Message in a Bottle Part 2

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Continuing where we left off… Being average and being great are very far apart in spectrum but very easy for anyone to fall into either of those categories by their decision making process. To recap, we make decisions on a daily basis, many times a day and if you don’t do two things well out of those ten’s or hundreds of lefts and rights that you constantly make throughout the day, you just might fall into that average category.

I say that ninety-seven percent of the population is average. Where do you get that number Ata? Not from some fancy or expensive Harvard study would be my response. If that’s what you are looking for then I suggest you read another blog. My outlook is based on life experiences that always seem to stay constant and consistent from my point of view. I must also tell you, there is nothing wrong with the ninety-seven percent of people who are average. That’s what makes up America, middle America, every neighborhood we can drive into and see work trucks parked outside or on the sides of the road. Nothing wrong with the average American family. We wouldn’t live in a complete society if it wouldn’t be this way.

I need internet at my office and the gentleman who parks his work truck outside his house, the stickers on the doors have a company logo and words that read, AT&T, Comcast, etc… is a needed part of our lives. He lives a happy life, enjoys his family and together with his wife, raise two children. They enjoy attending a few events every year, mostly all the high-school games to show support. Mom and dad live week to week, paycheck to paycheck but have gotten accustomed to that. They both have been been employed throughout the years and after setting up an accelerated fifteen year home loan, their house will be paid in the next two years. Mom and dad have saved in the last twenty years, about fifty thousand dollars but sacrificed many luxuries that they see others have enjoyed. They took a vacation every year as a family and paid off a college plan for each kid.

What I just depicted has been the top of the food chain of the average American family. The average American family simply lives week to week, jumps from job to job, always has a complaint about their boss, cannot afford the electric bill or rent most months, not to mention their kids college tuition. Yet ninety-seven percent of America lives and dies happy this way. Scary for me and hopefully for you too… I like to strive to live my life free of holding back of some of life’s simplest desires. Those desires are a luxury nowadays to many. We get caught up in the rat race and all we do is worry about bills but never enjoy our lives. We have become programmed to live such a life. How did that become normal?

My greatest desire isn’t a diamond pinky ring, no! My greatest desire is one that I work hard enough to get to a point where I can give meaning to my life by giving back. Yes three percent of the population lives financially free but that is not to say the worries go away. Worries will never go away, it’s always something. But life’s excitement is felt and lived from another dimension when you become part of the non average American. It isn’t about the money, once you are able to pay your bills, it’s about your life having a meaning. Everyone is born to leave a unique mark upon the world, everyone’s life has a special meaning and a reason why we were put on this earth. The problem is that most get stuck in the rat race and forget that we all have something that is different from everyone else. Whatever that may be, sharing it and making a difference is living life.

Yes it’s nice to have luxuries like cars, watches, houses, etc… but you will find out the wealthiest people still drive an old truck, wear the same jeans and shirts that feel comfortable to them. Most times the people we see bling blinging and dressed to impress are simply workers of the real “King Makers.” Once we understand the concept that successful people make lots of money but they don’t do it for the money, you might be on the path to a greater understanding and on the way to changing your life. Successful people have fun by enjoying their work, their projects, they work hard to avoid failure. They understand the money always follows when you succeed… Always remember that in the center of being a three percenter is making constant and consistent decisions that are guided by your principals.

Let me share a story with you about blackjack, the moral of the story will be similar to the rules needed to make solid decisions as you go about your day. Don’t ever loose track that everyday we make a string of decisions that dictate everything we go thru. I have always really enjoyed playing blackjack. I count my self a lucky man because I was able to grow up around some of the greatest movers and shakers of the Miami 80’s movement. The men I speak about put their life on the line often during the Regan and Bush “War on Drugs” era and after they came home from accomplishing a successful run, they needed to desperately decompress. Taking a block of cash or two of hundred dollar bills, jumping on a plane to Nassau, Bahamas was nothing to them.

