glassIf you are like many people out there you must be thinking that if you could just win the lottery, your whole life would change for the best. If you firmly believe that once you win all that cash, then all your problems will disappear – these stories will challenge you to think again.

Callie Rogers  won a £2 million Lottery jackpot as a teenager . But her life spiraled into drug addiction, depression and attempted suicides. Callie , now 22, said she had hoped the money would help her put the troubles of a broken home behind her, but instead she said the money only brought her misery. After winning the Jackpot at 16 Miss Rogers blew £250,000 on cocaine, tried to commit suicide three times, spent £11,500 on breast enhancements and eventually lost custody of her two children.

Miss Rogers, now down to her last £100,000, says she has never been happier. The former shop assistant, fostered as a teenager, said: “I am happier now I have blown my Lotto win. In 2005, after her latest suicide attempt, she said: “Until you win such a large amount of money at such a young age, you don’t realise the pressures that come with it.”

Michael Carroll became the self-proclaimed king of the chavs after turning up to collect his £9.7million lottery win wearing an electronic offender’s tag. But eight years on, having blown all that money, Michael is practising for a return to his old job as a binman near his home in Downham Market, Norfolk. The 26-year-old, who squandered his multi-million fortune on drugs, gambling and thousands of prostitutes, has been living on a £42 a week in jobseeker’s allowance.  He said: ‘The party has ended and it’s back to reality. I haven’t got two pennies to rub together and that’s the way I like it. I find it easier to live off £42 dole than a million.

These two stories are not isolated. There are many similar stories across the globe .In fact you can read some of them here.

Callie and Michael found wealth but they  did not find prosperity. Prosperity is more than being wealthy. It is enjoying enduring wealth. Prosperity  is not just getting what you want but also wanting what you are getting. As the above stories clearly indicate it is possible to be wealthy and be unhappy.  Apart from losing their wealth quickly Callie and Michael clearly didn’t seem to comfortably enjoy their wealthy status.

Now why is it that some people become wealthy but either fail to enjoy it or if they do is just for a brief moment? Well there are few reasons for this . But the major one is what I call  Wealth Holding Capacity (WHC). WHC (others call it Prudence) is a mental attitude that helps one attain, retain, and enjoy wealth. It is the ability to manage a certain amount of wealth by making wise and responsible financial decisions. This, of course, includes being a generous and faithful trustee of the wealth for the needy.

Your WHC is your wealth container. Just like a one litre glass jar cannot hold more than one liter of water you cannot retain more wealth than your ability to handle it. If your mind can handle just $100 a month that is what you can comfortably enjoy and keep. As long as your WHC remains at $100 per month anything you get beyond $100 per month will be wasted at best or hazardous at worst.

According to 1Timothy 6:9-10 greed is the world’s greatest problem. Greed can simply be defined as desiring , attaining or retaing the wrong kind or [excess] amount of wealth.

Possessing more wealth than you can manage is extremely dangerous. It is like handing a loaded machine gun to untrained schizophrenic. God has no problem giving you wealth – after all He created it for us to enjoy. But He must make sure you have the ability to handle it before He can allow you to possess it.  For God to give you the wealth you can not handle is unfair to both yourself and to the wealth. It is unfair to yourself because the wealth will do you more harm than good, in fact it can be lethal (1 Timothy 6:9-10). It is unfair to the wealth because it is likely to suffer abuse or waste in your hands.

Knowing your WHC and be comfortable with it is extremely important. No wonder the bible says, ” Godliness with contentment is great gain…” (1 Timothy. 6:6-8). Paul also said in Romans 12:3 that we should know ourselves… not to think more highly than we should but in accordance with the level of faith we’ve been given. Sometimes God can give you more than you can handle because He knows that you are wise, kind and responsible enough to pass the excess to the rightful owners – the needy (1Timothy 6:17-19)

If God want to move you to a higher level  of wealth  He must first increased your WHC. How does God increase our WHC? I’m glad you asked.

WHC is a mental skill. Like all skills WHC is learneable. We learn and increase WHC by patiently enduring the pain of creating wealth.

Prosperity is not an event but a process. It happens in succession and it is measured not by where one is or what one has but by how far one has come, what hardships one has endured to be where one is or get what one has.

Brian Tracy once said, “Every great financial achievement is an  accumulation of hundreds of small efforts and sacrifices that no one ever  sees or appreciates. The achievement of financial independence requires a tremendous number of small efforts . To begin the process  of accumulation, you must be disciplined and persistent. You must keep at it  for a long, long time. Initially, you will see very little change or difference  but gradually, your efforts will begin to bear fruit”.

The process of earning is what increases the WHC. What makes the prize so satisfying is the price one must pay to obtain it. It has been said, there is no sweet without sweat. This is because sweat is what makes the sweet. The price we pay to succeed – in terms of finances, tears, blood, time, failure, shame, ridicule and disappointments – gives us the ability to attain, enjoy and retain our success.

Prosperous people know that it takes less energy to attain wealth than to retain it. Simply put, if you do not know how to attain wealth you don’t know how to retain it. People who come into possession of things without paying the full price (for example heirs and lottery winners) not only fail to draw lasting satisfaction from their possessions but struggle to keep them.

A new study by American psychologists has found that excessive wealth, particularly for people unaccustomed to it, such as lottery winners, can actually cause unhappiness. It is not surprising, therefore, that studies also show nearly one-third of lottery winners end up in bankruptcy.

Charlie Dexter once said:

People, who patiently toil towards worthwhile dreams and goals, building strong character while overcoming adversity and challenge, grow the strong internal foundation to handle success…. A caterpillar is doomed to a life on the ground if it is freed from its struggle inside a cocoon prematurely. The struggle in the cocoon is what gives the future butterfly the wing power to fly.


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