“The turning point in the life of those who succeed usually comes at the moment of some crisis.”
– Napoleon Hill
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
June 1, 2019
Life offers infinite choices. Choices are one of the gifts that make life so grand, vast, and intriguing.
Some choices arrive instantly, such as slamming on the breaks not to rear end someone, while others, such as choosing a major in school, allow for extensive thought.
In this blog, choices are a subject that has been written about extensively. This is because no matter what happens, life offers a wide well of choices to draw from on a daily basis, many more than most individuals realize given that so many choices are done on autopilot, such as not having to think about directions to the grocery store. But there’s a lot more choices than the autopilot ones, and many can be significantly life changing.
For quite some time I have stood still on my path, mindful of two separate choices that can be, though not necessarily need be, joined at the hip when it concerns what I chose to do for a living. At this proverbial fork in the road I have pondered long and hard about what to do, which choice to make and the ramifications of each one to a considerable extent. While these choices have been a long time coming in a sense, for years in fact, I knew that eventually the longer it took for me to make these choices, the longer I would have to wait to chase one of my dreams.
Now, to chase certain dreams in life, an individual isn’t always required to sacrifice other things or dreams. Often, individuals can just chase a dream in a manner that doesn’t affect other parts of their life considerably. Other times, dreams can require a certain level of sacrifice, certain choices that you perhaps might not want to (or need to) make.
With this in mind I’ve chosen to stop one of my career paths, which is playing poker for a living, and only focus on business. In conjunction with that however, I have also chosen to take up writing on a more serious basis, hopefully 4-8 hours a day, if not more. Writing isn’t being chosen as a career path, though there are certain financial possibilities there as well that I am open-minded about, but that is in no way shape or form any of my main reasons for choosing writing. If I was concerned about making money or increasing income I would just log more hours playing poker. I simply choose writing because that is what I love doing.
The final portion of my poker bankroll was liquidated and converted into business inventory, as has been taking place for weeks and now. This way I can just pursue the two small businesses as a career in conjunction with writing as a passion as well.
I have loved writing ever since I was a teenager although I never thought about it seriously as I have the last few years. I have grown to love it more and more every single day. It matters not what the topic is about, I love writing about imagination, creativity, inspiration, research, non-mainstream matters, and more. And when you couple that to creative writing in the form of short stories, prose and poetry, I’m in absolute heaven when I write. I can’t get enough of it in all honesty.
Admittedly though, I did contemplate not writing as a passion, because being open-minded by default requires considering all options, even the unpleasant ones, like quitting poker.
But couldn’t I simply add writing to my plate and not quit poker? Yes. Haven’t I been writing somewhat regularly the last few months? Yes. Could I add writing to a more serious extent, even more so than now, in addition to poker? Yes. Would that be the best choice? Not in any way whatsoever.
Why is this? Because if I choose to write regularly, irrespective of what I write or to the extent that I wish to do so, it’s going to require a lot of time to write, but more importantly, to grow as a writer . As Rappaport once stated, with writing, you are either all in or you’re not – not unlike poker! If you’re going to write seriously, it has to be part of your life, if not part of your being. Writing is something that I will absolutely sink myself into and have already been doing so for weeks.
In fact, just yesterday, while at the gym, I wrote 7 blogs while I was there, at least the first drafts of them as an outline format with bullet points; this very write up was the second one of those . I don’t usually employ bullet points as a first draft in writing, but when you’re writing on a traditional notepad and not on a laptop or notebook, streamlining key points is all that matters in my opinion. Such an approach also allows for the honing of logic given the sequential order that’s needed to maximize effectiveness in writing, just like in life, and also simplifies to a significant degree as well. That said, I think doing that and only that at the nascent stages of writing would be detrimental to the process as a whole. I just employ an outline format when need be, and also because I like simplifying, though I think writing in the traditional sense is much better since it allows for thoughts to be written in their full breadth and scope.
Even with all that, there’s a more crucial reason why letting go of poker is a no-brainer and this has to do with health. Poker, by its very nature, is an incredibly stressful game. In a regular every day 9-5 job, you show up, you get paid. In poker, such is not the case. You could go days, weeks, or months (if you’re a tournament player) playing flawlessly and still lose. Some have even gone a full year without any profits, YIKES! Though I’ve played countless tournaments in my life and dabbled considerably in them, this was mostly before the fateful ‘Black Friday’ date that poker went through years back.
