In terms of playing blackjack, the month of November was my worst month. I wasted very close to $1000 by chasing my money at the table, doing really stupid things, ignoring the fundamentals, and not having any discipline. It has become a very nasty habit of mine, and it will no doubt be highly destructive if I do not address it.
On one of my freelancing jobs, I had not heard from the person who was giving me assignments for a long time. However, I was still able to put time in. And I needed the money. So I very foolishly put in time, thinking that if it was a negligible amount, nothing bad would happen. A few days ago, I got an e-mail from the person, demanding that I explain what happened. Apparently, they found out about what I was doing.
So how did this happen? The answer is twofold. First, I was desperate, and being desperate tarnishes any decision. Do not make decisions in a desperate state of mine. The second is a trait that my desperation tarnished: Curiosity. I will refer to this as “toxic curiosity” from here on.
Curiosity, for me, can lead to do some amazing things. I started my blogs out of curiosity. I got some money together, bought about three years of hosting, and here we are. And now, I figure because I do so much writing in my blog, I may as well write a book. I have begun to write it, and intend to self publish it by July. I have gotten jobs in my life because I was curious. Its how I got my last job, and how I got my freelancing jobs. Nearly all of my achievements in my life have been due, in large part, because I was curious.
When I’m curious, and it isn’t tarnished by desperation, I ask all the right questions: “What if this takes off?” “What if I like this?” “What do I have to lose?” “What can this lead to?” This leads to me doing some great things, it is one of the top qualities one can have when they decide to develop a love life. When you have a curious mindset, you become innocent like a child again. After reading this, pay special attention to two beings: Animals and kids. Look at how they are (usually exploring) without any concern for consequences. It is a wonderful thing to see.
Ask yourself: What are some things you can do with no real consequence, and what is preventing you from doing so? Are there any circumstances where you can act like the kids and the animals around you? It would behoove you to rediscover the innocence of curiosity because when you do, it opens up whole worlds of possibilities for you. Some of the most successful people had to be curious about doing certain things, just to see what would happen, if it really would fail like everyone says. Curiosity leads to taking risks which leads to either amazing things happening or detrimental things.
And that is where just a little bit of reasoning comes in. If the risk is very low, then there is nothing stopping you from being curious about something and then deciding to do whatever it is you want to do. When I began this blog, I spend just about $300 on hosting. And I have this domain until 2020. So my risk was very, very low going into this. If I do not make any money from this blog, it makes no difference. I at least have created something that I can be proud of.
Freelancing cost me literally nothing to start up. All I had to do was make a profile on Upwork and I was good to go. Within weeks, I was doing some freelance work, supplementing my job. There was literally no cost to me, save for time.
When it came to playing blackjack, at the time, I had plenty of money to waste. So my reasoning was that if I learn the fundamentals of blackjack and some of the techniques that people who play blackjack for money possess, what harm could it possibly present?
These decisions have all gotten me to consider very seriously about developing a lifestyle that revolves around my own individual freedom. Discovering blogging, freelancing, and in some aspect, blackjack, finally provided a way for me to actively pursue the independence and freedom that I have been obsessing about since my late teens. My curiosity showed me that there indeed is a way to make a living without punching a time clock.
However, as I mentioned before, curiosity has a dark side. At the core of toxic curiosity is desperation. When someone becomes desperate, and they become curious about something, it leads to very bad decisions. And that is because many of the same questions are asked: “what if this works?” “what if I can get away with this?” “what do I have to lose?” These questions are very much the same as the questions you ask when you are curious about anything.
The only difference is if you are toxic curious, you answer these questions with the same rationalizations. And that is why it is so tricky to micromanage toxic curiosity. It is so similar to innocent curiosity that it is often very difficult to distinguish.
And like I said at the beginning, toxic curiosity has led to some pretty nasty predicaments. And yeah, the chances are good that I’ll be able to get out of said predicaments, they will not last forever, but the fact remains that I got into these predicaments because of very stupid decisions that I made.
So now the burning question must be asked: How does one micromanage toxic curiosity?
Making a vow to never be curious about anything again is not the way to do it. Curiosity is one thing that keeps us youthful. It is probably what kept me youthful. Its what gets us accidental success and what makes us keep pursuing success. When you are curious, you are driven.
The answer to this question lies at the core of toxic curiosity. And that is desperation. What happens when you are desperate? Two things happen: First, you stop looking at things logically. You get focused on an outcome and even worse, short term happiness. The quick fix is what every desperate person wants. Second, you begin making very stupid rationalizations for getting said quick fix. This is exactly what happened to me the last couple of months.
To conclude, before you make a decision you are curious about, ask yourself these questions:
“What do I have to lose, both in the short and long term if I do this?” If you have literally nothing to lose or if you have determined that your losses are negligible, (except time, we always lose time), then do the thing you are curious about doing.
“Am I desperate for something right now (money, company, sex)?” It is alright to answer yes to this, as we are usually desperate for one of these.
“What can I do to get the thing I am desperate for without risking anything major in the long term?” Sometimes this just involves patience.
If you are desperate for something, but the thing you are curious about involves virtually NO risk on your part, then do the thing you are curious about.
Always think in the long term. Never forget that actions have consequences, and if you are desperate for something, you will not make the right decision in the long term. You will only think in the short term and you definitely will not think about consequences. This is when curiosity becomes toxic; the only time you should be curious about something is if you are not desperate.