I’m Glad I Didn’t Win Powerball. Really!

I’m glad that I’ve moved on to practicing the Soul Trait Order this week. I’ve been scrambling around, and need some help to get my schedules and priorities re-established. No, I was not distracted by Powerball fever, although I did watch with a kind of detached fascination. (I was far more drawn in by all of the David Bowie tributes.) In fact, I did not buy a ticket because I feared winning.

My Mussar teacher Alan Morinis once reminded us that for many people, winning the lottery is the worst thing that ever happened to them. I am pretty sure a billion dollars would ruin my life. I couldn’t live in my current house, and would need someplace with more security. Would I need to worry about someone kidnapping my kids? I can imagine people coming out of the woodwork asking for money, and friendships becoming strained. Because of these reasons, I’m Glad I didn’t win Powerball. At the same time, I recognize that I am in a financially secure situation right now, and that if I were living in poverty to struggling to get by, I might take the billion to improve my life situation. I think Mark Cuban summed it up well, saying “If you weren’t happy yesterday, you won’t be happy tomorrow. It’s money. It’s not happiness.”

In addition, several research studies have shown that those with more wealth tend to have less empathy and compassion for others. (Read more here). I have enough trouble with empathy and compassion — the last thing I need is something that could make me less compassionate.

Whoever the winner is, I wish them well. Their spiritual curriculum just got a lot more interesting! For me, it is back to making lists and setting priorities. And, I’m happy to say that this morning I unloaded the dishwasher before breakfast. It always makes the day go better, but lately I haven’t done it.

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Originally published at americanmussar.com on January 14, 2016.

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