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Live Like You Won The Lottery: How to Start Being Happy Today

Live Like You Won The Lottery: How to Start Being Happy Today

“Remember this; that very little is needed to make a happy life.”
Marcus Aurelius

At one time or another, most of us have stood in the shower and imagined what our lives would be like if we suddenly won the lottery. We choose a number (mine is 96 million), take out the taxes, then begin dividing it up—passing out houses, cars, and checks like candy. And not just to our family and friends, but to almost anyone who’s ever been kind to us.

Personally, I always give something to my fourth grade teacher, as well as to my mailman, and even the tow truck driver who once changed my tire for free. And, I don’t know about you, but it feels good when I pass out my monopoly money to those who need it. I mean, we’re happy to help, right? It makes us feel admired, and loved. At least for that one shower. I know I’m not alone, either. It’s a common dream that many of us share. The idea of instant happiness. The idea that somehow our life will take on a magical quality, if only we had the means to realize our dreams. We believe that if we could just get “there” we’d finally be happy.

And, of course, there in lies the problem with the lottery.

It’s not that we shouldn’t dream big or imagine possibilities. The problem comes when we buy into the illusion that everything we want is “out there,” instead of “right here” within us. The problem arises when we put off living in the meantime.It’s called “lottery thinking”—also known as always waiting for our ship to arrive. “If only I had this, then I would have that.” It’s waiting for all the stars to align just perfectly, so that we can begin living the life we think we deserve.

Unfortunately, when we live from this lie, we unwittingly buy-in to the idea that our life is somehow lacking in the meantime, like we’re forced to settle for some “less than acceptable” means of existence. Well, I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time to shatter this myth of what constitutes a happy life.

I’ll go so far as to say that we’ve already won the lottery. All we need to do is realize it.

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If you think I’m about to peddle some half-full glass of optimism, you’re right— I am. In fact, the quality of our thoughts are exactly what will determine the quality of our lives, or as Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” In other words, we don’t need to wait another second to feel as if we’ve won it all. We just need to change our perspective.

Here are four tips to get you started.

How To Win The Lotto Tip #1: Live In The Now

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

Buddha

The next time you’re in the shower, just enjoy the hot water. Stop thinking about what went wrong yesterday, or how tomorrow will be better. Just as it is impossible to be in two places at one time, the only thing it accomplishes is to zap us of today’s energy, while also robbing us of its joy.

As mystics and saints have been telling us since the dawn of time, it’s not Disneyland, but the NOW which is the happiest place on earth. It’s the only place where we can truly be present with our kids, enjoy nature, appreciate beauty, find solitude, discover love and be ourselves. It is also the home to peace, harmony and all the secrets of the universe.

How’s that for a Magic Kingdom?

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So, just how do we live in the Now? Again, ignore the past and forget the future.

Yes, we can learn from yesterday and plan for tomorrow, but then we must let it all go and live in the moment. This takes vigilance, which begins by mastering where we put our attention, a commitment to focusing on one thing at a time. That means appreciating who we’re with and what we’re doing. It means watching, listening, breathing, smiling, and accepting.

Living in the now is an art that ask us to slow down, go within, and find the stillness in our hearts. It is an art that asks us to treat every moment as sacred.

Cultivate this art and we’ll slowly begin to see that all the riches of the world are bundled up into the one single moment we’re living in.

How To Win The Lotto Tip #2: Find Your Purpose

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it.”
Buddha

I know we’d all like to think if we struck it rich, we’d tell our boss to shove it and then go retire to our own private island in the Pacific Ocean. At the very least, there’d be no more rat race, working for the man, alarm clocks and time cards. We’d put up the “gone fishing” sign and start living the good life. Five star hotels. Private jets. Fine dining. Someone to iron our underwear.

While all that sounds wonderful, most of us know deep down in our hearts that there are just as many miserable rich people as there are miserable poor or middle-class people. And, I know we’d like to believe that being miserable wouldn’t be so bad if we were living in a seaside mansion, but the inescapable truth is this: money can’t buy happiness. Sorry, but the cliché is true, but, that’s okay, because real take-it-to-your-grave happiness comes at no cost and is accessible to anyone who is willing to take one simple, but challenging leap: to live the life you were meant to live.

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This is our call to do what excites us, moves us, and drives us to jump out of bed with purpose each morning. To live our purpose is to do what we would do if no one was watching. It’s to do what we were meant to do. It’s the reason we were born, and it should scare the hell out of us at the same time as it excites us.

Of course, we don’t always know what our purpose is. Sometimes we have to search for it. But, it’s out there. And it’s waiting. All we need to do is follow our intuition, pursue our passions, and chase our joys. Do that and eventually we will collide right into it. The most wonderful thing is that once we find our purpose, we’ll discover our talents, which, when shared with others, is how we will each make our difference in the world. That’s a jackpot we can all share.

How To Win The Lotto Tip #3: Spread The Love

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.”
Mother Teresa

If you want to help another human being you don’t need to wait until you win 92 million dollars to start—you can do it right now. You don’t have to buy your mailman a car; buy him lunch or a cup of coffee. You want to thank an old teacher? Write a heartfelt letter. You want to help out your family and friends? Show them how much you care, and be there for them when they need it. It’s not about money, it’s about generosity of spirit.

Sure, a big fat check with lots of zeros is nice and all, but what people really want is someone to listen to them, and to acknowledge their feelings. They want what you are, not what you have. The best part is, the more we give away our love, the more we bring it back into our own lives, making us even richer. Yes, Sir Paul McCartney was right. “The love we take is equal to the love we make.”

How To Win The Lotto Tip #4: Add More Joy & Adventure Into Your Life

“Sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
Winnie the Pooh

Okay, you really want to win the lotto? Keep the buck in your pocket and add more joy into your life. And while you’re at it, make the seeking of joy an adventure that will take you into as many different worlds as possible.

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In other words, try everything. The mandolin, the banjo and the Cha-Cha. Also, barefoot running, rollerblading to work, gardening, miming, yoga, spin class, and a pickup basketball game with strangers. Don’t just explore the ballet, either; stop for break dancers in the subway, and seven year-olds holding magic shows. If you can’t backpack across Europe, pitch a tent in the backyard. If you won’t bungee jump off a bridge, at least write poetry to your spouse. What matters is that we jump in somewhere, anywhere, bravely, boldly and with no apologies. What matters is that we speak up and join in. That we are the first to say hello, extend the hand, offer the hug, take the chance, make the move. It doesn’t matter if we’re working for world peace or planning a surprise party for our kids. What matters is that we choose to participate in as much of life as we can.

This is where true joy and happiness lives.

This is the true lottery jackpot.

And, whatever you do, don’t let the guy in the Learjet talk you into believing anything less—not even if he offers you Cristal champagne in a golden flute.

The real lottery is all there for your taking. All you need to do is step up and claim it.

Congratulations, you’re rich!

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How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

His motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • He riles up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

Becoming the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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