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  • Writer's pictureDr. CK Bray

The Lottery: You Can’t Win If You Don’t Play

One reason people love to play the lottery is what they think about for the next 15 minutes after buying their ticket.

I am going to buy a new car

I am going to buy a new house

I am going to go to Hawaii

I am going to QUIT my job!

All will be well with the world after they win their millions.  Except it won’t, because of a scientific term called Hedonic Adaption.  Hedonic adaption is a theory that people quickly become accustomed to pleasurable things in their lives and return to their normal set point of happiness.

How many times in your life have you said to yourself, “If I got this job, or the promotion, or that house, or if I were in a relationship with that person, then I would be happy.”  Which may be true!  But that happiness won’t last because you will soon return to your set point of happiness.

This fixed level of happiness is 50% due to your genetics, upbringing, and personality traits.  It is also due to the choices you make every day of your life. For example, lottery winners returned to their normal setpoint within 18 months of winning the lottery.  


There are two ways to raise your happiness setpoint:

1. First, do altruistic activities every day.  Helping others, even in small ways, makes a difference in your happiness.

2. Notice and savor the small, little pleasures of life.   The $5.00 you find in your coat pocket, the call from a friend, the presentation that goes well.  What you focus on, you not only see but deeply experience.  Life offers up small treasures every day.  Look for them.

Research *Phillip Brickman & Coates;  Costa & Marcea, Alice Boyes



Want to learn more about the lottery and hedonic adaption? Listen to this episode of the Dr. CK Bray Show!


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