The Never Ending Question
by dtools22 | Published Nov 11, 2013
Sometimes, even the most well intentioned guidance can lead to crippling indecision.
About a year and a half ago I met one of the regulars in the Foxwoods poker room. He took note of my own regular attendance at the tables and he started asking me questions. After some back and forth discourse he took the stance that I was wasting my time and potential sitting in the poker room all the time and that I should go out and get a real job. His tone was never harsh or malicious. He never came down on me with cruelty nor did he pick on me after I took a bad beat or two at the table. This gentleman just thought he was witnessing a train wreck in progress and he wanted to do his part to help. He wasn’t by any means a hater. The impression I got was that he felt what I was trying to do was way more of headache than it was worth. The conversation always seemed to get back to the fact that I was someone he found to be very capable and he couldn’t understand why I would want to struggle the way I was playing cards for a living when I could make a killing somewhere less stressful. People like this are not uncommon in my day to day life. I’ve had regular grinders, casino employees, friends, family, and anyone else you could think of come up to me and try to “talk me down off the ledge” before it was too late. Everybody, no matter what your life path is, has to deal with the questions from those who don’t see things the way we do.
Whether you’re starting your own business or trying to seek out fame and fortune as an A-list entertainer you are going to deal with people questioning your decisions. As soon as you veer off the familiar path, your audience starts to react as though you are the main character in a horror movie and you’re about to walk into the serial killer’s hideout. The cliché is that these people are just haters who don’t want you to succeed because then it makes their own lives seem insignificant. There certainly are people out in the world like that, but they are simple enough to just dismiss out of hand. The group that is harder to account for is the one that reacts not with hate, but with doubt. Someone telling you that you can’t do something can be remarkably motivating. It’s much harder when the people you talk to respond with not with vitriol, but with fear. These people don’t doubt your skills. They fixate on the negative outcomes and they never cease to remind you about them. “What happens if that doesn’t work” will be a question you hear over and over in one form or another from people simply trying to better understand you. You can’t just tune them out. If you do you’ll become a recluse and have no one to confide in the moments when you aren’t as stalwart. My own experience with the gentleman I reference before lead to him asking me one question in particular that stuck with me, “How do you like your life as a professional gambler?”
I wasn’t even on a first name basis with this gentleman when he dropped that particular mortar onto me. It’s tough to be happy when you’re building something from the ground up. All your friends are enjoying the fruits of their labors. They have basic benefit plans, nice apartments, newer video game systems, nicer TVs and computers, nicer cars, and hours upon hours more free time than you do. When you try to build something significant of yourself you’re going to work longer hours and receive way fewer results when you’re just starting out. You won’t have as much time to go out to eat, go on vacations, or start a new gaming campaign with your buddies. You have to find your happiness from places that are less recreational. You can’t be shortsighted and put your own happiness squarely on your immediate success. You’ll drive yourself into clinical depression in no time. You need to constantly have a forward vision. You need to look beyond the immediate and off to the horizon where you can loosen your financial and recreational belts. When someone asks, “How happy are you with…” you need to be ready to face your incomplete present while exuding confidence to that person, more for your own benefit than his or hers. If you can’t convince yourself of a brighter future in the face of doubts, then it’s time to reconsider your course of action.
Questioning your decisions isn’t a bad thing. The trick is not to let your questions stop you from moving forward. People are going to come up to you and challenge your convictions. You should be able to answer those questions honestly and fully. You don’t need to convince the doubters, you need to prove to yourself that the doubters aren’t right.