Make your own luck
On hearing my long and impressive list of prizes, a lot of people say to me, “Wow, aren’t you lucky!”. Well actually, no, I’m not. I mean in a very loose, ‘I live in the developed world’ sense of the word, then sure, you could say that I am a lucky person. But actual luck, the suggestion that some people will always win more competitions than others?Nope! I don’t believe that for a second.
Let me start with a really important piece of advice. Comping (that results in winning) requires a lot of time and effort. You have to be relentless, you have to be resilient to losing and you have to stay positive. Otherwise, you may win one or two prizes over a long period of time, but the frequent and regular wins will elude you. Frequent competition wins are not a result of luck, they are a result of chance combined with effort.
There are ways to improve your chances and increase your effort, but there is no way to improve your luck, unless you are superstitious or religious. I am neither. I am stubborn though and I have a really strong work ethic. Work ethic might seem like an odd thing to reference when talking about a hobby. However, when you take the definition of work, ‘activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result’, it’s easy to see how this could apply to my suggestion.
By no means am I trying to put anybody off comping! That’s actually the exact opposite of why I’m here. I just want to be as honest as I can, so that I don’t give anybody false hope. Comping is great! I have won A LOT of prizes. A rough calculation is that I have received over £11,000 worth of prizes in the past 3 years.
Now, £11,000 for free is not something that many people would turn down. It also isn’t a 3 year salary that many people would accept, certainly not in the western world. So please believe me when I say, to live exclusively from the proceeds of competitions, is practically impossible. Once you’ve accepted that it’s not an easy or quick fix to financial hardship, feel free to get very excited about comping.
How much time and effort is ‘a lot’?
One grey area of course, is that people have different ideas of what ‘a lot’ is. The interpreted value of prizes will also vary greatly from person to person dependent on desire, wealth, lifestyle and personality. I thought, therefore, that it would be helpful to show you my interpretation of ‘a lot’ of effort.
My standard week day during term time – I work from home
- Wake 6am – Mom duties followed by 1 hour of comping whilst my son gets ready for school
- Work 8am-3pm with 1 hour break (most of which will be used comping or doing paid studies)
- 3pm Mom duties until bedtime
- 7pm – My son goes to bed and I comp for about 1 hour before having a late dinner
- 9pm – I enter competitions from now until bed time, which is generally between 1.30 and 2.30am. (I don’t sleep well, due to pain)
- Total estimated competitions entered per day is somewhere between 200 and 400
As you can see, I spend a large percentage of my day entering competitions. Please bear in mind that I have medical conditions, which result in me spending a lot of time sitting. I can only do a maximum of about 30 minutes house work or other physical activity at a time. I realise that it’s incredibly unlikely that the majority of people, parents in particular, will have this much time to contribute to competitions, but it gives you an idea of my effort vs rewards. This provides me with a win ratio of about 1.5 items per week.
There are ways to increase your chances of winning compared to time spent, which I discuss in other posts such as How to maximise your chances. I should also add that my way is not the only way to comp. Some people may disagree with my methods, but it’s what works for me in my given circumstances and it may suit you too!