Poker is just a game (or career) that creates a never-ending avalanche of stress that most people cannot handle, and even with those that do, it can still affect them greatly, like it has affected me in the past and many others that I know.
Being cognizant that health is my main concern at this point, choosing to stop poker isn’t even a choice. That said, just because I have stopped playing poker doesn’t mean that I had to add writing. But, given that writing is my main creative passion in life and it allows me to vent to a significant degree, thus relieving stress, which is the opposite of what poker would do, I see no reason why not to venture head long in it.
I always knew (or at least hoped) that poker was simply a means to an end, a way to make a living while enjoying the love for the game. The chief binary reasons why I love poker are (1) not only because poker allows more freedom than what a traditional job could offer, but more importantly, (2) poker allowed me to stay home, and staying home was important for someone who’s always had family in mind ever since I can remember.
In fact, having family has always been a big dream of mine in a weird sense and something I thought about often while growing up. Before my parents’ divorce, my father used to work for FEMA and he had to travel a lot. At times, he was gone for months at a time, with one time him being gone 9 months if I recall correctly. Whenever there was a disaster he had to bolt with no warning. Whether it was the Mississippi river flood, the Oklahoma City bombing, or anything similar, he had to be gone because it was his job to set up the communication networks when things went haywire and nothing could be accomplished during emergencies without communication.
The fact the he made that choice never bothered me or anyone else in my family that I know of. Yes, we all wanted him home, but that’s what he had to do given his career choice. Those circumstances always made me think that if I had the option to not be away from family, then I would actively seek it out. Had I followed through with Aerospace Engineering as I originally planned on after ASU, I knew having a lot of time for family would never happen, which is another major reason why poker always seemed amazing.
While at ASU I spoke to many current or former engineers that worked at Lockheed Martin or other aerospace companies that would venture to campus occasionally, and the vibes I got most of the time were that even though they liked (or even loved) their jobs, they all worked a lot, and a small amount were even downright miserable because they didn’t do what they were told they would be doing out of college even though they were all making great money and a fantastic living in the traditional sense.
Don’t give me wrong, I don’t mind working hard at all, or spending lots of time at work. Working hard has never been an issue. If anything, no matter the job, if there’s anything I could be accused of being is a workaholic. Not the best trait to have, but it’s one that’s true, or at least it was many a year ago. But given a choice, the adage of working smarter over working harder should always be chosen. These days I’ve simply taken the 4-Hour work week approach, whether it was poker or business. Not that I only work 4 hours a week, nay. Essentially, my goal is always to accomplish as much as possible with work (or writing) in the narrowest time slot available at the moment. This approach has kept me focused and saved me from serious heartache whether it was poker or business.
It’s odd because although I played poker for a living for well over ten years, I never went to Vegas. That’s even more mind bobbling due to living in Arizona, which is a stone’s throw from Nevada.
I can hear it now: “YOU PLAYED POKER FOR A LIVING AND NEVER WENT TO VEGAS!?!” My friends will never let me live this down, and I’m sure many are still laughing. No, I have never been to Vegas, even when we only lived 5 hours (drive time) away from Vegas. Eventually I would like to visit, but that’s definitely for the future.
It’s incredibly paradoxical because you would figure that someone like me that loves meeting people, having dinners with friends and family, the night life, dancing and so on, would easily choose visiting Vegas, at least once. But no, Vegas never appealed to me like that. And although I do enjoy the aforementioned inclinations to a great degree and those are things I like or even love doing, like dancing, those past times were never my defaults.
By default, I enjoy writing, reading, thinking, meaningful conversations, and so on. Every single one of those is something I love doing, which is why those are some of my defaults, and not the prior proclivities.
In any case, because of that assemblage of reasons, making the choice to play poker (though it certainly wasn’t set in stone at the time) was a no-brainer, just like pursuing writing as a passion is now. But unlike poker, which was done primarily out the freedom it offered coupled with the potential for profits and income that allowed for the capacity to make a living, writing is strictly chosen as a passion, as one of my dreams.
In all honesty, I couldn’t chose writing if I didn’t have something to fall back on. In essence, the Ebay and Bricklink stores have replaced poker, and allow an approach that significantly decreases stress in more ways than I can express. Also, writing is simply going to take the time slot that poker used to take, as it has for the last 2-3 weeks, with the usual writing that I do sprinkled in the mix that I’m liable to do at anytime, anywhere, for any reason.
