Wishing You these 4 Freedoms for Your Independence DayJuly 4, 2023
Look past the hat to see the personJuly 18, 2023
I once had a conversation with an attorney who specializes in representing people who’d won the lottery. I’d read an article in which he’d said 3-of-5 people who “win” the lottery end up bankrupt in less than 3 years. When I asked for his theory on why that would happen, he simply replied “self-image.”
He said people who buy lottery tickets often see themselves as helpless victims. They want someone to give them money they don’t have to earn to bail them out of problems they don’t have the courage to confront and to buy things they don’t have the gumption to work and save for.
When their big check arrives, he said, they are instantly confronted with a cognitive disconnect between the self-image of helpless victim praying for a windfall and the outer reality of being a wealthy winner. At that point, one of two things must happen. Either they change their self-image or they change their outer reality. Unfortunately, he said, for most lottery winners it’s easier to spend $5 million after having “won” $3 million then it is to change the person they see looking back at them from the mirror.
That conversation sparked the idea of ExGen SW: Extravagant Generosity in Small Ways. When you get an $8 bill at a breakfast diner leave a twenty under your coffee cup and walk away. When you check out of a hotel room leave a 10-spot on the bed for your housekeeper.
It’s not a very big dent in your bankroll, but for a single mother working two minimum wage jobs it just might make their day.
Being extravagantly generous in small ways will gradually change your own self-image. Leave tips like you’re the wealthiest person in the restaurant and pretty soon you’ll start to see yourself that way.
Furthermore, vicariously feeling the gratitude of the recipient of your generosity will make you more grateful for the blessings in your own life.
Sometimes the person whose day you have made will turn around and make your day in return. I once had a waitress run after me to give me a hug in a restaurant parking lot. She said the $100 tip I’d left when picking up the tab for our table was “the miracle I’ve been praying for all day.”
See, here’s the thing. Neither success nor failure will change you. They will make you more of who you already are.
If you see yourself as a helpless victim who needs Uncle Lotto to bail you out of your problems and help you realize your dreams, winning the lottery will make you feel even more like a victim – beginning with the first phone call from the IRS and the sudden deluge of love notes from relatives you never knew you had.
Practicing extravagant generosity will foster a self-image of you as a person who deserves wealth because you’re generous and sharing it.
And here’s the kicker: when you become extravagantly generous in small ways, it will come back to you. Always. It might not be in the form of money, and you might not immediately see the connection, but to cite the ancient truth: As you give so shall you receive.
But don’t just take my word for it. Try it yourself. For the next 3 months add a 50% tip to every restaurant bill. Give 10 bucks to anyone holding a “will work for food” sign at the intersection. Make an unbudgeted donation to your favorite charity.
Then, six months later, look back and ask yourself what pleasant surprises popped up “from out of the blue” over that time.
Mark it on your calendar to send me an email in 9 months and tell me whether I was right.
Proceed Until Apprehended!