Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Reflections On Success

As I sit at work, staring at my desk and mentally digging deeper and deeper, all I can think about is success. The fuckin word won't leave my mind. I need it, I want it, I know I can have it. But what is it? What defines it? How does one achieve it?

For the longest time I thought that success would come in the form of financial fortune and that it was possible to achieve in one hit through gambling. I've since been removed from gambling and playing poker on an every day basis, and along with it far removed from the thought of reaching wealth by means of easy luck.

Living in Santa Barbara and having gambling be such a big piece of my life for so long has increased my need to be financially successful in life. I can't get away from rich people, and I need a piece! Success in life is more than wealth. It's family, it's having great friends, it's being personally true to yourself, it's being comfortable, it's finding peace. At the same time one cannot deny the fact that money gives you an outlet to some of the latter descriptions of the word.

Every day I see success even from my post in the office. My big boss has turned his life into a never ending fairytale as he sits atop the hills of Santa Barbara in his multimillion dollar Italian villa that he's built from the ground up. He has a hired accountant, a slew of monthly bills that quadruples my paycheck, and a portfolio that looms over my salary like it was a bug.

He wasn't always wealthy, though. He started as a computer programmer before computers could function by themselves. When he found out the business of a family friend was being sold, he bought it. He worked, he turned it into something to be proud of. He was presented an opportunity and he took it.

My little boss married the big boss's daughter and now leads a life of luxury, opening his mouth wide daily to swallow the drippings of the family's fortune. He works a menial yet crucial job, as he's capable and willing to do. He works as much as he has to and a little more, but he's understanding and a fun boss to have, partially because he's in the position to be. He'd done well for himself already, there's no doubt about it.

He finished school, found himself a nice job as the dean of a large technical institution, and was able to provide for his family. He worked a difficult and stressful job, but stuck with it and made a healthy living as such. But when presented with the option to do half the work for almost the same pay, along with the rights to won a multimillion dollar company with his wife, there wasn't much debate. He was presented an opportunity and he took it.

Both men are outstanding people, and I can't be happy enough to work for them. On a personal level they are some of the funnest, most enjoyable people I've ever met. On a job level, they've worked hard in life and are now at a point where they can rest and relax first, and work hard for little bits at a time second. I can only hope to be at their level later in life.

But how do I get there? That's been the question roaming the empty halls of my head for the past months. So many success stories I've heard have been that someone has just been in the right place at the right time. They had info on a stock that happened to go big when it did. They were able to buy a business and they, even without the money, personally knew a wealthy investor to go in with. They were able to get a job for the right person and ended up in the right conversation when it was taking place.

Whatever the circumstance I see so much success come from random events. But that doesn't suit me. I know I can make it in the financial world by my own way. I have the brain, I have the drive for success. Perhaps not currently as I'm stuck behind a desk and a computer making less money than what's going to make me happy, but I have the drive.

I want to invest in the stock market, I want to own my own business, I want to invest in real estate. I've bought books and I've read about it all, but I haven't been able to figure any of it out on my own. I'll get to the point that I need to be at one day because I desperately want it, and I know I'm smart enough to get it.

I keep looking for a teacher though, I keep looking for a hand to hold. Perhaps this is one of my weak points in life. If it is the thing holding me back then one day I'll overcome it and achieve my goals.

For now, I'll just push through. I'll keep looking, I have to. Perhaps I need to go back to school to be happy, but maybe I just need to find my calling. Whatever is out there, I'm ready for it. I've settled my life in other subjects, and I'm ready to find myself in the financial world. Hopefully I'll make it.

This kind of turned into a thoughtless and random rant, but I have so much goin on in my head and in my life right now. Everything seems to be getting clearer and a lot of things have fallen into place to make me a happy person. The next step is close, I can feel it...

Until next time.


CoolChangeSailor said...

It's really great to see you closely examining your life, Crash. The old adage about the nominal value of a life without introspection, while shopworn, is nonetheless true.

Having said that, I feel compelled to rush to point out that, while it may APPEAR that the individuals whose rise to enviable socio-economic comfort levels you cite is due in large part to happenstance--to, as you seem to intimate, their ability to recognize and seize an opportunity to circumvent what otherwise might have been a more traditional and definitely more protracted self-elevation--that it was actually their work ethic that led to the very presentation of those self-same opportunities in the first place.

I am acquainted with both of the individuals to whom you refer, as you know, and I can tell you without a doubt that their success is due more to their ability to work, work, work toward a goal than to their ability to lie in wait for an opportunity to come along, willy-nilly, and then to pounce upon it.

The big boss would not be in the position he is in unless ALL of the other things that were going on in his life had not been in place to enable him to take advantage of the opportunity to change careers the way he did. He would not have been able to take advantage of the opportunity to start his business unless he had demonstrated to himself and those around him that he was the kind of person who could take on the risks involved and to successfully execute the plan to drive his business to the success that it is today.

The littler boss would not in the position he is in unless, for example, he had demonstrated to the big boss (and before that, to the big boss's daughter and the big boss's wife) that he was worthy of their trust and love.

Does the ability to recognize an opportunity play a role in the realization of your long-term goals? Certainly!

But you are more likely to be able to recognize and seize opportunities when you discipline your mind to the idea that along with opportunity comes the tacit requirement to work to realize its full potential.

Luck has comparatively little to do with it. Further, those that "wait" for a mentor--a helping hand to hold (or to physically lift them out of their doldrums or over any obstacles) invariably wait for a very, very long time.

You ARE smart enough to get what you want. You are MORE than smart enough and more than charming enough and more than good enough. The key is in you. The key is to stop waiting, stop looking for the short-cut, stop hoping that some one or some thing is going to magically transport you from where you are to where you want to be.

You are the one.
You are the thing.
There is no magic.
Work is the answer.
Set a goal.
Develop a list--a detailed list--of the steps necessary to achieve the goal.
Execute the steps.
Do not take any shortcuts.

When you have achieved your goal, set another.

After a while, you will realize that happiness does not come in the realization of the goal, but in the work you do while getting there.

Cliche? Definitely. Untrue? Hardly.
You'll see.
P.T. Barnum was arguably the Warren Buffet of his time. I believe it was Mr. Barnum who said, "The harder I work, the luckier I get."

Love ya, C.


Re-read the post from anonymous back in June that basically tells you the same thing in the vernacular of poker!

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Anonymous said...

What does "sitting the apple" mean? KGB says it in Rounders and we were wondering. :)

Sitting the Apple said...

"Sitting the apple" means stepping up to play at the highest stakes table. I'm hoping to get there some day in life, whether it be at the poker tables or at the game of life.