Traveling in Time

This is the part 2 of this story:

Fakes and Flakes and Why They’re Grrreat! Making Deals in the Frosty Heart of LA


Time travel.  It’s something that we do all the time, whether we acknowledge it or not.

I used to talk about future events as if they already happened. I talked up a huge game, as if I was this successful person who had it all.  In fact, I had nothing.  I was just blowing up smoke and mirrors.

But here’s the thing.  I didn’t know I was blowing up smoke and mirrors,  I was just delusional, living in the future.

Have you read the book, The Secret?

I have.  I even watched the movie.

It says to envision the future.  Visualize it and it will happen.

I did just that.  I envisioned my future.  I thought it was so real, that I began to live as if I was there already.  Much like the future gold medal Jamaican Olympian athlete who had not even gone down to the consulate to even begin discussions of his position, I once lived in a delusion of grandeur.  However, I just didn’t know how dangerous it truly was to live like that, until I encountered the backlash that came with it.

Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, everything we do and say is part of our personal brand.  Part of who we are.  Part of what we become in this world.  Whether it be a snarky comment on someone’s Instagram, a comment on a blog post attacking the author, or even a derogatory comment against someone else, everything reflects who we are.  Even when we discuss events in the future, that have yet to occur.

An example of a past event that really indicated that I was as delusional as they come, is when I was working in real estate.  I had 25 investment properties lined up, $7.5 million of Florida real estate, where the deals were signed and everything was done.  We were a day away from having the commission checks to be issued.  Actually, I was celebrating this a month prior to everything closing when I just got the 1003’s filled out.  I was telling everyone I was going to be rich.

I was certain this deal was to be completed.  I was to earn $50,000 in commission once the deal was out of escrow and funded.  I was on track to earning that month after month.  However, much like with everything else that I visualized and celebrated for before it were to actually occur, something would go always wrong and it would fall apart.

There were so many Lamborghinis and CLS 500 Benzes I wanted to buy, which I was never able to, because the market changed on me overnight.  I had the initial traction.  I had the contracts signed.  But boom, the economy shifted. Bear Stearns went down in a fire sale and everything just stumbled apart.

These are the things that happen in life, when you depend on a person, a bank, a government entity, or even the market rate to determine your future.  When you start to talk as if these things are already happening, if something out of your control changes, it’s all over.  Look at Bill Ackman.  He bet $1 billion against Herbalife, then issued them a “death blow”.  Instead of the stock faltering, it raised 25%.  Now even though he runs a billion dollar hedge fund, he looks like a fool.

My friend Thomas works in import/export.  He is another great example.  He has been working for a whole year on an Iron Ore deal, where he sourced out a mine in Mexico that had intentions to ship the raw material to China.  He had everything signed and was waiting on the money transfer to finalize.  The deal was for nine figures and would continue on for decades.  The bank delayed something for a week.  In that week, something drastic happened.  If you’ve been keeping up with the price of iron ore lately, you have probably seen that the prices have dropped significantly, to the lowest that they have been at for the last 20 years.

He went from having a potential residual million dollar income to being left with absolutely nothing, overnight.  If he had even thought of bragging about what he was going to do before it actually happened, then anyone who even communicated with him after that point would have considered him to be a liar.  Much like how I bragged about what I did in the past, I was considered to be a liar, hence why I had to start over in making my own personal friends and associates.

Luckily, I learned from my mistakes.  This Olympian though, he’s in his 40’s.  He was trying to pull in young and naive talent to work with him, however I have close to three decades of living in Los Angeles, surrounded by people who tell this story all the time.  Hell, I was even one of these people who used to tell this story, or what people consider to be “faking it until you make it”.

When dealing with so many people who fake it until they make it, such as what I have dealt with doing business in Los Angeles my whole life, I have my guard up all the time.  I don’t take anything anyone says at face value.

Just because you visualize it, it does not mean that you are able to spread the story with others.  When speaking of future events that have not happened, it is not manifesting reality to occur.  Instead, what it does is it initiates Murphy’s Law and turns the tables against you, so that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.  What ends up happening after that is that you come across as a liar, which leaves your reputation tarnished.

If you really want to manifest a reality, keep it to yourself.  Or talk about probabilities and strategy, such as if we do this, then this will happen.  Leave it all up in the air.  Nothing is guaranteed in life, especially your plans for the future.

We are not these almighty and enlightened creatures who know how to predict what will happen tomorrow.  We are just humans, who live each day as they come.  So if you are living in the future of delusions of grandeur, stop time traveling.  Come back to reality where you belong.  Start living in the present, or you will be facing great a deal of disappointment, much like my friend Thomas.  Or even worse, your reputation will be tarnished, like mine once was, or how this “Olympian” athlete’s will be once the world finds out exactly who he is.

Originally posted on Quora.

Leonard Kim is Managing Partner at InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach you how to build your (personal or business) brand, get featured in publications and growth hack your social media following.

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