Are You Gambling Or Investing?

Teaching marketing
is a volatile trio
of business, learning and money.
People have an approach to learning
that can go back to high school.
They want their business to show a profit (hurry up!)
and they have certain feelings(issues) about money.

Learning takes time, business has lots of variables
and money issues usually have some urgency to it.

"I haven't had time to do the work 
but I need to make this much by next month."

Sure! Let me go get that magic lamp.

Everyone loves a promise.
People flock to them
like moths to a flame.

We'll always be safe.
We'll never lose.
Risk free...

As a lifelong student,
those promises never do anything for me.
If I don't feel strongly about buying, I'm not buying.
Because I'll be doing the hard work and applying it to my life.

The return on investment
comes at the time of investing.
Not later. That's the bonus.

I try to imagine going
to my English professor and asking
"what kind of ROI
will I get from this
and how fast can I get it?"

Any certificate or degree is just a piece of paper.
That paper tells you time and money were spent.
That's it.  What I do with it decides the value.

I had a friend who was in a band many years ago.
They got signed to a major label 
with a 7 figure advance to make their album.
My friend told me something I never forgot.

He and the lead guitarist
still got up every morning
at 6am for their jobs
power washing gutters.

They'd come home filthy
clean up and go make music.

In my friend's mind, the record wasn't made yet.
So they kept their focus.

When you're in business, you still have to do the fundamentals.
Like making sales, not spending more than you bring in, etc.
But you have to know how long it will take to make a profit.

Some people gamble and some people invest.
Gambling is when you're desperate for an outcome.
Investing is deciding you're in it for the long term
rain or shine.

“The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, 
which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. 
You are arranging what is in Fortune's control 
and abandoning what lies in yours.” 
― Seneca

When I was a kid, I studied piano
under a brilliant man named Marcello.
The first time I went to his house,
someone else met me and brought me
to the waiting area.

That's where all the kids
sat when they waited for their lesson.

Our chairs faced a bookshelf.
stretching from floor to ceiling.
Shelves and shelves and shelves.
Well read? Not a book in sight.
Sheet music? He kept that somewhere else.

We sat and waited for our lesson
and stared at a bookshelf PACKED with trophies.
Scores of them in silver and gold.
I never saw so many trophies in my life.

They were trophies for
music recitals and performances.
Every year was covered going back decades.

I looked closer.
His name wasn't on a single one.
All those trophies
were his students.
He kept his trophies
in another room.

He was one
of the great teachers
of my life.

He never promised me any magical outcomes.
He promised me the best teaching he could give.
But I had to do the work.

I've carried that mindset everywhere I go.
When it comes to learning,
I've never made a purchase I regret. Ever.

Want my secret?

Here it is:
The only
sure thing in life
is you.
Always and forever,
till the end of time.

The best guarantee
is the one you give to yourself.
The one where you guarantee
you'll do whatever it takes.

I'm told that when my great grandmother
lay dying, she waved off her doctors
with the utmost diplomacy:
"Save ME??? You can't even save YOURSELF!" lol

Google can change an algorithm 
and people can lose their business overnight.

Bet on you first and your strategy second.

Learning is a stock with different investment strategies.
There are lots of day traders who try to make fast money.
You'll see them in every industry.

They lead with how much money can be made.
Then they talk about how fast it can be made.
Then they talk about how easy it can be made.
Then they talk about how little risk there is.
The code has been cracked, they created a system, etc.

Some of them actually do make money.
Some of those teachers are probably wonderful people.

I just can't get excited
about learning something
just to make money.

Even if I win, I lose.

What kind of freedom can any lifestyle have
if I'm doing something just for the money?
Freedom is loving what I do or it's drudgery.

Like anything else, there's parts you don't like.
We'd all like to learn by holding books to our heads for 5 seconds.
But as of 2016, that's not for sale.

The success comes from the late nights,
pushing past obstacles
and taking the long view.

I can't willingly devote my best to something
unless I'm willing to lose gladly.

Never bet your future
with any amount you can't afford to lose.

All sacrifices I've made
to get better at what I do
are ones I would do
over again in a heartbeat.

Even the painful ones.
Especially the painful ones.

The greatest investors in the world still lose money.
The greatest athletes still have slumps.

The best learning isn't like Spotify or a DVR.
You can't pick your favorites and
skip over the parts you don't like.

It's learning past your doubts,
in the middle of your chaotic life,
with touches of uncertainty throughout.

Your devotion
is the biggest part 
of every course.

Learning is a lifetime investment.
And your commitment is the guarantee.
Is it "ironclad?"

There is a cost to everything
that matters to me.
I'm willing to pay it
without a single hesitation.

Robert Gibson