Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Microstory 1867: Lottery Winners All

In third grade, I took a math test. I wasn’t a child prodigy, but I was one of a handful of students who tested into a slightly more advanced math class. While the rest of the students stayed in the room, we went off to learn at a higher rate. We focused most on probability. The first question our designated teacher asked was what were the odds of winning the lottery. None of us knew the answer of course, nor were we expected to. It was just to get us warmed up to the basic concepts. I don’t remember the numbers people say, but the truth is that the chances are actually a hundred percent. Hi, my name is Arnie Arnoldson, and I’m about to die. But before I go, I’m gonna explain to you what I mean. The reason my answer works out is because each and every one of you has already won the lottery. The chances that the universe would exist were profoundly low. The chances that life would exist were profoundly low. The chances that any given person will be born to this world are low. You went through so much to get here even before you were alive to do anything on purpose. That’s amazing. You’re amazing, and I want you all to give yourselves a round of applause for making it this far, because as I’ve said, it was virtually impossible, yet you did it anyway. You know, I didn’t start out as a motivational speaker. I was just a wee li’le baby, like anyone else. What I did to get to this place in my life is I kept playing the lottery. Sometimes I won the pot, but I never truly lost, because at the very least, it was experience, which helped me play the next round. Because life isn’t really like a lottery, it’s hard work. Put in your time, day after day, and I promise you, no matter what, at the end of the week, you’ll be paid fairly.

Notice how I said that you’ll be paid weekly. This is important, because if you expect that paycheck every day, six times out of seven, you’ll be disappointed. As a result, you’ll stop working as hard, and you’ll start getting paid less, and that will make you even more discouraged. We all receive what we deserve. It may not feel like it, but that just means that you need to manage your expectations, work harder, and never give up. Say it with me, manage your expectations, work harder, never give up. That is your new philosophy. Whenever you’re down, or you think you have done nothing but lose, just ignore all that, and remind yourself that there is always time to turn things around. But you have to take charge of your life, and decide that you’re not satisfied with what you have right now. No one else can do that for you. Let me tell you a story about the moth in the pond. A moth fell into a pond, but he didn’t die. He had spent his whole life fluttering through the air, and landing on leaves, but now he realized that those same wings he used to balance himself and fly were also good for swimming. This opened up a whole new world to him. So he said to himself, I’m never going to fly again. I prefer to swim. I’m a swimmer now. He smiled—insomuch as a moth can smile—and continued to swim around, looking for food. But he could not find the fruits and flowers he normally drank from. Oh, the moth realized, now I know why we moths don’t usually swim. And so the moth summoned all of his might to get back into the air, but he quickly discovered that his wings were too heavy, weighted down by the water. Try as he would, all he could do was swim. He swam until he was too exhausted, but before he could drown, the hand of a human reached underneath, and raised him from perdition. All of you are that moth, and the water is every obstacle you face; past, present, and future. I am the hand.

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