Day 17 of 21: Blackjack blues

When I was in my 20s, I wanted to be a hedge fund manager and later own a hedge fund. I was working at a financial services firm, and I wasn’t getting paid much. At some point, I had the idea to supplement my income by playing blackjack.

What inspired that idea? I don’t recall. But I do recall getting excited by it. As I began to teach myself the game, I quickly realized that if I went down this road, I would be a blackjack robot.

Because the system I was learning was all about counting cards. There was no creativity, no artistry, no real judgement on my part. If I did this, I’d just be a robot, mechanically reacting based on the numbers.

And as I began to deeply understand what this meant, I realized that I would be playing blackjack purely for the money. I would not enjoy the actual game, because I would have no real influence. Without the ability to decide, my actions would be automatic. I’d be a robot.

Now, as I said, I wasn’t getting paid much in my job. A part-time blackjack income would have been nice. But in the end, spending many hours in casinos counting cards wasn’t how I wanted to spend my time.

At that time, being a robot just didn’t sit well with me. I needed to gain satisfaction, to enjoy on some level, what I was doing. And having zero input to make a decision would have made me a robot. And that wasn’t acceptable to me, even if the money may have been welcome.

In the end, I decided to pass on playing blackjack. Becoming a robot was too high a price for the extra income.

= = = = = Lessons = = = = =

One lesson I learned from my short study in blackjack was that you had to have an edge. If the house had an edge over you, then there was no point in playing blackjack. But if you had enough of an edge over the house, you could print money.

In the hedge fund, or even money management world, you also need an edge. As I type this, I think about Warren Buffet, one of the wealthiest people in the world. He’s also one of the best money managers of all time. His record is better than most mutual fund and hedge fund managers.

What’s his secret? He has an edge versus the rest of Wall Street. When I was much younger, I wanted to understand how Warren Buffet became so successful. And after reading about his methods, I concluded that how he invested made perfect sense. Yes, he did have an edge versus other players.

Though his method made perfect sense, I also realized it wasn’t the method for me. What I’ve learned is that having an edge isn’t enough. The edge has to be right for each person. And Warren’s method, though wonderful, wouldn’t work for me.

His method was great for his personality. I needed one for my personality.

= = = = = Hypnotic systems = = = = =

And the same goes for hypnotherapy systems. My profession has thousands and thousands of techniques. You could spend many lifetimes learning all these techniques.

Along with those thousands of techniques, I’d say there are at least a few hundred approaches or models of change. But even with fewer approaches, it would still take many lifetimes to learn them all.

In short, when someone says they’ve done hypnotherapy, it’d be more accurate for them to say, “William, I’ve used approach #517 with my last hypnotist. But I’m open to using any of the other hundreds of approaches.”

And just as an investment method needed to suit my personality, the same applies to hypnotherapists and choosing an approach.

Some focus more on helping people with goals. Some focus more on helping people with issues to resolve.

Some focus more on spiritual matters. Others stay firmly rooted in the practical day-to-day world.

That’s why I say if you had 100 hypnotists in a room, and you had a session with each of them on the same issue, you could have 100 different experiences. In some cases, you would think you weren’t even doing hypnotherapy.

Sometimes a client will say, “William, when you were telling me stories and going off on tangents, I thought you were crazy. I thought what does this have to do with me? And I was certain that I wasn’t hypnotized. But as I got up from the chair, I realized was hypnotized. Still don’t understand how the stories relate to me, but I’m now open to the stories.”

That’s the funny thing about hypnosis. Often you can be hypnotized, and you’ll the last one to know. Funny, right?

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