This is SEASON 1, EPISODE 7, and in today’s episode we’ll talk about life being a game and if you could cheat at it, would you? — using your inner power of creation to bond with your teenage kid, and what is the meaning of life, in one sentence.
Warm welcome or welcome back. Today we’re going to talk about something very, very interesting, it’s “if life it’s a game and if you could cheat at life, would you?”
So a lot of the times we want to skip to the finish line because nowadays we live in an environment of instant gratification; so we don’t have the patience that it takes to make something great. It’s very easy for us to fall into the misconception that if we could only get there already we would be happy — and this is just my opinion about what life is about because it makes sense to me based on my experiences and what I’ve learned from other people. In one word life is about experience. It’s about the experience, it’s about the journey, it’s about your story; if you were to write a book today, would anybody read it? — how interesting would it be? can you keep somebody’s attention? — or is it just “I had a dream and I just accomplished it”?
Right? Awesome! — you know that that’s not a book that’s going to sell very well.
So I think that once we get confronted with the question or the possibility of just getting to the finish line and you really think about it, you really start to focus on what is important to you and how much would you appreciate it if everything would just hand it to you; life would lose its meaning. So let’s talk again about experience: what experience is more valuable? — and I’ll give you a couple of comparisons, hypothetical comparisons here. If you have a doctor, somebody that his parents were doctors, so he wants to make his family happy, he wants to make his family proud, so they became a doctor as well. And this doctor went through the journey of life and just studied really hard, he went to school for like a total of 20 years, from elementary school all the way to getting his doctorate’s degree, he saved many lives, he changed many lives; but he stayed in the same geographical area is whole life and the only experiences that he had were of local people. You get it, so his entire life was just reduced to this area. On the other hand, in contrast is a backpacker, in Africa or Europe or Asia, you know, whet everywhere, your imagination is the limit. This backpacker, he didn’t go to medical school, he just barely finished high school and decided to just go on an adventure backpacking through Europe; he never held down a regular job, he would work odd jobs just to make money for his next meal ticket or train ticket to the next country he wanted to visit, and he had a chance to experience different cultures and different people; but he never knew responsibility, he never had a family, he never settled down anywhere.
At the end of both of their lives, at the end of the game, which life do you think was more valuable? — If we could equate value with experience, which experience is better? which one of them accomplish more? Which one of them the doctor or the backpacker? The one that saved a lot of lives, or the one that experience life?
There’s no right answer because they’re both right and they’re both valuable in their own rite. It all depends on what you think, what you want from your from your own life, and at the end of your journey what do you want to say that made it all worth it?
So when you’re starting a business, I talked previously about getting rid of the measuring stick that it’s useless — I mean, it has its uses but far in between, it does give you a sense of your place in the world, where you’re at — because you’re comparing yourself to other people, if we live in isolation we would be denied that and not have a full understanding and how far we have come or a perception of progress. Again my business is real estate investing, so as the new guy in the group, you get all fired up and all pumped up and, every time you come out of a meeting, you’re ready to take on the world; you’re ready to take on four or five properties, or you want to have an apartment complex, and you just want to get to the finish line. And if you have a good mentor, your mentor will slow you down; and I will say, first you have to figure out what does a deal look like. The analogy for that is whenever you’re buying a new car, or used car that’s new to you; you’re looking into its safety features, how many doors I want, how strong do I want the engine, towing capability, a roof rack I don’t know – if it can fit 6 people, four people, two people — it’s up to you and you do so much research on this car. You’re like “man, I want something original and something that’ll fit my needs, and something that that I’ll be proud to be driving and that will still be cool in like 5 years — I’m going to get a car that nobody else has and I’m going to be the coolest person at work!”
When you finally buy that car you notice that a lot of people are driving the same car and you say: “how did I not notice these people before?” It’s because you weren’t looking for them. What happens is that you train your mind to pick up on those details and to look for certain specifications. The same thing is with houses, you look for a house that — I don’t know, it looks like it needs some TLC, some tender loving care, it has newspapers in the driveway, maybe a sticker on the window, or overgrown grass. You know, those are just some indicators that it’s possible that the person that owns a home doesn’t want it anymore, so it may be a good investing opportunity. But when you’re buying a car you think that nobody else has, that you want it, and then all sudden everybody has it and it’s not so special anymore. Perception, again perception is what creates your true reality.
