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.