Gambling is not about money

Winning is the important feature of gambling. When you're winning, you're happy, right? And a Big Win makes you very happy. 

Gambling is not about money at the end of the day. It's about that feeling of winning, of being powerful, of being successful. Money is only a currency that indicates success.

I'd suggest that gambling addiction starts when someone is not as successful as they think they should be; but they taste success through gambling; and put their efforts into gambling as a way of feeling successful.

I'd even go as far to say that this is why men suffer more from gambling addiction than women (men are over 7 x more likely to have a problem) - because generally women are more concerned with relationships than results.

But winning does not go on forever. The more you gamble, the more likely it is that you will gravitate towards the average, and the average "take" for the industry is 15%. That is, if you gamble enough, you'll lose all your money. This is the problem with gambling; that losing then makes you feel unsuccessful. Gambling says to you that winning = success, and losing = failure.

Gambling says to you that
winning = success
losing = failure

But this isn't true, is it? Plenty of successful people have failed in various ways and learnt from their failures - without failure they might not even have succeeded. How you measure your life should be about more than winning or losing in your gambling, or even winning or losing in your exam results, job, or career. 


So how then should we measure success? 

John Wooden is the most revered basketball coach of all time, he won the national championship 10 times with UCLA and holds the record for 88 consecutive wins. He knows about winning. But he also knows about success, and he separates the two.

He says: "You can win when you're outscored". That is, you can win when you lose the game. He wanted his players to be able to hold their head up after the game because they had shown great character and performed to their best.

He also notes that there were several years at UCLA where his team did not lose a game. But they didn't win by the margin that people had predicted! He notes that the fans were disappointed - particularly those who had gambled on the outcome! You'll never satisfy yourself if you measure yourself by results, but you will be contented through developing your character. 

You’ll never be satisfied if you measure yourself by results, but you will be contented through developing your character

Wooden suggests that success in basketball is about: "Peace of mind... in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you're capable". And this is true of life in general.

"If you make the effort to do the best of which you're capable, trying to improve the situation that exists for you, I think that's success, and I don't think others can judge that; it's like character and reputation -- your reputation is what you're perceived to be; your character is who you really are"

If you have 15 minutes, it is worth hearing from John yourself as he reminisces in this video: