The Amway Meeting

The whole week I was dreading the meeting but I said I would go so that was that. I didn’t want to make my sponsor look bad. In hindsight I don’t think it would have mattered to anyone. I was curious though because at the time I didn’t even know I was going to walk into an Amway gathering. Also, having an abundance of time and not ever leaving a 10 kilometer radius makes one restless.

The 1 hour public transit ride to the more affluent side of town wasn’t too bad. The internet instructions made it easy. The idea of going somewhere unfamiliar with unfamiliar people in an unfamiliar setting brought upon a bit of anxiety.

My sponsor greeted me right when I walked into this shoe store acting as a miniature auditorium. With 30 other people in attendance he made it a comfortable experience for me so far as he showed me to my seat.

The speaker of the evening was the leader of the whole crew. A mid-30s man, he quickly dove into the presentation with an auctioneer style of speaking while messily writing on a whiteboard.

Much of the presentation was geared towards how the majority of people have been misled their whole lives on the best ways to make money and to be happy.

“They teach you nothing useful in school”

That statement is mostly true. Not much of what you learn in school is ever used in real life. Everything else as he said was to see how well you could read and regurgitate.

“You can’t say you make $100,000 a year when a significant percentage goes to tax.”

A 6 figure income has become a holy grail in our culture. No one cares how you make it or what you have to do. As far as most people are concerned if you make it then you’ve made it.

He talked about the herd mentality and how people are wired to fit in with their society.

“Why would you spend your life doing things to impress people you don’t even like.”

I wonder if he got that line from the movie Fight Club.

He even quoted Hitler.

“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”

A point was brought up about staying at a job when you didn’t plan to be there forever.

“If you don’t plan to be there forever then why are you still there?”

Some people would say that they need the money. I think his rationale is if you’re not planning to be there forever then the sooner you leave the sooner you will find something else. How does staying any longer benefit your cause?

Other statements he made that I can remember were…

“People who hate people, hate themselves.”

“Many men fail in their goals because of their porn addiction.”

“Every man that I’ve met who couldn’t get it together had some problems that happened with their father.”

His whole idea was to push you towards owning your own business so that you could take advantage of the tax benefits of being a business owner. Ultimately it was to push you towards the Amway model.

Being a semi-cynic I listened but always asked myself if what he was saying had an Amway bias. All of it probably did but most of it was good information and enlightening if you were open to it. I’m not doing his presentation any justice. The comedic flavour and quick facts were brilliant. There’s much that I’m leaving out because I don’t remember everything and don’t want to make this post longer than it already is.

He ended off with…

“Don’t live on your knees. Stand for something. Stand for something.”

There was no money to be made for 5 years. They want you to spend the next 5 years being mentored. At first I actually thought it gave it more credibility because I was told there wouldn’t be any money coming out of my pockets for 5 years either. If they’re willing to spend 5 years working with you for free then there must be something honest about all of this. The idea was that building your self-image is crucial for success.

At the end our sponsors wanted us to meet the cult leader. Everyone lined up to say hi and shake his hand. It was then he pushed the $200 meeting in Washington state.

“If you don’t have $200 you can find it if you really had to. If someone was selling a Porsche for $200 you would walk across the street and break shop windows to get that $200.”

Most people probably didn’t see it as pushing but that’s what I got out of it. At the following and last meeting with my sponsor he made it apparent that these $200 meetings 4 times a year were mandatory. If I wasn’t willing to attend them or the other local meetings then it meant I wasn’t a “good fit for mentorship.” I paid $200 for a ticket to see Metallica next month. I’m excited about that.

 

Amazon Experience and Regret

If you had bought $1000 worth of Amazon stock at its IPO price in 1997 you would have close to $700,000 today. Even if you were a little slow to the game, $1000 at a share price of twice the IPO would have still seen a reward of over $300,000.

In 2003 I enrolled in a semester of college because it deferred my feelings of feeling like a loser…it’s more common than you might think. When you told people that you were going to school it gave them the idea that you weren’t a bum. A “loser” is just a more current term for “bum.”

