It is always amazing whenever I walk into a casino to see all the people pouring their money into slot machines. When I was younger I used to volunteer at a bingo hall for my boxing club and I remember all the superstitions people had regarding how they could win. The most interesting event that occurred while I was working there was that the largest pot on record was won by the millionaire retiree.
Gambling like many things revolves around a simple idea, “I am special” or “I am deserving”. From the moment we are born we are told we are special, even if we are completely average. The absolute bombardment of adoration inflates our ego instead of giving us the much needed trait of humility. At some point despite our ego we will be smacked down to a point where we will either realize we are not special and fall in line, enter denial and merge with some minority, or try to prove ourselves.
Falling in line is not particularly bad and many people can go on to live very happy lives following a standard path. Entering denial, marking up our bodies with tattoos, or conforming to some minority or sub culture might giving an illusion of being special, but it definitely not being special. The last thing we can do which will make up the remainder of this post is proving ourselves.
When we come face to face with the fact that we are not special this can have very positive effects. We are all so self concerned that this realization can make us strive for the characteristic we feel bottled up in ourselves. It must be realized however that proving ourselves will come with failures. In fact, entrepreneurs can expect an 80% failure rate, this means entrepreneurs can expect at the very minimum their first 4 businesses to fail. This is pretty daunting, and even taxing. It is this amount of failure that allows people to actually be special. If everyone was special, no one would be, so only those who can stick to it will ultimately come out as being special.
So while we may not all be special, we all have the capability of being special. This is important to remember when failing anything. Failure might be a setup for another failure, but every failure is also a potential setup for success. So really what makes someone special is the realization that they are not special and the drive to change that.
There is no win that comes without a loss, to either yourself or others. For every victory there is some form of sacrifice that occurred to make the victory possible. The best athletes in the world will sacrifice their social lives, future career potential, and their daily comfort just so that they can win.
Most entrepreneurs will fail on average at least four times before achieving success. The biggest losses come when we are incapable of accepting the reality of loss in the creation of victory. A perfect example is in a relationship if one partner is incapable of accepting a loss. The obsessive need to win can destroy a relationship because compromise is a form of mutual loss. For a relationship to “win” there must be mutual loss.
Our primary perception of victory comes from human competition but this isn’t necessarily the best model to portray victory. This model of victory and loss does little to demonstrate balance of priorities. Instead of teaching our children that they can achieve certain things if they sacrifice other things, we teach them that they must simply be better than others. The other problem with the traditional model of victory and loss is it does a sore job of explaining that time sacrifice can possibly compensate for genetic inefficiencies.
The idea of sacrifice applies to the entire human race as well. All victories we have made as a race have come at some kind of loss. Almost every choice we make is on some kind of sliding scale and as the times change the scale size may vary but the scale never stops existing. It is important to realize that everything has a cost and we must understand the sacrifices we will need to make in order to achieve victory going forward.
What separates a homeless person from an ultra successful CEO? Why is your girl friend or wife acting a certain way? Why despite your greatest efforts are you failing?
The answer to all of the above is we are all seeking to be valuable. How valuable you become to both yourself or society is based on your personal discrimination of value. Value is not restricted to simply money, it can be fame, power, or the greater good. Even the greatest act of charity is a selfish act, because you wish to make the world better for yourself in order to increase your value.
Even the person who appears to do nothing, watches TV all day, and by everyone’s standards is a complete failure is in a process of attempting to increase their value. In the case of what appears to be complete failure, it is because their discrimination of value is so skewed that they believe their incorrect choices are the ones capable of bringing them the most value. For instance when faced with watching TV or doing work, a person might choose to watch TV because they believe the happiness they will derive from that is far greater then the happiness they will get from doing work, the value proposition is incorrect in most cases because doing work could lead to more freedom down the road which in turn would lead to more value then simply watching TV.
To determine why anyone does anything you must first figure out what a person finds value in or the immediate value they are seeking. This can often be a complex and daunting task, but sometimes it is very simple. In fact the more incorrect the discrimination of value is, the easier it is to determine. The reason for this is that failure is more common then success, and success requires one to change their discrimination of value regularly based on changing circumstances. So what a successful person will be doing tomorrow is much less predictable then what a failure will be doing tomorrow.
Having spent time with very successful people, the common trait I have discovered among them all is that they change regularly. The world is constantly changing, and the choices they make to bring value to themselves change regularly. It doesn’t stop at business decisions, they will even modify their ideals of how the world functions in order to be successful. If you’re having a hard time bringing value to yourself it is because what ever you believe had value no longer does. The horse whip maker who continued to make horse whips after the car came out would of eventually lost all their value if they decided to be immovable in their value discrimination.