Long after Howie Mandel voiced the role of Gizmo for my generation (look it up!), he helmed the successful game show, Deal or No Deal. To this day, it is my daughter’s favorite pastime at the local game places – the arcade version where she is gambling tickets – not money, and certainly not happiness. (We are still working on Kenny Rogers’ adage concerning when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.)
Does your life mimic Deal or No Deal? Let’s face it: each day, in many ways, some of us take perfectly good or acceptable outcomes life has presented, we gamble them, and we hope for a better tomorrow. We invest hard-earned cash in the ultimate puzzler – the lottery – something we have virtually no chance of winning. We pick apart everything we despise about our job and convince ourselves that the job we saw on Indeed.com is going to solve all our problems. We jettison our financial future, we fail to plan; we bet against the House and the House always wins.
Greatly leveraging your present in hopes for a better future is a dangerous game – mostly because it is an imperfect being making a choice or commitment they have a hard time following through on. Don’t get me wrong: every day, millions go into debt or take out a loan to endeavor into school or their own business and they stick to the plan and make it work. On the flip side, once that plan has been committed to, we cannot perilously deviate from it to our detriment. We are typically our own worst enemies.
Take your current situation: are you happy or unhappy? Whichever you answer, why? Take a look at the good things you have – perhaps food, shelter, clothing, a support system of people who care, a job, comforts, a relationship, a religion – and contemplate for a moment if you are truly that bad off. Some certainly are. Many of us are not – we have a lot of things that have been provided or that we have fought to obtain and achieve.
Take it a step further: we all have things that ail us to various degrees. Everyone has their crosses to bear and heartaches burning a hole in their souls; the moral of this story is to ensure we are not making rash decisions, constantly hedging our bets and gambling the present in hopes of a brighter future. Like playing the stock market, you may see some gains (which reinforces the behavior), but you will also make losses – sometimes tragic – whereas you could have easy accepted your current lot and been at peace. Those impulse purchases and that money you go into debt over today can become part of a pattern; you become comfortable in that state and you never stop borrowing against the system.
Happiness is a state of being; there is no “happily ever after.” Even the kids on 90210 have problems every episode, so there is nothing money, clothes and perfect hair magically solve (no matter how much they may alleviate of other potential problems.) Truly consider how you may be making decisions daily that put your blessings in peril – relationships, career, hopes and dreams – and find a way to stop. Make time for what matters most – nothing is so serious that it should endanger everything else. We have one life to live, and all we can do while we are here is our best. There’s no need to rush: we have all the time in the world.
Make a list of the things in your life that you are happy about and make you happy, and do everything you can to preserve those things. Mninimize the decisions that could have an outcome negative to those things. In the end, your present will be less sporadic and frenetic and your future will be brighter for it.