Thursday, December 29, 2005

Buying A Ticket

An aged rabbi goes to temple and prays to God. “I’ve been your humble servant my entire life. Please let me win the lottery.” The next day, he comes back and says “God, I didn’t win. I gave my life to you. Please let me win the lottery.” He comes back again the next day and says “Lord, why? Why won’t you let me win the lottery?” There is a bolt of lightning and a white light. When the smoke clears, a booming voice says “Rabbi, meet me half way here. At least buy a ticket.”

I’ve bought a lottery ticket or two over the years (especially when that Mega Millions goes through the roof) and while I don’t have any expectation of divine intervention to help me win, I still buy it with the mindset that I’ve got just as much chance of winning as anyone else. Why can’t it be me this time?

Yes, ladies and gents. I’m an optimist.

Prepare for the worst but hope for the best. In the lottery example, clearly the odds are against me. But my point is that some people will look at those odds and never bother buying a ticket because, they’ll reason, they’ll never win. Clearly, like the rabbi, they WILL never win unless they take the chance.

I live my life by that principle. Try new things, take chances, swim upstream. While it may be hard work and the odds may be against success, there’s absolutely no chance of success by not even trying.

I’m not sure what makes someone an optimist. Genetics? I doubt it. When I accuse my mother of being a pessimist, she responds “I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist. And in real life, everything goes wrong.” Clearly, Mom doesn’t play on the optimist team.

I think my Dad was more of a fatalist. He believed that everything happened for a reason. Didn’t get that job you were hoping for? That’s because there’s a better job out there that you’re meant to get. I’m not sure I buy that approach either because it presupposes that your future has already been decided. If that’s the case, no matter what you do, you can’t change your fate. I think you can.

To a certain extent, I believe in self-fulfilling prophecies. If you say you can’t than you can’t. If you say you can, and convince yourself of that fact, then sometimes you can will yourself to actually accomplishing what you set out to do.

Maybe I missed my calling as a high school football coach? Or a motivational speaker? In either case, I’m sure I would’ve been good at it.

No comments: