How sudden gains or losses can be dangerous

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We’ve all heard of stories or seen movies where some regular person wins the lottery and lives his best life. Most of us have idealized the lottery winner and wished we were him. Unfortunately, in real life, most lottery winners end up wasting all of their money and living an abysmal life because they won the lottery. 

Micheal Carrol, a garbage man in England, won the lottery at the age of 19. He won around 14 million dollars and did what any of us would do, bought mansions, cars, boats, and anything else he could buy. Unfortunately, the money dried up pretty quickly. Now, he lives off unemployment checks. 

Why is this story relevant? While we might not win the lottery, it is possible to experience unusual gains or losses in life. When we do, we must take a step back and balance it with necessary optimism or pessimism. Let’s say that one video you posted on social media went viral or you lost your dog that had been with you since you were a child. 

Both of these scenarios are unusual gains or losses and they can make us feel very optimistic or pessimistic. That is why it is important for ourselves to zoom out and balance it with optimism or pessimism. Let’s say your company gets acquired by Amazon and you become a millionaire. Instead of letting optimism and joy take over your thinking process, take a step back. 

You might need to physically remove yourself and go somewhere you can think. Maybe buy yourself a ticket to the alps and stay there for a while. After doing so and balancing the overwhelming feeling of joy with some necessary pessimism, you will be able to make rational decisions. Decisions that you won’t regret. 

“Whenever you experience unusual gains or losses, that is precisely the time to step back and counterbalance them with some necessary pessimism or optimism. Be extra wary of sudden success and attention—they are not built on anything that lasts and they have an addictive pull. And the fall is always painful.” – Robert Greene 

Book: The laws of human nature by Robert Greene 

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