The price of textbooks were and probably still are extremely expensive. I had heard of Amazon but had never even browsed their website. At that time Amazon was only selling books, at least in Canada. Things can take forever to get rolling up here because no one cares about a huge land mass with a relatively small population.

I happened to find a brand new copy of the book that I needed and it was substantially cheaper than even a used copy at the school bookstore. I paid and it arrived. I wonder if Amazon’s name is derived from the word “amazing” because that’s what I thought about the whole experience. It was a sign! If I had bought Amazon stock at that time in 2003 I would have still made 50 times my money.

I’m talking shit of course because I had no money in 1997 nor did I even know about Amazon or anything about buying stocks. Even if I invested what little money I did have in 2003 I would have sold the stock as soon as it went up 20% which would have just led to me being even more pissed off about life than I have been.

 

Exploring Opportunities

For the past few weeks I’ve been meeting up with this guy at a coffee shop to chat about a potential opportunity. The first time we met he was reading a book and I asked him what he was studying. I thought he was a student. We chatted a bit and then he asked me if I was interested in the idea of a “mentorship.” I can’t say I really was because I didn’t know what exactly what it meant and he wouldn’t elaborate. For all I knew it could have meant taking me to a dark forest with a blindfold and seeing if I could find my way out.

When I quit my last job I decided that I had to be open to opportunities especially if they were unconventional because conventional hasn’t been working out. The last 4 Saturdays I’ve met up with this guy feeling each other out to see if we’re on the same page. This guy is 23 years old but more intelligent and interesting than anybody I know in my age group. We seemed to like each other and by the 4th meeting he invited me to attend a meeting.

At the meeting with 30 other people I spotted these bottles of water that a friend tried to sell me on years ago. Ah, Amway. The presentation was great. The guy speaking had great things to say about money and life in an honest and comedic way. There’s a lot of negativity associated with Amway and similar businesses but I kept an open mind about it. Really, every business is like a multi-level marketing business. In any business someone at the top is making more money than the person “under” them and that person is necessary in order for the person above them to make that money. Everyone’s getting paid to help someone above their position to make a higher income.

Amway obviously works. It’s been around since 1959 so something is working. The end goal is to achieve sufficient passive income which will allow you to not have to work a job. The ones who succeed in this game say their goal in life is to spread the word so that they can help liberate others from the rat race. Not surprisingly it becomes very religious because you have to attend many meetings over the years in a room full of other devotees. Succeeding in this game would be the equivalent of meeting Jesus.

One of my concerns in the beginning was if I had to fork out any money. My guy told me I wouldn’t but at the meeting they were pushing this bigger meeting out of town that would cost $200 a ticket. There’s 4 of these annually that you’re basically required to attend. Are The Rolling Stones going to be there?

Apparently he’s going to be retired by 25 so I congratulated him. His “mentor” retired at 31 a few years ago. Amway’s definition of retirement means having passive income, not having to work a job, not having debt but still growing your Amway business. Today was the last meeting with the guy. We decided it wasn’t going to work out meaning I told him I wasn’t motivated to do it. It was all very cordial. I was pretty certain I wasn’t going to be interested but I wanted to see it through. I don’t feel that it was a waste of time. It was mostly enjoyable and plus I have a lot of time.

 

Snoring

The dog is snoring right now and for some reason coming from her it’s adorable. When a human snores, all that you want to do is put a pillow over their face. A person snoring is like someone playing a trumpet poorly when no one wants to hear it. You give them a break though because it’s supposedly not their fault. Fault or not, in many circumstances in life the person of annoyance has to go or be killed. It’s not some psychopath’s fault that they love to kill people.

In a more uncivilized environment I’m sure the snorers would be the first to die by the hands of their own tribe. You would lay there at night hearing the rumbling and murder would come across your mind. Do we really need him? In the darkness of night no one would see and by morning no one would care. Celebration with silence. Goodnight.

