Hello SOTGC community,
The Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego is holding its 10th Annual Dream House Raffle…some of you may have gotten the flyer in the mail. Since it’s a great charity – they provide a home-away-from home for families with children who need hospital care – I am happy to support it by purchasing a ticket.
Looking at the flyer while in my kitchen today, I began to “ogle” the picture of the kitchen in the $4 million dream home in Rancho Santa Fe. Then I looked around at the kitchen I have now, and felt somewhere along the lines of underwhelmed. Yup, spoken like a true woman. It was amazing how quickly my mood changed. I started to get bummed out because I was focusing on what I felt I didn’t have, and that what I had was not enough; this was certainly not a cup-half-full attitude.
Luckily I caught myself within a moment (thanks to a lot of practice), and was able to quickly shift my focus to one of gratitude.
Then I did what most people do when they contemplate winning some sort of lottery – I imagined how happy I’d be if I won. Most people, however, don’t stop there; they begin to think (and believe) that their lives will be so much better, and that so many of their problems will just disappear.
Those that believe that a big win will lead to long-term happiness are sadly mistaken. While the initial experience of winning does generate a lot of happiness, research has shown that the returns are diminishing; after only one year, people return to the same level of happiness they had before winning. And after 5 years, most winners felt that their lives were worse! You know what they say – more money, more problems!
After discussing that with a friend of mine, he said, “that’s a problem I’d be happy to have”, to which I thought to myself, we’ll see. Since I know that this particular friend chases money and material things, and is completely miserable in the process, I know better.
So, while that new “dream kitchen” might make me happy initially, I know better than to think that my happiness would be lasting. That won’t stop me from buying into the raffle though, or staying hopeful and excited about the possibility of winning; the build-up itself can actually be fun and create some happiness in the process, so long as I am not attached to the outcome.
And even if I lose, I will celebrate the victors: the raffle winner, and the children and families whose lives will be helped through the charity.