I was pretty much born and raised around the lottery. I mean it was even kind of a gamble for my mother to give birth to me considering the circumstances at the time. She was a single mom with very little help and support, and many of her friends told her not to have a baby. And I have to be honest, during my teenage years she definitely must of wished at one time or another that she listened to them. You see we grew up in Brooklyn and as little kids we had to either fight to survive or get taken advantage of. I remember having to fight to keep my new sneakers on in middle school. They wanted to “trade” with me; in other words give me their old sneakers for my new ones. Not long after, I joined a small gang in my school and I began to win. You gotta be in it to win it, right?! I won friendship, respect, and a team of kids around me… that if you messed with one of us, you messed with us all. This was years before Giuliani showed up on the scene and did “Operation Clean-Up” on the streets. I am telling you, it was a free-for-all back then.
Growing up I remember my Grandmother Josephine who used to get a ticket or two for a chance to win the jackpot. When she purchased the ticket, she would hold onto it like gold. When it was time for the numbers to be drawn on TV, she gave us that look where we had two choices… shut up or die. Then as each number was called out, she would either scream happily that she got it or suck her teeth in disappointment. My mother and step-dad were big on the lotto too. She would buy a bunch of tickets for every drawing, and he would buy even more. He had a system down where he played the same numbers over and over, changing one or two every once in a awhile; while she depended on “lucky numbers” she had in her life including birthdays. Every once in awhile, my mom would win a few hundred dollars, and my step-dad would win a few thousand, sometimes even as much as five.
I grew up knowing that you gotta be in it to win it. Those who did not play that lotto did not lose any money playing it, but they also did not win any either. Paying a few bucks toward our luck and dreams was a small tab compared to the amount of hope we were given and the chance to win millions. Did anyone in our family ever hit it big? No. But we heard the stories and saw the people who did. So we kept betting against all odds.
Recently, with the stakes up to $900 Million on the Powerball Lottery, my family has been pretty much “investing” in a chance to win. Everything from calculating number patterns from the past few months of drawings, to going to several different stores to get tickets, to asking the little ones their favorite number from 1 – 69. After the drawing, we had all of the winning numbers, but they were all on different tickets. So now the time comes again where the jackpot is over $1 Billion Dollars and everybody wants a piece of the pie.
I now think about life, business, and relationships; and how you definitely gotta be in it to win it. Being alive and living are two different things. How many times have we all been somewhere, but we are not really there in heart and soul? So many times for me. I have been hiking the mountains, looking at my smartphone every moment to see if I have gotten reception already; missing the peace, fresh air and chance to clear my mind. How many times have we been at work, but we were still on vacation; and did not apply ourselves to the maximum extent for the sake of the whole team? Is your company losing because you work there, but you are not in it to win it? How many times have we given half of ourselves because that was enough to at least get by?
Then I think about relationships and how many beautiful people are out there. I meet them all of the time. I talk to people who gave their all when it came to love, only to end up hurt and even hateful sometimes when the dust settles. Why? Because for whatever reason, one of the two were not in it to win it. Maybe they did not want to have a successful relationship with this person? Or they never had a good relationship, so when it presented itself, they rejected it. Or maybe they simply didn’t know how to truly love someone, so they were only giving the type of love they received in life, which was none. Or maybe my friend, the person I was talking to, was not in it to win at the start; and then when they finally realized their shortcomings, it was too late.
What type of person do you want to be in life? How do you want to live? Do you want to hate? Then haters may be the crowd you are looking for. Do you want to lose? Then it is not hard to find a few folks that always think they are losing out on something. Do you want to win? Then align yourself with winners and people of that mindset! The time has come for many of us to let our failures go, chase our passions like never before, and open up to love again! You gotta be in it to win it!