Rule #123: VEGAS Baby
I have recently returned from a Thanksgiving trip to Vegas with my family. I have been to sin city many times over the years but its only been on my most recent trips have I gained prospective on the city and its role in my life.
I like Vegas a lot. Its basically an adult play group catering to virtually every vice a man could dream up. Its a Disney World of E-ticket rides ( dating myself a little with that reference- google that one kids) where gambling is mixed with roller coasters and strip clubs. What always attracted me to NYC and Vegas was the 24 hour lifestyle, Anywhere you can get good Chinese food a 3 am has it charms.
But what I realize now after about 30 visits is that Vegas is a life lesson. It is a experiment in what is possible in our life and like life what you get out of Vegas is from a mixture of self restraint and risk taking. Vegas offers all of what life offers but in a convenience of a one town shopping experience. Because its all there- sex, drugs, gambling, entertainment, food and drink its impossible to imbibe in all of it and stay alive. You must make choices.
Vegas requires a personal philosophy and a plan. Like life it can be enjoyed by yourself, with a significant other or in a group- you choose. And since Vegas has the ability to consume the wealth of billionaires you have to budget your time, energy and money to successfully survive it. Vegas isn’t a place it a state of mind.
Since experiences are all so abundant and assessable it is important not to try to live there or stay too long , or you will be consumed by the limitedness of it all. I’ve considered buying a property in Vegas, but quickly realized that lacked the personal discipline to drive by the casinos without wandering through them too often. I admire those that can do it, I’m just not one of them. Vegas to me is and will remain a 4 night town- the perfect lost long weekend. 3 nights give you too little time to embrace it, 5 nights begins to corrupt your soul and your bank account.
People make the mistake of using Vegas as the place for bachelor or bachelorette parties – what you should be doing is taking your significant other there for 4 nights. By the end of that 4 nights you will truly know who you are marrying.
If they are an alcoholic, or drug or sex addict you will find that out within 48 hours. Trust me you will know if they have problems with these vices pretty darn quick.
The subtler observations will come over the 4 days. Do they choose things that you both can enjoy, are they capable of managing money, and can they plan activities. It will show you quickly what type of life partner they will be, and reveal their personal priorities in life.
The big reveals will come when you are exhausted and had to stand in lines, go to the ATM more than you wanted or dealing with hangovers. The moment when Vegas wears you down and pulls your arm behind you back and makes you scream uncle will be a telling time. It will show character- do they rise to the occasion and remain attentive and loving under pressure. If you still like and love each other after 80 hrs in Vegas your relationship will last.
Vegas is life in a pressure cooker with all the distractions and challenges life will throw at you supercharged into a few hours. You will either cook into a nice meal, or explode. It has the opportunity to define character.
Finally Vegas teach you one of the most important lessons – life isn’t about winning its about surviving an enjoying the moment. Life is hard, and often the result unexpected despite the best system applied against the house. The house always wins.
The lesson is that is about the ability to find joy in the moment- the show, the dinner or even losing at the craps table- joy is there if you value the experience more than the win. In life no one gets out alive in the long term, and in Vegas no one wins in the long term. Its who you are with and how you play the will determine your joy.
Be safe, be smart and visit Vegas.