I’ve never had good luck–or at least that’s what I say. Others say you make your own luck, and still others say that whether you think you have good luck or not, you’re right. But just trust me when I tell you if something is based solely on luck, I’m not going to be a winner. (The only things I’ve ever won have been those that relied on at least some skill or talent, including guessing how many candies were in a jar, which I used math to calculate.)
Add that to the fact that in a methods course in college, we had to determine the odds of winning the lottery, and you can see how that was enough to convince me I didn’t need to test the numbers.
So I would never play Powerball, even if the prize were over $1 billion, which it was yesterday.
However, when my office put together a Powerball pool and a coworker went around collecting $2 from anyone who wanted to be a part of it, of course I joined.
It wasn’t even mostly about the money. It was the knowledge that if luck I can’t even begin to imagine made the group actually win, and I missed out on it, that’s not a regret I could live with.
Which I think is not the worst way to consider most risks in life. Many dangerous–whether physically or emotionally–activities carry risk with them, and it may appear to bystanders that people who take those risks are throwing caution to the wind. Maybe some of them are. Some of them, though, I have to assume are practicing the same principle I use when determining whether to zip line in the middle of the city: if I don’t do this, could I live with the regret? Not: if I do this and die, would it be silly? If I used that as a test, I’d hardly ever do anything stupid. Just simply, if I don’t do it, am I willing to accept the consequences of not having had that experience?
Then, of course, after carefully weighing the perceived risk vs. the potential consequences of not taking it, sometimes I jump off the bridge anyway. But for the most part, I want to make sure, if whatever crazy thing I’m doing works out, I could accept having not done the crazy thing.
In the case of winning the Powerball, the answer was easy.
And sure, it was a little about the money.