery resulted in a positive change in her marriage. After meeting online and spending a few years in a long distance relationship, she and her husband were used to communicating a lot.

But once they were married and spending more time together, she found that they didn’t talk as much as they used to. This all started to change once they’d bought a lottery ticket. They started sharing their ideas for how to spend their winnings. They started with the obvious things like quitting their jobs and redecorating the bathroom.

Then they started to dream big—buying their dream home and starting a scholarship fund. Far more precious than anything that money could buy was the fact that a simple Powerball ticket had got them talking again. It gave them the chance to reconnect and share their hopes and dreams with each other.

Having recently moved to the US and a home in need of serious renovation, their everyday lives had become bogged down in routine and DIY projects. And that’s something that happens to all of us. The daily grind of working, raising children and working towards your retirement can consume your life. Caitlin really enjoyed the way that this simple lottery ticket had re-ignited their imaginations. She had missed the way they used to talk about their future and confided their hopes and fears in each other.

It’s easy to think that buying a lottery ticket is a waste of money. After all, your chances of winning a really big jackpot are often slim. Because you’re not the only one with a ticket, so there’s no guarantee that you’ll win it. But the power of dreaming should never be ignored. It can be a powerful motivator. Even without a winning ticket, it allows you to imagine the things you can achieve when there are no obstacles in your way.

And very often, what we dream about when money is no obstacle can be very revealing. Are we materialistic, thinking only about the flashy cars and big houses we want? Or altruistic, imagining the ways we can use our winning to help others. The good news is that most of us would have a healthy balance of both these traits. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to something you’ve always wanted. But we know just how good it can make you feel to make someone else’s life a little bit easier.

The real beauty of this story is what it did for Caitlin’s relationship with her husband. They found a way to reconnect with each other through a simple lottery ticket. It’s unlikely to be the fix for a broken marriage, but it does seem like the perfect way to get a stagnating relationship fired up again.

So often we only hear negative stories about people who have won a lottery. How marriages fall apart or families become estranged. This prompts many people to believe that simply buying a ticket is inviting more trouble and stress into your life. But among all the lottery winners out there, there are many who have gone on to achieve great things for themselves and others.

One could argue that it has nothing to do with the sudden improvement in finances that a lottery win brings. Very often, these people have issues in their lives that would be there whether they are millionaires or paupers. What we’re really concerned with here is the powerful ability of a lottery ticket to free your mind to dream big.

This power of positive thinking opens up your mind and allows you to imagine the impossible. Even without winning the lottery, you can use it as tool to help you discover what you really want from your life. And often, you’ll realise that you can still make those dreams come true, even though it may take you a little longer to achieve them.

It also injects a bit of fun into your life. When you consider how affordable a lottery ticket is, is there really any reason not to buy one and dream a little? In this case, a lottery ticket gives you an excuse to escape into a world of fantasy. After all, we go to the movies and read books to escape from our everyday lives, and these activities are perfectly acceptable. So why shouldn’t a lottery ticket do the same?

So did they win the jackpot? At this point, are you really interested in finding out? If you just can’t stand loose ends, I’ll tie it up for—no, they didn’t. But it seems they both had a lot of fun sharing their dreams with each other again. And you can be sure that they’ll probably by a ticket for the next draw. How about you?