The “Lottery Test”

I have been encouraged in recent weeks to apply the “Lottery Test” to things I undertake in everyday life. The test is simple. Were I to win the the lottery and be free of financial worries, would I continue doing the things that occupy my week?

In terms of hobbies, I’d hope you’re already doing things you enjoy. In terms of housework, I hope you’d be amenable to some assistance as necessary. Nobody should be Anthea Turner unless they choose to be her.

What of employment? Do you do the things you want to do or are you a wage slave? The slightly incredulous (American, although I have nothing against our ex-colonial superpower) LinkedIn people supporting this approach seem to think that work should be fun. Our employment should be something we’d do even if the cheque (or check) on Friday wasn’t an essential part of eating during the week.

I’m not so sure. Let me be really clear. In the case of extraordinary windfall, lottery win, treasure discovery or other financial bonus, I’d give up paid work in a heartbeat. I have things I love doing that I’d start to do for free for the love of it, and I have things I’d want to carry on doing, but working for a wage is something I’ve done for a while and I’d be quite happy to try life without it.

And yet… the work I undertake week by week is valuable and has a positive impact. This is the advantage of working for the local council. And indeed the value of the work I do for the church. Even if I were unfettered by money worries, I’d still want to be one of the good guys, having a positive impact on the world and making it a better place.

Maybe I’d pick a more direct method – reach out to the people directly and connect with individuals. Maybe I’d be a distant philanthropic influence, dropping significant sums of money on struggling community projects. Whatever, I don’t think I’d change my essential stance on this. I want to be a force for good whether I’m being paid for it or not, because regardless of my personal wealth, I’m not in this life to grow richer off other people’s poverty.

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