August 9, 2006

Lesson #3: Tell Better Stories

so if you're a little confused about how i went from the statement that 'my whole trip was this amazing experience that i haven't digested yet' to 'the two lessons i learned from my trip are that poker is tiring and you need to not care about money,' then this post is for you.

between my week spent in chicago catching up with the stoopsons (stoops, will, pseudostoops, and baby stoops) and my week spent in las vegas, i had a host of small experiences that made me realize one thing: i'm way too young to be doing things that i don't want to do. i think this was really driven home when stoops told me about a man we'll call 'father of pseudostoops'. most notably i was startled to find out that, before becoming a very successful business man, 'father of pseudostoops' played several years of beach volleyball for a living. i'm not quite sure why i was so stunned by that fact, though i have a theory. somewhere in my life i became convinced that if i wanted a 'successful career,' i had better get my ass out there right out of the gate. i never really argued this fact in my head; i just took it as fact. considering that being a professional beach volleyball player is probably not 'career-advancing' for anyone besides beach volleyball players, i suddenly found myself thinking about things differently. i mean, if pseudostoops' dad could play beach volleyball for several years before launching into a wildly successful professional career, what exactly did that say about the necessity of getting on the corporate ladder as soon as possible?

what does that have to do with a week of poker? a few months ago, i had a conversation with a few friends where i noted that i hadn't done very many 'notable things' (actual words) since i left school. i felt like i could count the number of such events on one hand. as you can imagine, that was in fact the conversation that sparked my plan to live in las vegas for a week, and it worked. twenty years from now, i'll look back on the week that i spent living out of a suitcase in harrah's as a great experience. i'll fondly recount the time that i got all my chips into a huge pot as a 9:1 favorite and subsequently got crushed. well, maybe not fondly, but you know what i mean. i'm glad i spent that week because i was doing something notable (in my own mind) that i loved. sure i was in a rush to win chips, but it's more that i was in a rush to do something that i wanted to do. i'm pretty sure 'father of pseudostoops' didn't think he'd be playing beach volleyball for his whole life, but it was something he wanted to do.

now all of that is great, but what's the actual implication for me? well, i used to at least believe in the idea of a Deferred Life plan. 'save now so you can enjoy it later.' 'put in time at work now while you're young.' 'get started on your career early.' 'work here for a few years until you're ready to go to business school. THEN you can do whatever it is you want.' actually pretty much anything that starts with 'do this for a few _______ until you ______.' all of these ideas are some variant of a Deferred Life plan. and i now think they are all bullshit. working in a job that you don't like for some kind of other benefit (money, ladder-climbing, early retirement, etc.)? that's bullshit. when i'm 60 years old, i'm not really interested in sitting around sunning myself in my huge mansion, happy that i saved so much money in my 20's. i'm not into Deferred Life plans anymore. money is far less important than not wasting time. the tagline i like the most? Tell Better Stories.

so what am i planning in the next couple of months to not let that time slip away?

  • taking a new job (more on that later)
  • visiting a new continent
  • playing more poker
there'll be a time in my life when i'll have to do lots of things that i don't want to do. there'll be time for compromises and sacrifices. i'm 24, that time's not now. i'm way too young to be doing things that i don't want to do.

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At 8/13/2006 10:07:00 PM, Anonymous bonnie said...

i like this


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