only I could win the lotto, if only those six numbers I've been
taking since 1978 would drop out of that big perspex ball - wow,
my whole life would change for the better and my life would be
complete and everybody would be happy.
True? Does money buy happiness? Or
does success bring far more happiness than money ever could? And
what's the difference?
Have a think about a guy from Kentucky
the USA called Mack Metcalf. He was a forklift driver who picked
up $US65 million in Powerball and told all and sundry he'd finished
with it all and everybody else and he was going to move over here
to Australia and live the good life? Did he? Not even close.
He bought a small southern style
mansion that looked like the set of Gone With The Wind in Kentucky
on a "modest" 43 acres, bought mega expensive cars to
play with, got sued by a former wife (who saw his photo on TV)
for child maintenance, got ripped off by a former girlfriend for
half a million while he was drunk, became an alcoholic and thought
every one he knew was trying to kill him.
The grog gave him cirrhosis of the
liver and hepatitis and he died three years later at age 45. On
his tombstone it simply reads "Loving father and brother,
finally at rest".
$65 million sure bought him a lot
of happiness. So money doesn't buy happiness? Isn't that what
your mum told you? But, if you're like me you've probably always
had a hankering to find out for yourself. If having money isn't
number 1, it sure is giving whatever is in first place a hell
of a race.
Perhaps it is true that money does
buy you time and with that time it is possible to do other things
that make you happier. So many of us, like approximately 99% of
us, spend so much time trying to make money to pay the bills that
anything you may wish to do to give you pleasure falls in to the
"too hard, no time" category.
Extending the argument out, do people
who live in so called rich countries have happier lives that those
that live in poor countries. According to a 2006 survey, the unhappiest
place on earth to live was Zimbabwe- well, what a surprise - the
joint is a basket case run by a psycho dictator and filled with
people who've spent the last twenty years eating dirt. But when
you get past that level of abject poverty and in to a small degree
of monetary "comfort", does the extra money make any
Now you'd reckon that a country rich
in history and culture and a modern way of life like France would
be a happy place to live. No - wrong (buzzer sounds). In that
same survey only 36% of people living there said they were happy
yet, in Mexico, obviously poorer in most measurable terms, nearly
twice as many people said they were generally happy.
So what has this all got to do with
punting on the races? Think about it - if you back a winner at
10/1 and one at 3/1, which one makes you "happier"?
I would reckon that most of you couldn't notice any difference
in emotions when you think about that. So is it the success
in making the correct decision that makes you happy
regardless of the financial profit? Is it that you were smarter
than the mob and able to arrive at a successful decision more
important than whether you won $100 or $300?
People ALWAYS think that the "good
life" is always on the next level up to where they personally
exist. Read that again and absorb it. People ALWAYS think that
the "good life" is always on the next level up to where
they personally exist.
So does having money make you happy
or is it having more money than the next punter what makes you
happier? Perhaps out of our primeval past comes the urge to show
that we're better than others. 100,000 years ago, it would have
given us happiness to have more animal skins than the troglodyte
in the next cave. This would of course help ensure mating prospects,
which would keep our genetic lines going.
This is not to say there is something
strange about measuring our success with money. I measure one
selection method's success against another mostly on dollar grounds
BUT other things do come in to play like hours of work needed
to return x as compared hours required to return y. Because when
you think about it, time is something on which you can't put a
price. So if one method I use returns a profit of $200 for 20
hours work a week and another returns $100 a week for 4 hours
a week time investment which one do you think is the better return
on all measures of quality?
US President Theodore Roosevelt was
a pretty smart dude. His words: "happiness is not in
the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement,
in the thrill of creative effort.”
My passion in the creativity area
is all about finding patterns in racing that bring me a modest
return on hours invested. The freedom that this brings me, gives
me immeasurable happiness in having the time to indulge in many
other things like family and friendships and other constructive
Make no mistake - money IS a handy
measure of success. But there is a dark side to it. A lot of people
tend to forget that money is only a measure. Some people
focus on money for its own sake, forgetting what really brings
the happiness to their lives.
If you are one of the 5% of punters
who make consistent profits from racing, that's terrific BUT never
lose sight of what it is really all about. Enjoy life. Have fun
while you're here and doing it because you're going to be gone
for a long long time.
© RaceRate.com 2011
racing systems and research