The Problem with the "Lottery Question" and What I Wish Someone Had Told Me

You know the question, “If you won the lottery, what would you do?” Yeah, that one.

For many people, this is a fun question to answer. But not for everyone.

The primary problem with the question was that for a number of years when I was so beaten down and depressed, I simply couldn’t answer it. I couldn’t imagine or dream of what might be possible. Nothing sounded interesting. Every suggestion I received, every job description I looked at or any education program I researched sounded like it would require a lot of energy—energy I did not have.

I was embarrassed that I didn’t have a big dream or mission that I was trying to achieve and that I couldn’t articulate what I wanted beyond a vague answer like “help people” or “be happy.” These vague cliches sounded lame. If I couldn’t even imagine what I wanted, how could I find it or how could anyone help me?

I could articulate all the things I didn’t want to do, but was hard-pressed to generate one single idea that excited me or that seemed possible. I could hear how negative I was, and yet, I couldn’t flip a switch and move from feeling negative to positive. And that really frustrated me because I knew I “should” be more positive.

I wish someone had told me…

You feel stuck? Oh, yeah, that’s normal. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.

You’re exactly where you need to be right now. This stuck feeling won’t last forever. The answers will come when you stop fighting the stuckness.

I am always impatient to find the answer that will fix my stuckness. I’m learning that often what I need to do is take a deep breath and just BE. Here are some questions/journal prompts that I’ve found helpful to explore when I am stuck:

  1. In this moment (literally this moment), what is good in your world? For example, in this moment, my dog is sound asleep and snoring so that I can write without distraction. I get to wear sup