Advice To A Twenty-One Year Old

What Nobody Told Me At That Age

Photo by Mikail Duran on Unsplash

‘So what’s more useful in life? Having patience or being aggressive?’

The twenty-one year old kid looked at me like I was going to give him all of Life’s secrets.

He was an intern at our failed start-up.

I liked the kid. He reminded me of myself at that age. Only smarter and wiser. I always tried to mentor him as much as possible.

But now I was hesitating for a second.

Because both qualities are useful.


Extremes Never Work

There are people who are aggressive all the time. We all know them.

Their eternal aggression scores them some small wins.

But because they’re always fighting every battle, they’re busy when the real opportunity comes along.

I used to be exactly like that as a poker player.

I was in every pot, always fighting until the bitter end. And I won a lot of small pots that way.

But when the big pots came, I was too tired and had to give up the fight. That’s why I never won big.

Aggression alone never works.

Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash

And then there are people who are always patient. I’ve been like that during the last couple of years.

It’s not a bad way to be. At least you’ll never lose big this way.

But you’ll never win big either.

Because you’re so used to being patient, you don’t know how to turn the aggression on when the big play comes along.

You’ll be forever waiting at the sidelines, being too afraid to enter the game.

Patience alone never works either.


Wait And Pounce

So what’s the real answer?

In my view you can’t choose between patience and aggression. You need them both up your sleeve.

Be extremely patient and extremely aggressive at the same time.

Most of the time, say ninety-nine percent, you’re patiently waiting for that one no-brainer. And nothing will happen.

You’re just watching and waiting.

Photo by Wayne Chan on Unsplash

But when the big day is finally there, you’ll have to pounce with every inch of aggression that you have in you.

You can’t have second doubts. You just do what you have to do.

That’s how you achieve anything in this world. That’s the secret.

By combining extreme patience with extreme aggression.


Love And Games

It’s how I trade now.

I haven’t been in a really big trade since the end of December ’17. I was just patiently waiting for that no-brainer.

And now, I’m almost sure I found the one. It’s time to pounce, so that’s what I’ll have to do.

The universe rewards patience. I agree with that. But you have to reap it yourself.

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

It works for love too.

I’ve been waiting patiently for years. Maybe too patiently, according to some.

A seventy year old friend of my mom, always a bit inappropriate when tipsy, never understood how a guy like me could be single.

She concluded I had to be gay.

But no, I was just patiently waiting for the one. And when I found her, I didn’t hesitate.

I went all-in. I did what I had to do.

And it worked out amazingly.


I don’t think my intern got a really good answer.

Back then, I was still struggling to find the right balance between aggression and patience.

But now, I have no trouble answering that question: Don’t choose between patience and aggression.

You need both.

Life favours the bold, but only when they’re patient.

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