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A Stroke of Unluck

By: Michael Blankenship |

Time erodes every advantage. At some point, good luck requires hard work if success is to be sustained.

– James Clear

Did you know the Philippines has 7,107 islands? That number doesn’t even include the thousands of sandbars and other landforms that emerge during low tide. 

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– Mike & Alec

A Stroke of Unluck

You are about 400 times more likely to be hit by lightning than you are to win the lottery.

Still, people buy tickets and cross their fingers, hoping to instantly and effortlessly change their financial standing. 

Not just a few people, over 90 million people in the U.S. play the lottery every single year.

Since the cost of a Powerball ticket is only around $2, that’s not too surprising — heck, who wouldn’t take some measly chances of winning it big for a couple of bucks?

It turns out that the luck that those 90 million people every year hope to attain might not be so lucky. 

According to one study, one third of lottery winners go bankrupt, often within just a few years of winning. Another study found that the average lottery winner saves, after ten years, only $0.16 of every $1 that they won.

Some people call this the “curse of the lottery.”

But it’s probably less mystical than that. 

We give an exorbitant amount of money to an average person.

Unsurprisingly, they have no idea how to manage that money.

By achieving success without earning success, they’ve not got the know-how to sustain it.

This illustrates why the process of working hard and earning our success is so important — we’re not just building a life for ourselves… we’re becoming the kind of person who can manage and sustain the life that we’re building. 

The process is a critical part of the success.

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The Things You Do

We recently stumbled upon this meme…

Does that feel familiar? 

Certainly, it’s relevant to all of us during particular seasons in our lives. 

But if you find it consistently difficult to do the things you care about or have a deep-seeded passion for, we’d like to introduce you to two great quotes. 

Here’s the first…

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — Chinese Proverb

In other words, everything takes time. Don’t use your past inaction as an excuse to not take action today on your dreams. 

And second… 

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” — Earl Nightingale

The time will pass anyway. And there’s no time like the present to get started. 


Get started. 

And don’t worry about how long it takes to get where you’re going.


I’ll never forget something that a CEO of a software company once said to me.

We were all drinking, laughing, and being merry. At some point during the evening, I started spouting off ideas for how their business could grow (even though, at the time, I only had about 6 months in marketing experience under my belt).

I don’t remember what the ideas were. Or if they were any good. 

I just remember the CEO looked at me and said, “You know what I love about you? Your confidence is up here.” He raised his hand to the top of his imaginary spectrum. “But your competence is down here.” He raised his other hand well below his first. 

We all went silent. 

And then the room busted up in laughter, myself included. The CEO looked around and said, “I don’t mean it as an insult. Because you can learn marketing. I mean it as a compliment. That’s how you need to be if you’re going to be successful. You have to be confident before you’re competent.”

There was truth in his words.

Naivety is beautiful in that it gives you the confidence needed to take action. Of course, it must be tempered by grit and resilience. 

But naivety makes for great kindling. 

As Ben and Roz Zander’s point out, “It’s all invented anyway, so we might as well invent a story or a framework of meaning that enhances our quality of life and the life of those around us.”

This Week’s Image

“The head of Joe Biden, part of an installation called “Mount Recyclemore,” depicting world leaders’ heads made from recycled rubbish, at the Eden Project in Par, England, on October 13, 2022. The installation was made by the Mutoid Waste Company and displayed during the G7 Summit held in Cornwall in 2021. It was dismantled ahead of International E-waste Day. E-Waste Day raises awareness about the importance of recycling unneeded electrical items responsibly.” via The Atlantic

This Week’s Riddle

Here’s today’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!

You measure my life in hours and I serve you by expiring. I’m quick when I’m thin and slow when I’m fat. The wind is my enemy. 

This Week’s Journaling Prompt

Take some time to think through the following journaling prompt. 

How can earn the success your desire? Why is “earning it” important?

Riddle Answer: A candle

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