Why I’m Cheering for Ron Elkins at the 2016 WSOP
All friendships begin among strangers.
Just moments ago, a stranger came up to me at the Rio, here at the 2016 World Series of Poker. He said some nice things and after exchanging a few pleasantries, I assumed the short conversation had run its course.
Then, right as he was about to leave, he pulled a small piece of paper out of his pocket and showed me something that I found quite inspiring. The man’s name is Ron Elkins.
Now before going much further with the story, let me make it clear that I have no aspirations of winning a bundle of money at the WSOP. I work on the house side. So, I have to live my dreams vicariously through others. Yes, I’m impartial in my writings and coverage. But like anyone, I also cheer for my friends and the people I like.
Ron showed me a piece of paper, perhaps 2 inches by 3 inches. What captured my attention were the words written on the back side of a worn out business card.
Ron explained to mw that about ten years ago, he decided to write down his goals in life. Then, he stuck that list in his pocket. Each and every day since that moment of epiphany, he’s been carrying that piece of paper around on his person, not so much as a reminder because surely he’s memorized his goals in life and ritualized actions that have since become habits. However, the paper does surely provide a constant motivation. Call it a spark that never fizzles. A fire that never burns out.
I suspect we all could use a fire like that in our lives sometime.
When Ron wrote out his goals, he was in a really tough spot. He’d just moved to Las Vegas. But he couldn’t find work. He was one of the victims of the housing bubble and economic crash of 2008. Ron had to make some tough choices, so he decided to move away to Georgia. He’s lived there since 2010.
It’s interesting to look at the dreams and aspirations of another man, even someone you do not know; for within those words perhaps there’s something we all can take from this, about how to focus our own lives and realize a path towards fulfilling those ambitions. No two of us would write the same things if we were presented with the back of a business card and a pen. I wonder, what would you write? What would you write upon the paper when contemplating what will be your life’s pursuits?
Ron was kind enough to share his thoughts with me and by the time I reflected more upon them and talked a bit more about what he’s achieved versus what he still is lacking, I was taught something worth sharing. Even a seemingly trivial moment in a public place, a short conversation between strangers can leave an everlasting impression.
With Ron’s permission, he allowed me to share his goals, which were written ten years ago on that slip of paper. There were/are as follows:
— Win a WSOP gold bracelet
— Live in Las Vegas
— Have a 2nd home in Hawaii
— Take care of my entire family
— Take care of all my true friends
At first glance, I’d say that’s a pretty impressive list. Those are things that many of us would like to do, especially the last two. If pressed, what would be on your list? What would you write?
Someone I did not know named Ron Elkins started out this day as a stranger.
Now, he is my friend. And now, he’s your inspiration, too.