Don’t Use the Lottery Ticket Strategy for Winning Big

a year ago   •   2 min read

By Colton Hicks

Americans spend billions of dollars on lottery tickets.

Even if you do get lucky, approximately 70% of lottery winners end up going broke. The truth is that lasting success rarely comes from a lottery ticket approach to success. It takes hard work, dedication, and determination to achieve your goals. Sure, luck and timing play a role—but luck alone isn't a winning strategy.

Are you hoping a miracle will happen?

The Danger of Relying on Hail Marys

We can view lottery ticket purchases like throwing a "hail mary."

In American football, a hail mary is a long pass across the field. You throw the ball and hope your team catches it on the other end. You trade strategy and fundamentals for randomness. There's a very small chance of success, and it's a desperate attempt to win.

You can view any successful endeavor in the same light.

You can try to win by using quick fixes and risky shortcuts, hoping to get lucky. Or you can do the hard work, build a strong foundation, and create sustainable success over time.

Hail marys sound attractive. I mean, if there's a chance you can win big without much effort, then why not at least try?  The problem is that the odds are so low that it's not even worth your time. And the opportunity cost is the time, energy, focus, and momentum you could've gained doing meaningful work.

To illustrate winning a game of randomness, imagine 100 people flipped a quarter six times. What are the chances that someone will get heads for all six throws?

Here's the math:

  • 1st flip: You have a 50% chance of getting heads.
  • 2nd flip: You have a 25% chance of getting two in a row.
  • 3rd flip: You have a 12.5% chance of getting three in a row.
  • 4th flip: You have a 6.25% chance of getting four in a row.
  • 5th flip: You have a 3.13% chance of getting five in a row.
  • 6th flip: You have a 1.56% chance of getting all six in a row.

Out of 100 people, you'll only get one person who flips all six in a row. And there's no skill that differentiates one "coin flipper" from another. Pure luck is random.

Next Steps: Don’t Base Your Identity on Being an Outlier

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." - Seneca

There will always be successful outliers.

Sure, anything is possible. You might become a billionaire. But the odds are painfully low. This is why you don't want to rely on the "hail mary" approach for success–it's not a reliable strategy.

Don't expect to hit the lottery.

Instead, develop the skills and knowledge that'll prepare you for future opportunities.

Want to learn more about making wiser decisions and maximizing your time? Check out our article: The Importance of Opportunity Cost and Making Wiser Decisions.

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