P249 Million Super Lotto Winner Starts Life Anew Sans Pigs

I wrote about the state lottery or lotto a few months ago and how it is an additional, and insidious, burden against the poor, who make up the vast majority of lotto players. It’s also a major source of funds which the Arroyo administration routinely dips into for questionable purposes. No proper, transparent audit is done of lotto funds. It’s a form of gambling which sustains institutionalized corruption .

Of course, all my pontificating about the evils of the lotto didn’t stop me from recently betting on the 6/49 Super Lotto draw, where the prize had grown to a record-breaking P249 million jackpot for the proper six-number combination. I didn’t win it, of course, otherwise I wouldn’t be blogging about it now. I would be at a remote premier island resort in Malaysia or Indonesia or somewhere, chuckling at the whims of fate while polishing off my second or third US$40,000 magnum of Lafite ‘45.

Instead, I’m in front of my monitor, trying to be philosophical about my failing to achieve my life-changing fantasy and plotting my next stab at instant millionairehood.

Everyone in the office, from the messenger to the president, bet on the Super Lotto as the pot got bigger. Of course, it was the messenger who had to stand in line for an hour or more with everyone’s betting slips. Life isn’t fair but, theoretically at least, everyone had an even chance of winning, from the janitor to the CEO.

As it turned out the single winner of the P249 million was from Novaliches, Quezon City. The lotto outlet which sold the winning ticket is located at a public market a block or so away from a co-worker’s home, and for days the neighborhood was abuzz with rumors as to who could have won. The winner wisely went under deep cover, fearful of being kidnapped or cornered by well-wishers expecting the traditional “balato”. Then, out of the blue, an unassuming neighborhood hog raiser and meat trader gave away all his livestock to neighbors and random strangers, and hurriedly abandoned his house. A lucky few close friends reportedly received tidy sums as a goodwill and farewell gesture before he disappeared for parts unknown. He has now become part of Philippine lotto lore, and his story will be clung to and retold by millions of future bettors hoping for that one, life-altering 6-number combination.

But is winning the lotto realy life-changing ? On one level, it obviously is. One day you’re a market vendor and backyard entrepreneur, worrying about the rising price of feeds. The very next day you’re P249 million richer, worrying, happily and giddily I would imagine, about how to manage your suddenly improved finances while escaping with your life.

On another level (and here comes the rationalization for my crushing disappointment at not even coming close to the lucky combination) it’s not. According to Psychology Today:

Most of us have a happiness “set point,” fixed by temperament and early life experience, which is very difficult to shift. Whether you win the lottery or wind up in a wheelchair, within a year or two you generally end up just about as happy (or unhappy) as you started out.

Thus, according to this theory, which has been supported by numerous studies, initial intense experiences may bring a surge of joy and well-being or sorrow, as the case may be. But the feeling of being on top of the world or at the pits does not last, and we will naturally and inevitably return to our happiness set-point or what scientists call the “hedonic set point” or happiness thermostat. Researchers argue that 50%-80% of our happiness thermostat is genetically determined. In short, our level of happiness is, to a major extent, in our genes and nothing we do or experience can change this fact.

It’s the same thing for weight or body type. People can lose or gain, improve or get worse, but without extraordinary effort, they aren’t likely to take long leaps in either direction from their physical set point.

What then can really make us happy ? Its simple, according to positive thinkers and Zen Buddhists, sports psychologists and new-age gurus: being in the moment or “going with the flow”, relishing the company of family and friends, doing what you love or are good at, practicing compassion and altruism, “moderating your greed” as Jun Lozada would put it. And being grateful for what you have and counting your blessings every day.

There, I feel better already.

6 thoughts on “P249 Million Super Lotto Winner Starts Life Anew Sans Pigs

  1. Butch, we live in the whereabouts where the winning ticket was purchased. My kids were thrilled, thinking we could have bought the ticket. No chance, we got ours at the Megamall outlet :D

    People are happy for that person and at times think “What if it was me..”

    So many what ifs that would not probably happen so yes, it is better to focus on what we have now and be grateful for these blessings.

  2. Teacherjulie: It’s always nice to dream as long as we remain grounded. What ifs will always intrude into our thoughts but our real blessings sometimes go unnoticed in the bustle of our daily lives. As they say, we should always “stop to smell the coffee”. Or is it the flowers ? Thanks for dropping by.

  3. That is the sad part of it, leaving all of your relatives and friends. No one knows if your new destination of having a good life is for better. First, you must discipline your self not to much expose on your newly acquired wealth. So many cases of lottery winner back to his own misery life. To him, life must change according to his desire.

  4. that was an amazing story,…but what really got me is the last part.Counting your blessings and being thankfull for everyday miracles is whats really important,ofcourse i dream of winning the big one too,in fact i always day-dream about it to the point that i already know what to do incase it does happen to me,but then again i immediately get back from “neverland” to the real world and say “haaaaay,….salamat LORD,sa peace of mind”

  5. think the loot is a good thing for the people of the philippines but what kill me are those hipocrate that want to put a cap on the lott ,,, it s for the people and if they dont want to fall inline find something else to work on like bringing the cost of education s the children can go to school and put stop light at inersection of the street at the crossroad and puttting light up so the children can walk across the street without getting hit by a bus or taxis or jeepy or car let them try to walk across the street without a signal light HO I FORGOT THEY HAVE DRIVER LET THEM WEAR THE SHOES OF THE PEOPLE WHO PLAY THE LOTTO FOR A DREAM LET THOSE MEN MISS A MEAL AND C WHERE THEY BE INLINE JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE

  6. why is it when something good come out for the people in the philippines u have someone who disagress of the system why would u but a cap on the lotto nowhere in the world there a cap on lotto so why here they need to worrie about how to keep the people here safe and jobs and healthcare and keep the cost down so they can go to school, and butting the and put the one who break the law in jail(u know who they are ) leave the lotto along its for the people and there dream

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