I’m going back to life is a game, a lot of people within our circle have made the analogy that they played Monopoly as a kid — like probably you did when you were a kid — I don’t know, maybe you play now with your kids, it’s a great game, Monopoly. But nobody ever told them that Monopoly was just a game. So when they grew up and became professional they did exactly that, without thinking about what could go wrong, or why this is a bad idea; they went out, they bought a house, and then they bought another one, and then another one; and then they sold those houses and bought a hotel, not really a hotel but a little apartment complex, or fourplex, you get it.
The idea is that nobody told them it was a game, so they didn’t have the mental barriers that we develop as adults; those fears of insecurity, because everyone around us is telling us: “get a secure job, get something with good benefits, that has a pension program that contributes to your 401k.” There’s an expression that says that: if you’re looking for money, ask for advice; if you’re looking for advice, ask for money.
So everybody has their own opinion about what’s risky and what’s not, and in my opinion ignorance is risky and that’s why it’s so important to learn everything you can. Learn about anything and everything; every person that you interact with, assume that they have something they can teach you. So if nobody told you that Monopoly was a game, what would you do?– you would live life as if it was a game. And that was my original point, that life is the greatest, highest definition, ultra-realistic, 5D game that humanity will ever know. I know that’s a bold statement but I’ll stick by it, and probably by the time something better than life comes out, I’ll be long gone.
So art imitates life or life imitates art I don’t know which one is right, you get the message; and thinking of it in a sense that it’s a game using Monopoly again if you were to just start the game and already have Boardwalk and Parkway — which, if you ever played Monopoly know exactly that I’m talking about the most expensive properties in the board game — and you could just automatically have hotels set up all across the street; that whole strip was yours and anybody that would land anywhere would go automatically bankrupt because they couldn’t afford your rent prices. Now, how much fun would that game be if you were the only one that could do that? — or if everybody could do that? If you didn’t go through the struggle of finding one house or buying one property, and then buy another one, and then getting the monopoly set of all three properties or four properties of the same color; so you can finally put a little house and so on and so forth; until you get to that rush, that feeling of success, when you finally put your first hotel. I bet it wouldn’t be that much fun.
So if you wanted to be a chef or you wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer and you had the opportunity to just jump to the finish line, when confronted with a possibility, my first impulse is to say: “yeah I would!” — because I’m not a masochist, I’m not out to enjoy pain — but then after reflecting upon it a little more you realize that the things that you appreciate the most, are the ones that cost you the most. I’m not talking about money, I’m talking about effort and patience: writing a book, building a house, building a car, building a career, building your business.
The things that take time are the ones that we appreciate the most and that we are the most proud of. That’s a reason why we’re proud of our kids, because we see them growing up and from their struggles in the beginning you’re able to see their progress up until they’re adults, and hopefully when they’re adults they can fend for themselves and then you did a good job; it’s the end of the game.
So kids get it, and it’s one of those things that as we talked about a little bit ago: assume that every person that you meet has something they can teach you. This is especially true for children and elderly people and one of the things that my grandfather taught me was: if a child or an elderly person wants to speak with you, listen.
I don’t know if this could be for different reasons; it could be because just by a simple fact of you listening, you make their day and you lighten up their world; and it means so much more to them versus the little effort that it costs you just to listen. Or it’s the opportunity of a lifetime to learn something that otherwise you would have never found out!
One of the things that make people great as individuals is our power to create, our ability to build something out of nothing; to have a dream, to envision it, to plan for it, and build it. That is tapping into ancient knowledge inside of us, in our inner self, or our collective consciousness of the people that have done it before us. That power to create could be the only thing that you need to bond with your kid or with your teenager. Going through puberty and through your teenage years is extremely stressful for everybody, everybody believe me. So keep in mind that while you’re trying to be a parent, the teenager is going through a lot of struggles that he or she don’t even understand yet, and can’t even articulate what it is that they’re feeling and how to ask for help. Try using the power of creation. Simply put: build something together.
