“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”
Motivational speaker Tony Robbins is fond of saying that our sense of self-worth is based on our expectations, our life’s blueprint.
“Whenever you are happy with something in your life, it is because right now, the conditions of your life match your blueprint, or your belief about how life should be in that particular area,” Robbins says.
Unfortunately, the reverse is also true.
Although I achieved all the goals I set as a senior in high school, ultimately those goals didn’t make me happy, nor did they provide me with any real sense of accomplishment. Not only do I think I pursued the wrong things in life — if I had to do it all over again, there’s no way I’d get involved in horse racing — but I now have this overwhelming desire to “redeem” all the time I wasted. After much soul-searching, I’ve decided how I’m going to do this.
I am going to move to Las Vegas and become a professional gambler.
On the surface, I know this sounds crazy, but I’ve never believed in thinking small or setting goals that don’t excite — or even terrify. As Robbins notes: “Don’t be modest or shy about what you want to do with your life. Dream big. What legacy do you want to leave behind? How do you want people to remember you?”
I want to be remembered as someone who wasn’t afraid to reach for the stars, someone who took the road less traveled by and didn’t get lost (unlike when I’m driving), someone who didn’t let fear dictate his life choices.
Of course, what the motivational gurus don’t often discuss is the effect of one’s decisions on others.
I don’t mind starving for a chance at greatness, I don’t care if people mock or make fun of me; heck, I’m even OK with failure (as long as the effort is there). But I’m not comfortable asking others to make similar sacrifices or face comparable hardship as a result of a decision I, and I alone, have made.
At this point, I’m not sure how to resolve this dilemma, but I know that my life cannot continue along the same trajectory. And Newton’s first law of motion teaches us that, minus an unbalanced force, nothing changes — so I must be that unbalanced force.
Somehow, some way, I have to implement my plan. I recently ran across a passage from Factotum, written by Charles Bukowski, that sums up my feelings beautifully:
If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery — isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it.
I know, to many, this probably seems selfish — and it is. But, in some ways, I feel it is destiny. Outside of my devastating charm, irrepressible wit and incredible modesty, analyzing numbers is my one great talent in life, yet I’ve done practically nothing with it.
Sure, I’ve maintained websites pertaining to my passion for analysis — the latest is Databasebetting.com — but I learned a long time ago that, in the gambling world, nobody really cares whether one is any good or not. In Beat the Book, author Dan Gordon notes that bettors “don’t like to hear that realistic long-term win percentages will be in the 55 to 60 percent range.”
Instead, they “want someone who claims to win 75 or 80 percent against the point spread,” Gordon writes.
Worse, as I have personally experienced — over… and over… and over… and over again — most gamblers simply will not accept an approach that is radically, or even marginally, different than their own, even if they are consistent losers. I have actually done studies on various gambling factors only to have people argue with me about the results because a friend of a friend of a horse trainer or coach says it’s not so.
This is why I think becoming a professional gambler is perfect for me. Personally, I prefer to live in a more objective world, where facts are facts and opinions are those things we share on Facebook and Twitter every 15 minutes.
I don’t fear failure, but I do fear looking back on my life one day and asking “what if?” To me, the most poignant thing on a tombstone is something that others scarcely notice — the dash between the year one was born and the year one died. That tiny line encompasses all the living we did.
I want mine to mean something.
Featured photo by Katrina on Unsplash.