What do you think?
Picture this: a fantastic contest catches your eye. Say you get to pick the prizes you receive. Maybe it’s your dream backyard: barbecue, patio set, pool. Or maybe it’s your dream home renovation: skylights, new floors, cabinets. Maybe it’s a man cave: bring on that 80″ TV! It’s exciting, isn’t it? You plan everything just the way you want it, down to that coat rack in the corner. And then you wait. And then…
What if you don’t win?
You’ve already invested all those hours designing your dream prize! What do you do if you don’t win? Do you go out and buy the prize for yourself? That’s what some contest sponsors—the ones who sell the prizes offered—would like you to do. Do you take it in stride and move on to the next contest? Or do you give up on contests entirely? What a waste of time. No one ever wins those stinkin’ contests! At least, at that moment that’s what it feels like.
How can we find the right balance?
I’ve been in those situations a few times. I know better, but occasionally I still picture myself with a prize I haven’t yet won. It’s fun—until that moment when it all comes crashing down and you see someone else’s name listed as “winner.” It’s easy to want to retreat at that point. To take a break, to disengage. It’s understandable. Heck, maybe it’s even healthy. None of us should get that upset about losing something that was never ours. But the hope of winning fabulous prizes is the reason we spend time entering contests to begin with, isn’t it? We wouldn’t spend time entering if we couldn’t get excited about the possibility of winning! So where’s the middle ground, and how do we find it?
Forget about it….
I’ve found, after weathering disappointments and learning to regulate my expectations, that my lousy memory was actually a blessing! My goal now is to remember to enter contests as many times as I’m allowed, but then to forget about them. That way, if I don’t win, I’m not disappointed. I’ve already left that contest way behind me. But If I win… what a wonderful surprise! There’s an added sweetness to a prize you didn’t expect!
But don’t forget the odds
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t enter contests where you have to plan out the prize you want to win. The more contests we enter, the more chances to win. But be careful not to invest too much in any one contest. You probably will anyway, from time to time, but when you do, and if you don’t win, remember that you weren’t supposed to let yourself get too invested in it anyway. On to the next contest!
Find the fun
For me, I think entering contests should be fun. It shouldn’t be a chore, and it shouldn’t be a source of stress. Do you have friends who enter contests? Enjoy their wins, and sympathize with their losses. Don’t have friends who enter contests? Maybe you should share some contests with them. Doesn’t that make your odds worse? Yes, but not really. If your odds before you told them about the contest were 1 in 20,000, your odds after you tell them are 1 in 20,001. Not a big difference. And if you don’t win, wouldn’t you rather the winner was a friend of yours?
How about you?
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How to Find Local Sweepstakes: 10 Tips
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