Saturday, February 15, 2014

In Order to Get Rich, You Must Know Your Edge

"You can have virtually anything you want. But you can't have everything you want." - Ray Dalio, Principles

Hello everyone.
Lately, I've been thinking about what's been holding me back from achieving my goals - more specifically, my financial goals. Ever since I began investing at 20, I've wanted to be rich. And to achieve that aim, I've tried a wide variety of money making tactics that include investing in the stock market, blogging, trading options, selling real estate, and playing poker. 

In a few months, I'll be 31, and I realize that I no longer have vast expanses of time in front of me to achieve my goals. As I reflected on this fact recently, I decided to figure out what I perceive my greatest flaw to be and correct it. I have discovered that my greatest flaw, in my attempts to become a millionaire over the past decade, is not having a plan. 

Not having a plan has led me to giving up on things that will work in the long-term if I just persevere and has also led me to stick with things that are unprofitable far longer than I should have. If I had created a plan to get rich 10 years ago, I would certainly be in a different financial station now. But by trying different things in order to get rich during my 20s, I have learned what my competitive edge is. It's lawyering, personal financial advising and coaching, and finally, writing.

In life, everyone has a certain area in which s/he naturally excels. As a result of an educational background where I was required to read and write a lot, in addition to my natural affinity for the written and spoken word, my particular area of excellence is communicating. More specifically, simplifying complex financial and legal topics and advising people on them. But instead of seeing this earlier in life and running with it, I turned to poker. 

I picked up poker just before law school. All throughout law school and for three years after, I've used poker as a means of earning income, with varying success. What drew me to poker is the very tangible aspect of the way you earn your money. The money you make literally sits right in front of you in the form of chips. I was also drawn to the concept of an exceptionally large payout being made with a minimal/limited investment, as is the case with tournament poker.

There are certainly other aspects of poker that I enjoy, such as the social element, the intellectual challenge, and the fact that being able to play excellent poker seems like a low-grade superpower. Most importantly though, the concept of receiving a large lump sum of money all at once greatly appealed to me. That potential six or seven figure lump sum payout is poker's primary draw for me.

Over the course of the past few months, I've heard my intuition telling me that despite my best wishes, if I continue to play poker in hopes of winning a tournament, I'll drive myself to the poorhouse. I'll never be Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, or Jason Somerville, and nor do I aspire to. I've come to  accept that not playing poker doesn't mean I won't reach my financial goal of being a liquid millionaire by December 31, 2016. It just means that I will achieve it using a different method. And that method will be through the skills that I have acquired through years of studying and training. It will be through using my competitive edge. 

From all of the successful people I've studied, all of them got that way by operating within their sphere of competence. Not by forcing a square peg into a round hole. If you want to get rich, you have to do what comes naturally to you and what differentiates you from everyone else. Until next time...

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