Be careful what you wish for…

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NOT EVERYTHING: Winning the lottery does not necessarily lead to happiness. Photo credit: Shutterstock

BE careful what you wish for as it could come true.

Research reveals that winning the lottery doesn’t necessarily mean winning happiness.

Many winners reflect that their lives were happier before they struck gold. The one positive effect is that most winners do claim to be happy but no happier than they were before their win.

Happiness isn’t what you have in the bank; the rich are often the loneliest of people. Their wealth isolates them from reality, draws false friends, creates poor relationships, and leaves most wondering what is real and what is not.

Unexpected wealth makes the pursuit of happiness harder. Author Melissa Dahl says, “Eventually, the thrill of winning the lottery will itself wear off. Even the most positive events will cease to have impact as they themselves are absorbed into the new base line against which further events are judged.

As lottery winners become accustomed to pleasures made possible by their wealth, these pleasures should be experienced as less intense and should no longer contribute very much to their general level of happiness.”

Wealth earned through a successful career brings contentment. Affluence won at the spin of the roulette wheel is a far different matter. Advice is that if you really want to win the lottery of life then remember the adage: ‘happiness isn’t having what you want; happiness is wanting what you have.’

American research revealed that 85.5% of winners continue to work after winning the lottery. No less than 63% continue to work for same employer as before. A study conducted in Sweden revealed similar findings.

Being unused to wealth but under the illusion that they can manage their unexpected windfall, lottery winners are more likely to declare bankruptcy within three years.

Another pitfall of unexpected prosperity is that very often a lottery win takes you from one social environment to one in which you have little empathy.

I recall double glazing partners who, on winning a substantial amount on the lottery, took their families to an exotic Bahamas island. Their chosen hideaway was favoured by the obscenely rich; corporate heads, socialites, politicians and bankers.

Because of their working class background, the families’ lack of influence and unfamiliarity with the social setting, the couples said they were ostracised. It was afterwards agreed that it was their unhappiest holiday experience ever.

Real riches you cannot buy. Try instead cultivating strong relationships, participating and investing in cultural or charitable pursuits, at which you will make real friends. The one thing to avoid is hedonism, but many will get their fingers and their wallets burned.

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