Be A Life Gambler
The conference was over, and I was standing in line waiting for lunch. I was in a hotel/casino in Las Vegas. In Vegas, gambling is the product.
They want you to gamble. They need you to gamble.
There is almost nowhere you can go where there are not flashing lights, smoke, noise and lever pulling with people sitting on stools in front of the machines in the semi dark. Looking for a little luck.
It was a strange juxtaposition between the two groups of people I saw each day. The conference attendees and the people at the machines. They had something in common, and at the same time were at the opposite ends of the pole.
You have heard the definition of luck as preparation meets opportunity. Well, both groups of people had prepared.
We writers had all prepared to come to the same physical location to determine if we could expand our lives. The gamblers had done the same thing. In both groups, people traveled. Some from far away.
Both groups had to believe that what they were about to do would be successful. Both groups had to do work to make it happen.
And that is the beginning of what makes these two groups of people poles apart.
The machine players work at their luck. They have to pull a lever or push a button. And do it again and again. Sometimes it works. There was a picture or two scattered around the casino of the latest winners. You gotta believe that all that money feeding and lever pulling will pay off.
The machine players were alone. One person sitting at a machine in the semi dark, often with a cigarette. Sometimes a couple would be together, but usually, it was a lone person.
First, let me admit that I have never put money into a machine. I don’t get an adrenaline hit off of that kind of gambling. But, even more than that, I don’t want to promote a belief in myself that the universe provides to some and not to others.
So I am already biased. But, then you probably knew that.
But, that doesn’t change the message, because the people in the conference are gamblers too. We are all writers. We gamble that our work will be read, and we will be successful.
And like the machine gamblers, we are often alone. Probably not as often with cigarettes hanging between our lips because I saw only a few people going outside our room to smoke out of four hundred and fifty writers.
But, writing is a thing we do alone. Up to a point.
And now we are really into the differences. Yes, we are working away hoping to make a change in our lives, like the machine gamblers. But, we also hope that what we write helps other people’s lives. Sometimes to entertain, sometimes to teach. We write alone to make a difference to many.
And although we write alone, we don’t make the final product alone. We have to team up with designers, editors, and readers to make our books the best book possible.
At the conference, we learned how to be better writers, better marketers, better friends, and better collaborators. In fact the word, collaboration, was a theme. How can we help each other succeed? How can the gamble — yes gamble — of exposing ourselves through writing bring us, and everyone our writing touches, to a win?
It takes a massive amount of work to be a good writer. And then it takes a massive amount of work to get writing out into the world and into the hands of the readers who are waiting to read it.
Some of it will work. Some of it won’t. Trial and error. What works, what doesn’t. But instead of putting money into a slot, we are putting time, energy, hearts, tears, and skill into it. Writers, like all life gambles, don’t know what the outcome will be.
Yes, the two groups of people are the same in many ways. Gamblers trying to change their lives. One believes in the randomness of luck, and one believes in the process of developing and sharing their skills.
The question is, which group do you want to be in?
Yes, we will never win the lottery if we don’t buy a ticket. I don’t buy lottery tickets, so I won’t be winning one.
But, I do buy that the universe has already provided for each of us to our need. And strange as it may seem, to our willingness to receive.
Yes, yes. I know some people have won the life lottery and have too much money to count. They have a different problem. Will they remain at the machine pulling that lever thinking that there is never enough money for them, or will they reach out and help others find their way.
At the conference, I saw the latter. Yes, some writers make a lot of money. Lots of writers who make lots of money. Who knew? Independent writers. The indies. The outliers. Creating a new system. And they were there reaching out to help, with money, with time, with knowledge.
If you are reading this, you are already in the second group. You have a skill; you have the knowledge, you have a desire to live a full and rich life.
Have faith. Like the seed of a tree that contains what it needs to be a tree, you already possess all that you need to be fully expressed in life. Water and feed it well, and get help. We can’t do it alone.
Be a life gambler. And let me know how I can support you.
Originally published at theshift.com on November 20, 2017.