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Caring

Someone caring about you is one thing and how much they care about you is another. Whether they do or not, and how much is a matter of belief. Perhaps there are people who care about me but more importantly to me is what does their caring do for me. When you’re not #1 in anyone’s life then you might as well be tied for 10th place with 5 other people. This is why people go to great lengths to have a partner in their life because in our culture the unwritten rule and assumption is that you will be each other’s #1.

To care about someone is just as vital to one’s existence but the feeling has to be believed to be mutual. Sometimes we may find ourselves in denial so that we can continue the train of caring. Once it stops there’s no steam and nowhere to go. Having only yourself to care about takes you only so far.

Feeling important is almost the same as people caring about you. If no one cares about you then it means you’re not important. If you’re not important then it feels that you have no reason to live. The further we move away from dependence with humans the less motivation we have to care about people.

When desperation kicks in, sometimes the standards are lowered and self-respect is up for sale. What does it matter when the other option is believed to be a life not worth living?

Failed Joke

I just came back from walking the dog at the park and may have made an inappropriate slave joke in the company of middle-aged white women about another middle-aged white woman. I’m not sure if the joke didn’t go over well because of the possible racial connotation or because it was in relation to one of their peers or because of the possible vulgarity of my joke.

This white woman was walking her dog with two foreign teenage Asians. The women stopped and chatted. Later I asked one of the women that I knew if that woman was doing homestay which is having foreign students live in your home in exchange for money. She said she didn’t know.

“Maybe they’re her slaves?” I said.

No one busted out in laughter. What can I say? It just came out. It wasn’t even really funny and I probably shouldn’t have said it. I’m not making excuses but when there’s a conversation that is only good enough to eliminate silence it’s worse than watching a boring TV show because I have to pretend to be interested. Oh well, I swung and I missed. Not my crowd. I’m sure it will happen again. Many might say that no one wants to be around a person like me. I wouldn’t object but the feeling is often mutual so here I am…alone.

 

Hustling

In high school, breaking into cars or taking the whole car was trendy during some years. When we were 13 years old, VT had the reputation of having a lot of cash from cars that he stole that were then shipped internationally. A few years later, still in high school, I came across what I thought was an opportunity to be involved in something similar. Some guy I knew had a stolen Lexus and asked if I had any way of getting rid of it for cash. I kind of put things into motion but I think it was far from ever working out. I learned that in the game of crime it’s not easy to make money without getting your hands dirty. Being a successful middleman is a privileged position. VT ended up running heroin on the streets like many others at that time and was the first one to be murdered.

At my first shitty retail job after high school I sold counterfeit watches that my friend brought back for me from Hong Kong. They were $3 a piece and I sold them for $25 to coworkers and customers. Some bought them because the watches looked nice and I think others bought them as a nice gesture. I thought my product had great appeal and that I was a marvelous salesperson but at the time I wasn’t aware that people would buy things from you just to support your cause. I think a coworker thought less of me when I didn’t reciprocate by purchasing salmon he was selling.

At that same shitty retail job I bought tools at half price and used my employee discount as well. These gear wrenches were a new thing and people on eBay were buying them. After a couple dozen of these wrenches my manager called me into his office. In a clear and stern voice he asked,

“Have you been buying these items to resell?

His boss was upset that I was buying these wrenches at less than cost. I should have answered, “yes” because that would have got me fired but like an idiot I denied it and said I was sending them to my uncle in China who owns a factory. I remained on the payroll to suffer another a year.

The most profitable but most disgraceful hustle in my young age was scalping concert tickets. It happened by accident. I had a 2nd pair of Chris Rock tickets that I was hoping to get rid of for cost. On eBay they ended up getting sold for double! I was like, holy shit. For that whole year I woke up just before certain tickets went on sale and would buy 2 or 4 online. I would research on the internet beforehand to find out which acts had sold out the last time they came into town. Amazingly I was able to sell every ticket at a profit. I wish I could say that I discontinued this venture because of improved morals but it was because I ended up getting a job at the eBay call centre which held me to a certain standard in the eBay marketplace.

This is my way of confessing my sins. Some of them anyway.