all formers

thoughts can turn into stone. with the right mentors, passion, and learning experience, that is.  to learn through them is to breathe through them as well.  you can’t just say it and not even let your subconscious mind fully digest what comes out of your mouth.

while having lunch with some associates at an italian bistro down the financial district, one of them introduced me to the realm of stock trading.  i was only 21, never even thought of touching the word ‘stock,’ but that memorable era was apparently the golden age when anybody just started getting filthy rich off blue-chip stocks, .com companies hired and paid highschool students at $20/hour, depressed warehouses and properties in the city turned into mortgage-growing and booming startup offices, and everything that had the letter ‘e’ as a prefix was like the psychedelic drug of the 70s.  e-trade just debuted its own office in the middle of the business district, the commercials were full of stock broker and trading commercials, and the economy, as well as the cost of living, was in very high spirits. 

the gentleman was in his late 20s, indian-american, doing financials, and very enthusiastic about sharing with me his experience with the growing phenomena.   his dad had mentored him with his hobby until trading became a part of him.  he mentioned how some phenomenal teenager developed the trade at a young age, managed to rent a seat at nyse, and took his daily college allowance from every market order he put on every opening bell.  years after understanding that losing was part of the game, i’m pretty sure that the kid had some losing days more often than not.  furthermore, he probably must have come up with the startup money through affluent hookups since neither penny nor small cap stocks give you a seat at nyse in the first place. 

going back to the conversation over white wine and olive oil-soaked bread, the dude asked me to attend a class at merrill lynch to get started.  i ended up reading online messageboards during saturday afternoons, joined virtual stock markets, and did some more researching.  those past couple years probably didn’t draw the passion out of me.  i was still distracted with putting more items in my liability column; i was always out clubbing as my money always went down to the hands of clubs and other disposable forms of entertainment.  my asset column must have even been zilch since every income was going to every usual expense.  paycheck  – (rent/food/gas/lease/credit) expense = no equity for a starving student.        

my dad thought it was that easy.  he put some money in the market, probably didn’t do a lot of research, and ended up losing quite a bit.  some relative lost all of his retirement funds because he didn’t pay close attention to his portfolio.  a former professor had a student who had to quit school because he owed and had to pay back almost a million dollars to a brokerage company.  their names and faces change, but their experiences are all the same.

but nevertheless, some still ran off to their own private islands and a lifetime full of endless golf, lazy mornings and endless hobbies.  their former lives of 9-5 were gone.


a former professor said that you learn a culture by breaking it.  quite true, as a matter of fact.  i’ve broken a bunch just hoping that i learned a lot not to do them again.  maybe i said it wrong; i don’t mind making mistakes in general.  but at least not the ones that make me stupid if i don’t learn not to dig the same hole again and again.   i would give mad propz to a former co-worker who, because of having a work background at pentagon, got assigned to different places around the world.  i just think it makes a big difference on how cultured one becomes after assimilating various cultures from different places.  the open-mindedness is there, the willingness to understand, and the tact of being a people-person.  on a personal note, everybody at least gets a feel of each trait with the right knowledge and molded attitude.  damn right this is cliche, but the word educate does not literally come from being formally educated.  if i’m correct, it’s the latin for ‘drawing out.’  no matter what level you may have attained, the application of knowledge would be meaningless if you cannot apply it to create a better environment for yourself and others. 


a few apprentice years ago, i strongly insisted the waitress to take my order immediately during a team lunch while she was doing the rounds taking orders around the table.  i also wolfed down my soup while the rest were still waiting for theirs.  the rest of the embarassment was history.

now wasn’t that all former?


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