It’s a question we all ask ourselves, whether idly on a boring work afternoon, or more seriously as part of a personal development course. If money were no object what would we be doing?
Of course the first answers usually involve travel, parties, new houses, new cars and giving money away to friends and family. But once the glamour and excitement of that lottery win has worn off, what then?
I was brought back to that subject by a conversation I had earlier today, asking exactly that. And as well as a few thoughts for random crazy projects, I also started thinking about the things that don’t change for people who win the lottery. And wondering what impact that has for how we live our lives already – but in the absence of millions of pounds, Euros or dollars.
Time. There are 24 hours in a day. We all have that, no matter how much money we have or what our circumstances. It takes about 5 hours to drive from London to Cornwall. It takes about 24 hours to fly from London to Sydney. That doesn’t change. However much money you have, you still need to get in a car or on a train to reach Truro or Newquay or Penzance. Your car might be a bit nicer and your train seat might have a bit more room around it. But it will still take you the same amount of time.
Health. If you have a chronic health problem, or some part of you doesn’t work properly, that is unlikely to change if you win the lottery. It might give you access to better doctors and a wider choice of treatments, but for some conditions that doesn’t make any difference. Being richer might mean you can afford a personal trainer to help you keep fit or mean you can buy healthier food more often. But if you didn’t want to be fit and healthy in the first place, having more money won’t change your mind about that. And sorry to be depressing, but at the end of the day, we all die. However much money we have.
People. If you were to win the lottery, your parents would still be the same, that wouldn’t change. Your brothers, sisters and extended family would still be the same people. You would still be married to the same person, with the same children. You would still have grown up with and worked with the same people. The attitudes of some of these people around you might change, and maybe even your future involvement with them – but your history wouldn’t. If you loved them or hated them, you’d probably still love or hate them. Having more money wouldn’t change what was in your heart.
So after a bit of travel, a few celebratory parties and some new purchases, what would I do if I won the lottery?
- I’d create myself a project. Visiting all the penguins in Britain for example (39 zoos and bird parks have penguins, not that I’ve counted them!), or all the National Trust properties (over 200 places to visit including houses and countryside). Something that would get me out and about, exploring the outdoors, going to new places and meeting people. And I’d take photos and write about it.
- I’d help at charity and community events and raise money for charity. Whether by getting involved in committees for specific charities, offering my skills, or continuing to be involved in Rotary.
- I’d travel to all those places I’d not yet made it to in the UK and overseas – and take other people with me to experience them too. I might also combine it with some overseas charity work, whether something physical such as helping build or decorate something, or something related to my skills such as helping businesses or local organisations with marketing or writing.
- I’d write – non-fiction books, newsletters, leaflets, websites, anything that I fancied writing about.
- I’d take photos – of penguins, of the outdoors, of unusual buildings and objects, of interesting places. And see if anyone liked my photos enough to exhibit them, or buy them.
So fundamentally, would my life actually be different if I won the lottery?
I’d still have the same level of health and motivation to maintain it and keep fit, I’d still have the same family and friends, and I’d still have the same amount of time available to me in a day.
I would of course have more time available to do the things I enjoy – the random projects, the writing, the photography, the travel and the charity projects. But actually, I have all of those things now, just maybe in smaller doses than I would like. But enough to enjoy and make the most of right now. (Because realistically I’m never going to win the lottery – I can’t remember when I last bought a ticket!)
What would you do if you won the lottery? Where would you live, who would be in your life? How does that compare to what you’re doing now, or what you wish you were doing now?
Why not start incorporating some of those things into your life now? Just in case you don’t win the lottery……