Change Your Stars?

I’m in Reno, Nevada this morning.  Joanne and I joined some friends in Grass Valley, CA and then rode the train up from Colfax to Reno.  Walking through the casinos last night reminded me of the many poorly thought-out ways people try to improve their position in life.  I’d like to think that the people here are just having a little harmless fun – maybe spending $20 in the same way you would ride the roller coaster just for the thrill of it.  And yet I don’t see that simple enjoyment in these people sitting in front of the slot machines hour after hour.  The desperation in their tired faces clearly shows they really do believe that “luck” may smile on them and give them an unexpected and underserved payout. 

What if they spent the same time and money in a direction that had more planning and a realistic chance for success?  What if they had taken the $500 they blew last night and purchased a lawn mower and started a landscape business?  Or if they spent that on a six week course to learn the eBay business model?  Or the tools to fulfill your lifelong dream of being a wood carver?  They could print up some flyers to announce a delivery service for the elderly like my Dad did until he was 88 years old.  The list is endless of real opportunities for “changing your stars.”

No matter how limited our resources, we all make daily choices.  Are you just spending your resources on consumptive living, gambling them away on risky ventures, or investing them in carefully laid out plans for the future you want?  Those decisions you’re making today are setting the stage for where you’ll be five years from now.  If a slot machine or roulette wheel play any part in determining your future, you have likely thrown your chances for a meaningful, fulfilling and profitable life into the wind.

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5 Responses to “Change Your Stars?”

  1. Steve Says:

    I was in a casino once. Once. That was enough.

    I had the same feelings as you, Dan–especially when I saw that some people had credit-card-type cards that they would plug into the slot machines (presumably they had an account of sorts with the casino, and this card accessed their balance?). The cards were physically attached to the person by one of those coiled plastic tethers. It gave me the impression that the people were just plugging themselves into the machine.

    My next thought was that they probably had their retirement checks directly-deposited to their account at the casino.



  2. Cathy Says:

    Speaking of conserving your resources, I listened to your podcast today and you mentioned the possibility of maybe doing a show on free marketing ideas. That’s a great idea that I really hope you’ll do soon.

  3. Robin Says:

    Someone once told me that you can not be creative when you are in the midst of crisis. That is so true. Often when we are trying to get a quick fix to our problems we are in crisis mode so it is difficult to think creatively. I am speaking from experience. But we also must know that quick fixes are sustainable. Gambling is not the route to success…but boy do I wishit was…

  4. Gary Says:

    Robin said “Someone once told me that you can not be creative when you are in the midst of crisis.”

    That may be true sometimes, but “necessity is the mother of invention” — often a “crisis” turns out to be an *opportunity* for those who keep their creative juices simmering. If we can learn to act on a crisis instead of reacting TO it we can (pardon the cliche) “turn lemons into lemonade.”

  5. 48days Says:

    I agree that necessity is the mother of invention — I too have discovered new solutions and opportunities while in crisis. It’s a tough issue because I also believe that my best creativity comes when things are going pretty well and I’m not worried about paying the mortgage. I think we can develop the mind-set to be imaginative and creative — and not wait for the desperate push of a crisis.

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