quitting your job, just having fun,
traveling, partying, living the dream.
How fun it can be (if only you’d won).
The lottery is your ticket to hell,
You’ll lose all your friends, you’ll suspect everyone,
constantly fearing that you’ll lose it all.
A terrible nightmare (if only you’d won).
You know what’s funny, right? That while the girl in the first panel partied, her LA mansion probably quadrupled its value, which more than paid for her lavish and carefree lifestyle.
But does winning the lottery actually make you happier? Well, there’s a famous research titled “Lottery winners and accident victims: Is happiness relative?“, dating back to 1978, which implies the opposite. Quoting a Business Insider article on this study:
Lottery winners rated the pleasure of mundane events of everyday life significantly lower than the controls. Accident victims were not as unhappy as expected. They reported lower general happiness than lottery winners, but they reported happiness-levels that were quite well above the middle of the scale. Lottery winners generated less pleasure by ordinary events of everyday life than controls. This effect can be explained by adaptation level theory and leads to the surprising fact, that they are not generally happier than people who didn’t win the lottery. The accident victims also showed the expected contrast effect, but they contrasted the present events with events in the past. This can be called a “nostalgia effect” which is expected to wear off as time goes by. The overall positive or negative effect of a single positive or negative event should not be overestimated: Most likely there are contrast effects, that compensate some of the effect and habituation effects, that limit the duration of a feeling generated by an event.
So there you have it. Winning the lottery does not make miserable people happy, and naturally happy people will retain their happiness levels even in tough times. At the end of it all, it’s all about your brain chemistry.
Nevertheless, yours truly will still keep filling up lottery tickets. If there’s one tax I enjoy paying, it’s the idiot’s tax. And I know that I’m more likely to be hit by lightning than winning the lottery. I’m also more likely to die from flesh eating bacteria, or to parent quadruplets. I still can’t decide which of these is worse.