You’ve Won The Lottery


Happy Thanksgiving

I love the whole essence of Thanksgiving.
What a beautiful thing to have a time to reflect on just how damn wealthy we already are.

As I sat in deep gratitude for the life I’ve already had and all that is in my life now, I thought about you and wanted to write to you, to say how thankful I am for having YOU in my life, thankful I get to do this work.

It also made me think about how extraordinary it is that we are even here…


…Imagine walking into a room full of strangers and searching to find something in common, something to make a connection and feel you belong.

You discover that there is no one to whom you are related, you all have different educational backgrounds and have chosen vastly different careers.

The room is a multi dimensional patchwork quilt with every possible race, color, creed, body size and shape and ages spanning from eyes just opened to eyes almost shut.

There isn’t even a common language to pull you together.

Oh wow – nothing in common!

Then you discover something amazing.

Everyone in the room is wealthy beyond measure – including you.

Would that not be incredible?

Absolutely it would.

Every room we walk into is just such a room, we just sometimes forget.

You and I, and everyone we come into contact with, has already beaten the odds of any lottery around.

Every space we walk into is filled with people, like you and me, who have won the lottery of life.

Thanksgiving is exactly what it says on the box…

A magical time to reflect and give thanks for so much in all our lives.

Now you may think along the lines of…
…“I have decent health, a loving family, good friends, a nice home and plenty of stuff”.

I’m sure you’ve also had your share of challenges too. That’s part of this vast and wild and incredibly precious thing we call life.

We all must deal with relationship strife, sickness, money stuff, family issues, heartache and death.

But beyond all that – there is something quite magical and I want to invite you to go deeper.

The very fact that we are here at all completely defies the odds.

In his great book “Unweaving the Rainbow” Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins puts things in perspective:

“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our

DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.”

Think about how slim the chance was of you actually ever even arriving at this party called life.

… every one of your ancestors had to be attractive enough to find a mate 😻,

… healthy enough to procreate💘,

… and lucky to live long enough to actually do so💃.

Then they had to deliver a tiny speck of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that would result in you.

Now think about your timing.

Most of human history is pre-agricultural. For tens of thousands of years, people lived lives that were pretty brutal. Battling the elements, hunting and scavenging to survive.

Go back just 150 years ago and the vast majority of the world’s population lived in what we would consider absolute poverty and squalor by today’s living standards. They certainly enjoyed none of the political and social freedoms we often take for granted.

Freedom of speech, freedom of choice, freedom of religion, freedom of movement, freedom to access knowledge, freedom to choose our leaders, and freedom to create and keep great economic wealth.

Billions of people still lack these freedoms today, of course. But if you’re reading this, you’re almost certainly not one of them.

I’m not suggesting that modern life is all rainbows and unicorns farting flowers. 🌷🌸🌹🌺🌻🌼

We’ve been through a tough time with Covid and millions of people are still out of work and recovering from significant financial setbacks.

Yet, almost anyone who has access to a computer, in what we could term the developed and developing worlds, is enjoying a level of comfort, security and wealth undreamed of by 99.9% of those who ever lived.

Our forebears would marvel at the abundance and wealth that is now standard in most people’s lives.

Diseases that killed millions all but eradicated; the end of backbreaking physical toil for most earners; access to education; instant and incredibly cheap global communication and fast travel to wondrous lands; mass home ownership and seemingly limitless modern conveniences freeing up time and energy; and the most vulnerable cared for financially and medically.

Thanks largely to advances in science and technology, we have created the expansion of one of the most precious resources we have – time – with the near doubling of the average lifespan over the last hundred years.

So let’s do a bit of math – just for fun, as I know how much you love numbers.😈

The chances of you ever being born are ridiculously small.

Add to that the odds of you landing at this time and you’ve got a number staggering infinitesimal.

Then throw in the probability of popping out where you did and not in one of the many areas of our world still experiencing desperate poverty, in a society without modern infrastructure, communications, a reliable power supply or no free-market system to reward your efforts, no police force to protect you, or no court system to guard your rights.

Recognize that, whatever your personal challenges are or may have been, you are astoundingly fortunate and wealthy beyond measure.

Why is this important to know?

One reason is that it puts your life in perspective. Another is that psychologists say it’s almost impossible to feel grateful and unhappy at the same time.

We should all feel immense appreciation for the life that we were given – and make a conscious effort to practice looking at what’s right in our lives rather than what’s missing.

So here’s your assignment, if you’re willing:

Write down at least 5 things for which you are immensely grateful for and which make your life truly wealthy.

You cannot list “Family,” “Friends” or “Health,” because these go without saying.

Also, don’t just name the thing, explain it, feel it. Squeeze out those tears of deep, deep gratitude.

I’m leaking big time, just writing this.

Will you do it?

Will you share it?

I hope so.


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