If you didn't build it...

So a single person in South Carolina won the Mega Billions lottery yesterday. And we all vicariously experienced that high by imagining ourselves as the winner.

Nothing wrong with that, but several studies have shown that winning the lottery is not necessarily a blessing. It can even end up feeling like a curse, with a high percentage of winners eventually going broke.

This would NEVER happen to us, though. We would all steer clear of those stupid mistakes, right? Well, not so fast. Here's an analogy to consider:

Let's pretend you woke up today with a totally different body.

Guys, imagine you woke up with the body of a Muscle & Fitness cover model. You're now 6'2", 250 lbs, with 7% body fat.

Ladies, imagine you woke up with the body of a fitness model. You're now a size 1 or 2, with 17% body fat.

Got the picture in your head? Your face is now sitting on top of a body millions of people would kill for, and you're freaking out about it. You're shocked, excited, nervous, and tempted to tell everyone on your phone. Your life now has a completely different outlook, forever changed by this instant transformation.

So here's a question: How long would it take for that new body to resemble the one you've got now?

If I didn't work my butt off to create such a body, I've got no idea what it would take to maintain one. Those guys have to measure every morsel of food, wake up in the middle of the night to suck down protein shakes, and find a way to eat 10 eggs every morning. Those guys spend 3 to 5 hours in the gym every day, pushing themselves further, with heavier weights and more exhausting workouts than most of us can even imagine.

What I'm saying is if I didn't work to build it, I've got no idea how to manage it.

It's the same with instant wealth. Managing a billion dollar fortune is more than a full-time job, with more voices, requests, temptations, obligations, and vulnerabilities than any of us could likely handle. Especially if we hadn't spent years of hard work and risk management and time discipline to acquire it. (This is exactly why 2nd generation family business owners struggle so much to see and handle the business like the 1st generation who built it).

The same goes for any change, actually. We all say we want an instantly better life, with a vastly improved job, bank account, home, marriage, relationship with our kids, etc.

But in my job as a coach, speaker, author, etc., I've come to know this: If you want to experience better, you gotta get better. You want a better team? You gotta get better at your part. You want a better marriage? You gotta get better as a spouse. You want a peace-filled home life, with great relationships with your kids? You gotta get better as a parent.

Receiving an instant change, thrust upon you through no effort of your own, is not usually a blessing; it usually turns out to be a burden.

But doing the slower, steadier work of focusing on yourself and your own improvement? That's the real blessing. Nothing feels better than accomplishing something difficult, and knowing we've improved at something that really matters. If you work at building that, the blessings (or riches, or body) will come.

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