Once again, lottery fever has struck and persons across the country lined up to take their chances at winning the big prize.
It is with great joy this morning that I inform you that I hit the jackpot. And I didn't even play.
I never play the lottery; I always joke that my $1 is a guaranteed sandwich at any number of favorite fast-food restaurants, and why would I take the chance of 1 in millions when I have a sure thing? But it's inherent in all of us that we want to take a risk on something bigger. So I want to invite you to do just that.
What is the lottery? It's a gamble. It's an opportunity that risks that my $1 investment is going to make a bigger difference, that it's going to be worth something more. The premise is that if I spend $1 wisely, it will come back to me 656 million-fold. The reality is that 655,999,998 of those dollars go to pay the person whose $1 actually paid off. You've just invested in a multi-millionaire. And you don't have a sandwich.
But what if you took that dollar and just gave it to someone at random? Don't worry about whether that person needs it. Don't worry about whether they are homeless or well-house. Don't worry about their habits or their hungers. Just give a dollar to a stranger, no strings attached.
It's the same principle as the lottery - you've just invested in someone else. Except now, it's likely not a multi-millionaire who just received that dollar. Now, it's your neighbor. It's the guy down the street. It's the girl around the corner you've never met. It's someone right near you who maybe needed a dollar today and maybe didn't, but now they have one and that opens a world of possibilities.
Maybe it's just me. But don't you feel magical when someone gives you a dollar? I mean, really. If someone walked up to you on the street corner, in line at the grocery store, waiting for Santa at the mall, and handed you a dollar, wouldn't you feel like it might just be your lucky day? Wouldn't you feel like you hit the jackpot? For a minute, you feel just a little richer.
Sure, if you think about it, it's just a dollar. It won't buy much, not in today's world, but it just feels so special. I don't know why. I am completely unattached to money, but if someone gives me a dollar, I smile anyway. And that becomes a dollar that's hard to spend. I look at that dollar and think, that's a special dollar. Someone gave me that for no reason at all. Someone made an investment in me.
We don't think all that when we give a dollar, but that's the way it feels when we receive one. At least, I do. And do you know what happens when someone invests in you?
It gives you the confidence to invest in yourself. If only just a little. If only just a dream. It gives you a starting point for a new adventure. All from a little dollar.
So I don't play the lottery, even if the chance is that my tiny investment might come back to me 656 million-fold. I just don't have a need for that kind of money. But I pick numbers for fun, then take that dollar and invest in something. Invest in someone. Hand a dollar to a total stranger, for no reason at all except that it's better, to me, to invest in one man face-to-face than to throw my dollar in a pool for the next big winner. I'm creating a big winner. I'm creating a man or a woman who feels invested in, who for at least a fleeting moment, has something they didn't have before.
Maybe that's a dollar. Maybe it's something more. But it's an investment I believe in and one that comes back on the world more than could possibly be calculated.
I don't have a dollar. And I don't have a sandwich. But I just hit the jackpot, and I feel pretty good about that.