If you have problems bonding with your teenager, seek professional help, alright? I’m not licensed to give you professional advice, I’m just sharing with you what has worked for me and what I’ve seen time after time work again and again. My brother-in-law, he started a program with at-risk kids or young adults, in which they were the ones that were having problems in school; and so what he did was he organized a space where he and the kids could work and borrow their power tools. So what he did is he built a boat, not a boat, he built a canoe from scratch; this is something that is one of his hobbies and now he’s a professional rower but it didn’t start that way; it started with wanting to help and what he did was amazing for these kids because he gave them a sense of purpose, a very clear picture of what they need to do and what they’re going to get when they get there. He gave them something clear that anybody could understand and their lives come completely changed. So to repeat that result in your own life, do something together with your teenager. If he’s a boy take him to Home Depot, choose a project. Sometimes Home Depot has their own classes where they will fix a broken pipe, or patch a wall, or build a wall; I don’t know, it varies from store to store — and if she’s a girl, you know, take her Home Depot, too — they’ll probably still have a great time there, or if not, go to a craft store.
I mean, the possibilities are endless you just have to open yourself up to exposing them to different things because they don’t know what they don’t know; and neither do we as adults. Like I said, I would make it a point to be a lifelong learner; everyday I make a point to learn something new, to experience something new, and you never run out of things to learn about. Now if what you want to create with your teenager or young adult is a business, then that is also a fantastic idea! Whatever you want to do just do it together, it’s not something that you tell them “go outside and build something!” it doesn’t work that way.
You have to show them how and even if they’re not motivated to do it, figure out a way to get them out there: “I need your help, I need a spotter; I’m going to do it, you don’t have to do anything, you just have to make sure I don’t get electrocuted or cut myself or hurt myself — put the phone away! I need your full attention because my safety depends on it”
That’s just an idea to then get them involved. They don’t know if they’re going to like the experience until they’re there and that’s just how human beings function; you don’t know what you don’t know. I can tell you that as a kid I never thought it was that big of a deal to think and get money one way or another to buy stuff like — I don’t know back then it was cassettes — you know, if you wanted to buy a music cassette you had to figure out how to get the money. So we will do car washes, and I’m not talking about organized car washes, and by “we” I mean sometimes my brother and me, sometimes I do it myself. I’d go house to house asking them if they wanted their car washed for what would be today 10 bucks. This is something that is your choice, I mean, I’m just giving you ideas, okay? So if your kid — I see a lot of videos of where kids are entitled and it’s pretty funny to me… probably because they’re not my kids — but if they want a video game, or a system, or spending money, whatever the case may be, you don’t have to give them that money; just show them how to get it. It’s not hard for somebody to start a business in America. The easiest thing to do in America is to start a business and I’m not going to talk about legal ramifications and business structuring I’m just saying going out and doing it!
Kids have it right, life is a game, play at the game. You need money? Go figure out how to get it! You can go to a neighbor’s house: “hey, I’ll cut your yard for 10 bucks” – “hey help me out”. Somebody would say: “man $10 for a car wash? are you kidding me?”
But if you are a teenager trying to make it on your own you say: “look, I’m trying to raise money to buy a PlayStation and I am going to work for it. I’m going to earn it so, yeah you could take your car to an automatic car wash for five bucks, but I’m going to do it by hand, and I bring my own tools, and all I need is a water faucet from your yard and I got the rest of the stuff and I’m going to hand wash your car and you’ll be helping me out”
See? now he’s not asking for handouts, he’s just asking for an opportunity. The same thing can be done with cutting yards or grocery shopping, the possibilities are endless! So you don’t have to give your kids “fish” all the time, but you should teach them how “to fish”. Now if they don’t want to do it, then that’s that’s a different story.
I recently read a study that said that the new generation, Generation Z, more and more of them — and these are young adults going from 16 to maybe 21 years old, so they’re after the Millennials — more and more are opting to start their own businesses, to work from home, or the spirit of entrepreneurship of finding a need and filling a need. So what this means is that our workforce, our landscape, is changing and we need to change with it. So you either keep up with the times or get left behind. Thank you!