Back in those days Indian Tribes had not been granted special casino licenses and the ships that took you out into international waters, did not exist either. The only options available for those who wanted to gamble and lived in Miami were to go to Nassau, Vegas, Atlantic City or the Dominican Republic. As an adult looking back today, everywhere except Vegas, allowed us kids to be next to whomever was at the blackjack table playing. In fact, I recall one time the guys were playing so heavy that the men instructed me to sit next to them and handed me a bunch of chips to play. The pit boss gave the ok to the dealer and there I was, thirteen years old and playing blackjack with the big boys in the Dominican Republic.

Most of the time the gambling happened in Nassau, either at Paradise Island or at Cable Beach casinos. There would be no playing allowed ever there for me until I was eighteen but standing behind the players was ok so I learned from these men the rules of how they played blackjack. I never learned through any other way than experience. These guys would each gamble $50,000-$100,000 on a vacation as they would call it, but the “vacation” was not the typical, it was mostly being inside the casino gambling. These were true gambling men!

First thing I recall seeing was how they would always pick the first or the last seats at the table. They explained that the last seat was of upmost importance because many times the action of that chair, decided a win or loose for everyone’s hand. They hated when they saw there was a player who obviously did not know how to play on their table. They simply noticed the player breaking all the rules to the game, like asking for a card when the rule says you do the opposite, etc… Secondly, I learned all these basic rules. The set of rules dictate when you ask for a card or not. Third, I learned the objective of the game which is for you to beat the dealer in one of two ways,… by having a higher number or by the dealer busting or going over twenty-one.

Therefore it’s not always your objective to get as close to twenty-one as you can, sometimes staying on a twelve will not only make you a winner but the whole table also wins. All those rules I learned very easy by age twelve, all I had to do now was figure out a way to get experience. There was always someone in our group who was old enough to play and would just be hanging around, I would ask them to sit at a table with my money and allow me to instruct them on how I wanted the cards played. I came up with a tapping system which I would use when standing behind them and they knew if I was wanting a card or staying. I wasn’t into counting cards or anything like that, I just knew the rules and loved the game.

There was one rule that I was taught to play on feeling… When dealer was showing a seven or greater and the player was dealt a twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen or sixteen they did not have a system, they would simply go on feeling or by analyzing the cards that were dealt prior to their last card. Years later as I became an adult an went into casinos myself and continued playing the game of blackjack, I would sit there for hours and sometimes day in and day out. I made several dealer friends and they taught me two rules which I had never learned from the old generation.

These guys decompressed in a casino by taking $50,000-$100,000 to loose and not care because they had just made a lot more than that, I am assuming. Yes sometimes they won big and it was just a thrill, it wasn’t for the money. After a good win, they would take us to the jewelry shop in the casino and buy us jewels, diamonds, colognes, meals, whatever we wanted… When they would loose, nothing really changed except not stopping by the jewelry store and sometimes they still would take us and buy us a Cartier watch or something that was tax free.

Fast forward to my times in the casino, I did not decompress like they did. I played because I enjoyed playing and I do enjoy playing heavy too but my heavy doesn’t compare to theirs. So being taught by my dealer friends several new rules that would help me win more was greatly appreciated. One rule was to ask myself how much money I wanted to win before walking into the casino and have the discipline to get up from the table and leave once you reach that amount. Most times if you will be up an amount and only after staying playing for a prolonged period of time on the table does the casino come back and take the money you were up on them. So again, have discipline by setting an amount and then making sure you get up and go for the day.

The other rule was not to ever play blackjack on your gut feeling. He explained to me that no matter if that particular day or always I took the stance to stay or not to stay on twelve to sixteen when dealer was showing a card greater than a seven, that I kept it consistent. Never go on feeling… If I was going to ask for a card, then every-time I was dealt those numbers, ask for a card. I would win more by staying consistent then by feeling. Again constant and consistent is the key to being greater at everything you do in life. Define your principals and simply make every decision based on those guiding rules to your life!

Next editorial I will begin explaining how G FarmaBrands became one of America’s first cannabis brands. It’s not only about making constant and consistent decisions led by a set of principals. You will also understand how timing is so important in the formula to success but unlike the average, one must be ready to swing the bat when the ball is pitched. An emotion called fear is a huge part of why people never becoming what they could have become. Till next time, travel at God’s Speed!

By Ata Gonzalez

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