Will I ever play again? Heavens yes, of course. My Mom drags my wife and I from time to time to the casino and not the other way around as it might seem . Interestingly enough, my Mom draws a lot of inspiration from that actually. I hope to write about how that inspires her in the future.
Now, am I following writing as a career path? Nope. I will do it because I love doing it, because I have an unending passion for it.
Writing is one of the ultimate freedoms of expressions of the individual. And in an outside-of-the-box sort of way, writing is one of the biggest investments an individual can carry out, not unlike an individual’s proactive focus on health.
Writing as a passion is essentially going to become my drop into the aether in hopes to spawn change at a grassroots level with individuals. The way I have always seen it is like this: if every single post I share within this blog reaches only one person every single day of my life, then that will have meant thousands of people helped over the course of my life. Thankfully, the blog has done way better than reaching one person a day, but I don’t want to try and get too ahead of myself.
I employ this mindset due to a particular scene that played out from the action movie The Core if my memory serves me right. Within the movie, one of the protagonists is stressing about saving the world. Within that key moment, one of the other protagonists goes on to share their sentiments, where they said something along the lines of, saving the entire world is complicated, so why not simplify. He stated that in his case he was simply attempting to save 3 people, which were his family, that’s all. If he could save those 3 people, which were his wife and two kids, then everything else would follow. That simplicity and depth always stuck with me.
That’s taking a huge complex problem, and boiling down to only its core aspects, which allows for significantly less stress and more focus to be had, some of the very things that a sound mindset would employ.
Now, something I have noticed in the alternative research community is that many people share news articles, perhaps dozens, hundreds, or thousands of them over many years and expect the world to change in a heartbeat. Change at that ferocious speed is nigh never going to happen. Not that it cannot happen, it certainly can and it very rare instances has; it’s just that change at that rapid rate is incredibly complicated for innumerable reasons. Such is not how the world operates. The world is fluid, its chaotic, it’s wonderful, its boundless, it’s growing, and it’s a blank canvas at its foundation. Life is a blank canvas that requires constant application of an individual’s dreams for significant change to not only manifest, but to create resonance with others.
Blank canvases and the resonance they create allow for individuals to express themselves as they see fit while affecting the world, whether it is artistically or academically. This self expression allows for creativity to be explored, which allows for roads to be ventured.
And in synchronistic fashion, the very road that allows me to make my drop-in-the-bucket type of contribution to help others, also allows me to follow my passion, which is writing. In that sense, choosing writing is simplifying because writing, compared to poker, is a walk in the park, when it comes to stress at least, and almost everything else as well.
But what’s most incongruous and intriguing is that is that, if you think about it logically, what is simpler than doing what you love, which in my case is writing?
 One aspect of writing that takes a considerable amount of time is editing, particularly in more objective and lengthier research-based pieces. The longer the write up, the more editorial sweeps an individual must do to make sure the writing has quality, unless someone has considerable skill level at editing. I don’t mind editing, and at times it’s even fun, it’s just that editing is not something that’s talked about as one might often think, but at least it’s a developable skill.
For instance, this entire write up took me more than 10 sweeps to get to a satisfactory point and at least a few hours. Could it be better? Probably. But given how much time I had already spent writing this and editing it, I think that for what it is, it gets the point across with no glaring mistakes (that I can see at least). That said, most of my blogs don’t take that many sweeps, particularly the ones that are 2-3 pages long, as opposed to this one, which is 5 pages in total.
 I mention the amount of blogs I made first drafts not in a bragging manner, especially since anyone else can do the same, but to show how excited I was at the time that I was finally embedding myself into what I have wanted to do for years, which was writing. I derived a lot of inspiration from these thoughts and still find them incredibly inspiring.
 Why would I not be leading the charge to the casino on a regular basis? Because the poker I played was mostly online, since it saves on average 500 hours of road time a year, and for someone that’s incredibly cognizant of time, how precious it is, even if all you get is minutes within an individual, 500 hours of year is lot of time that can be allocated for other things.
 I hope to eventually write a book on poker and life, similar to some of the blogs that I have written on this very topic within this blog, but that’s something that I will probably begin to tackle next year. As it stands, my year is already jam-packed with countless ideas and goals that I wish to accomplish or at least begin, but I will take proactive steps towards the goal of writing a Life & Poker book though.
 I hope every single one of you takes at least one step, every single day, to whatever goal you wish to accomplish, no matter how big or small. Those individual steps, while seemingly inconsequential, will accrue to a significant degree and eventually snowball into something more magnificent. Or as grandpa Yoda said, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
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