I’m a horrible gambler. Really I am. I don’t know if this is just something innate within me or has something to do with my Mormon upbringing. Probably both? Either way, I have no business doing business in a casino. That’s why I’ve kind of stopped entirely.
Really, the only reason now I step into a casino is to either get to the buffet, take a shortcut to somewhere else, go see some dolphins or to get secondhand smoke. Sure it sounds like a boring use of a casino (and Las Vegas for that matter), but like I said, I am a horrible gambler. Horrible, horrible gambler.
When I was in college and lived less than an hour and a half from the Nevada border sometimes my friends and I would go quick day trips to Mesquite. No, we wouldn’t go to golf or shop at Walmart. Nor would we go for Popeye’s Chicken either (well, actually Fat Josh would eventually end up there … so I guess that’s half true?). We went for the casino. We went to gamble.
Being a poor college student, I shouldn’t have been there. I hardly had any money and was a tad too dependant on credit cards (but, this is a post for another day … trust me). But, I’d go because I am a sucker for a road trip and my friends were going … soooooo … I went.
Now before you picture me in a casino recklessly playing the Blackjack table, playing the roulette table or carousing general tomfoolery one would do in a casino, know that just simply wasn’t the case. Like, I said before … I am a horrible gambler. I capped myself at $20 for the trip and played until it was gone.
Which generally was in about a half hour.
The remaining night was spent either at a buffet or watching my other friends play. One friend seemed to always win big at the Blackjack table or $200-$300 at the slot machines. I couldn’t understand why he would win so much when I would go away empty handed playing the same games. So what gave? Was it his luck streak? Was he one of those savants that could count cards in slow motion?
It just didn’t make sense to me. I wanted to be that guy. I wanted to win big to help supplement my student debts and McDonald’s addiction. Oh, to be that lucky! It just seemed unfair to me.
Asking my friend for his secret, he told me something that’s stuck with me since and has kind of changed my life. How? His secret? Simply put … “the greater the risk, the greater the reward.”
How did this change me? Well, no, I didn’t all of the sudden max out all of my credit cards, win big and live off my spoils (poolside of course). Fortunately, this didn’t change my gambling habits. In fact, those experiences probably helped me stop them entirely. But, I applied that principle outside of the casino and it’s made a big difference between who was I, who I am now and where I want to go in life.
If I want to live the rewarding life, the truly rewarding life I’ve pictured for myself, than I’ve got to be willing to not just risks to get there. But, greater risks. Sure, there are seemingly safe or smart risks, but you can’t always play it safe. You’ve got to take that defining leap of faith … that risk … that changes everything.
I look back at those moments for me. Sure, before I began my weight-loss journey I took a number of big risks, but I’ve noticed I’ve taken more even so now. I’ve tried to not let fear guide my actions. Whether it was taking risks in my job, fitness or search for love … I’ve had to learn to take and accept the consequences of those risks.
I guess there is a reason why I am writing this post. And, mainly, it’s because I feel this need to take a risk. I feel that itch, that need. I feel that strong urge to put that $200 down on black and accept the consequences. I am feeling that need for that experience of greater success or somber lessons of failure. The excitedly frustrating part is I just know that I can’t NOT do anything. I’ve got to take that risk and the consequences that follow.
I really think that the root of this itch is partly career, partly fitness and partly social. I need to find new adventures that are not just risky, but worth working towards. I need challenges (I mean, I’ve got plenty of challenges, but we’re talking about other kind of challenges here folks) that teach me and help me grow into that person I see that I am. I still feel that there is a gap between those two people (the present and future Josh) and I want to close that gap. I need to close that gap. And, I am.
I guess really what I am saying. I need to take that kind of risk that if I pooped my pants in the middle of a marathon, I’d just keep going and finish that race. That’s the kind of risk I am talking about here …
Do you ever feel that need to take risks? Or more than usual?
Do you like or avoid risk? Do you like jumping into things with both feet or knowing somewhat of what the outcome would be?
Have you ever pooped your pants while running a marathon? … yeah … me either. But, I think about it a lot.