Last week two ticket buyers, in Missouri and in Arizona, hit the biggest Powerball lottery jackpot ever, $579 million. That got me thinking about the often-negative effect that sudden wealth has on people's lives. University researchers have determined that people who win larger jackpots are more likely to wind up bankrupt than those who win small ones. And recent history is filled with accounts of lottery winners winding up in poverty, in prison, or committing suicide.
You may have heard me say that winning makes people forgetful and stupid; apparently money has the same effect. Coming into sudden, unearned wealth appears to make some people abandon their core values. Let's say that you're a construction worker-hard-working, respected and dependable. Then, ZAP-a $100 million lightning bolt. Are you suddenly a financial planner, tax lawyer and international playboy? No. But if you try to act like you are, you're probably going to wind up in trouble.
When success comes, it's more important-not less-that we stick to the essential qualities that define who we are, independent of that success. That's the only way to ensure that success will come around again.
Are you grounded enough in who you are and what you stand for to declare your core essence "Not for Sale"?