Ping-Pong Moments

 

As mentioned in my previous post , The Best Investment I Have Ever Made ,  I met the two most life-changing people I know when I hit one of them with a ping-pong ball.

I retold this story to a close friend, Jake , yesterday evening remarking that I wouldn’t have ever properly introduced myself to T.K if I hadn’t previously hit him with a ping-pong ball. This was due mostly to my being super introverted.

When he said something that I find quite profound if not totally hilarious if taken out of context.

“Sometimes you just need those ping-pong moments.”

Depending on the context this can mean three different things and I love all of them.

In the context of our conversation it meant that sometimes you need to “hit” someone. You have to commit an action that directly or indirectly leads to you having a conversation with them. In my case, it was literally hitting him but it could have been commenting on a book or accidently bumping into him in the elevator.

Another way it could be interpreted is that you need to metaphorically hit someone. We have a tendency to place people in a position of authority as somewhat untouchable which can make it a million times harder to talk to them. I broke this veil of superiority (constructed within my own mind) with a literal action but it’s relatively easy to shift your mindset and see them as just another human being. This experience has really helped me realize that ninety-nine percent of finding new opportunities is introducing yourself and being genuinely interested in getting to know the person.

The third way I’ve interpreted it (and my personal favorite) is that sometimes the smallest most random actions can lead you to the most spectacular things. A Facebook ad here, a ping-pong ball there and all of a sudden I have an awesome network of friends. An entire group of people who are constantly inspiring me to grow and improve.

Life is full of ping-pong moments; all you have to do is seize them. And sometimes all you really need to do is be comically awful at ping-pong.

Note: If I hadn’t had the skills and drive that I do then my conversation with Derek and T.K would have been empty and gotten nowhere. A ping-pong ball is of no use if you don’t have a table or paddles.

The Best Investment I Have Ever Made

In March 2016 I  saw a Facebook ad that changed my life.

I was scrolling through Facebook in the car when an ad with the title Economics of Entrepreneurship popped up. I had been taking an entrepreneurship course for school and was interested in learning more so I clicked through to the FEE site. Halfway through reading the description of the Austin seminar, I was already figuring out how I was going to come up with the money. After reading that it was only eighty dollars I started my application.

After applying and subsequently being accepted I eagerly awaited June. At this point, I thought that I may pick up a few things, meet a few people and never really think twice about it.

The seminar itself was phenomenal. The speakers Anne Bradley, Brian Brenberg, Magatte Wade and T.K Coleman blew my mind. The topics covered everything from how entrepreneurship helps bring people out of poverty to getting out of the preparation mindset. Not only did we have numerous lectures throughout the day but we also had the afternoon breakout sessions. During these sessions, we had the opportunity to discuss topics covered in the lectures with one of the speakers and a small group of attendees.  In addition, there were a few fun activities that tied back into topics being covered in the lectures.

There was also plenty of free time to get to know the other attendees and interact with the speakers. It was during this time that my life changed for the better.

The first time I spoke to T.K. Coleman was when I apologized for hitting him with a ping-pong ball in the game room. He then called over Derek Magill and proceeded to destroy me at my own game. Little did I know that these two people would quite literally change my entire life.

The second interaction I had with T.K. Coleman took place the first day, after the last lecture before dinner.  T.K. Coleman was standing in the back of the auditorium. Working up the nerve, I’m super introverted, I walked up and introduced myself properly. We talked a bit about the lecture he had given earlier and I asked about a program he had mentioned. That program turned out to be Praxis.

He called Derek over, the Director of Marketing at Praxis who happened to be the photographer at the seminar. Derek gave me a great run down of the program, sharing his own story of dropping out of college. He shared a few participant success stories before we got to talking about my own schooling, My Journey to Self-Schooling and they were both impressed with my drive and motivation. They encouraged me to look into the program more, an offer I took them up on.

I have just been accepted into Praxis today.

The next day I ran into T.K at breakfast and he introduced me to current Praxis participant Abbey who has since helped throughout the application process in more ways than I can count.

Not only did I learn a ton, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it were not for the people that I met at this seminar. I would be taking dual credit courses at the local community college and feeling just as dissatisfied as before. Now I’m inspired and pushed to create every day by an amazing group of people.

No longer does the world seem filled with hoops to jump through and deadlines to be made. Now all I can see are a million opportunities to change the world we live in for the better.

The FEE seminar I attended is an investment whose value is incalculable.