An Expensive Loss // Positively Speaking // Mark Wilson

Several years ago, I heard about a man who bought a lottery ticket. It was a big winner worth $10,000, but the poor fellow didn’t recognize it and threw it away.

When the winning lottery numbers were announced on television, he was horrified as he realized his mistake. The man leaped into his car and sped to the city dump where he began to rummage frantically through mountains of trash.

Word quickly spread and soon the news media converged on the dump, taking pictures of him as he waded through the filth.

After several days of searching in vain, he gave up. The guy didn’t find his winning lottery ticket, but he did make the front page of the local newspapers!

Before we ridicule this gentleman for throwing away something of such great worth, we need to be aware of the fact that people often throw away things which are of even greater value.

1. Some people throw away relationships: A disagreement — a harsh word — a misunder-standing — and the relationship between best friends can crumble. Families are broken and loved ones are crushed simply because people do not realize that these relationships are a priceless treasure. Valuable relationships must be maintained by unconditional acceptance, forgiveness, and love if they are to last.

2. Some people throw away their morals: I know of many individuals who have sacrificed their values and morals in order to be accepted by their peers. The tragic truth is that these “friends” quickly vanish when times are hard. A person who sacrifices himself for peer pressure will soon find himself all alone with only his regrets to keep him company.

3. Some people throw away their health: I am amazed at how many people ruin their health through smoking, drinking, drugs, and an improper diet. Your body is like a bank — what you put into it now determines what you get out of it later. Think about your health and take care of it before it’s too late.

4. Some people throw away their future: People who fail to plan for the future are planning to fail. If you do not have dreams and goals for yourself, life will soon pass you by. Countless multitudes have decided to take the “easy path” and have become miserable failures as a result. The road to success and true happiness is difficult — requiring much effort — but the rewards far outweigh the cost.

Throwing away these important things is a far greater tragedy than the loss of any lottery ticket.

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