The dice rattles against the thick cardboard game called Cashflow. I sat in a large hotel room, shivering from the room temperature, regretting very loudly about forgetting to bring a jacket.
There were about 20 other round tables playing the same game. No one knew what time it was. The walls were draped with heavy red curtains, properly maintained, letting no light in except for the artificial ambient lights above us. We could be playing for hours now, waiting for every turn, trying to leverage from each dice roll.
I could hear people all around us.
Silence is nonexistent.
I took my board piece and tapped it eleven times on the squares of the board.
It was a good roll, and looking down at my reserves, I realized I have graduated from lemonade stands and small petty investments.
It’s time for the Big Deals.
This is a story about two people. Two separate, very different people. Colorful individuals. One who is just beginning, and another who has climbed his own Everest. They crossed paths with mine and I don’t see it as impossible for us to cross again.
But I thought, why not tell the world about what happens at this stage of the game? At this level?
No one usually does.
The stories may serve as examples or fair warnings, but ultimately as tales that will disturb your mind at rest.
The devil is deceitful. It is the very manifestation of manipulation and lies and deceit beyond what any man can do or comprehend.
If man can do twisted and evil things, how much more the Devil?
And Sin is what it serves, on a platter full of consequences, coated with pleasure, dripping with deceit.
So subtle, so terrible, that often the aftermath of one’s action will reap the full force of the ramifications… long after the deed is done.
And we think we were safe.
We think there will be no consequence.
So we act in a privileged high, one action after another, until one day it catches up and weight of our ‘freedom’ rains on us.
The first story is the story of a girl named A.
I still wonder about how people from this digital age would come to a halting conclusion, and often in great conviction, over something they have no idea about.
Entire debates were wasted on clickbait titles. Campaigns to choose a side between two opposing forces. Rumors made and created by the delusional or those who simply wanted to burn the world and manipulate people.
There are those who did what everyone else is doing, at this cycle, at this moment. To be accepted. To be heard. To be cool.
Forming solid conclusions, unquestioningly submitting to untruths, declaring it the irrefutable truth like their Bible! And their source is at the comments section of fake people with multiple accounts.
Because it is comforting. To believe that what they have not become, someone else has, and so it must be lies! A fabrication! It must be stoned. It must be dragged down to spit on.
How Dare You Do Better Than Me.
Those Who Had The Guts to Receive the Torch
It was dinner with one of the legends of the stock market industry in the Philippines. He did what we do clumsily with grace and experience. Take the entire table’s attention and entertain us while he teaches.
“Oh, I saw that video posted by X!” he said, half-laughing. “It’s one of my favourites. I like that guy, he isn’t like the others.”
And if I was in a dinner table with him, I must have passed the test.
A year later, Zee was introduced to another man. A recluse, high-caliber, influential man who was only personally met by the people who are neck-deep in the stock market industry.
“I saw Celeste’s video. She talked about the concept of floorings and ceilings well.”, he told him.
A is new in the markets.
She said it multiple times to different people and it’s true so there’s that. But even then, she knew she wanted to play a bigger part in it. She had to be… something.
So, she decided to find a place for herself.
Women traders are a rare breed. Stock market traders are rare in itself, but being a woman in this field is enough for you to be different.
But that’s a slight problem. There were already other women traders who were slaying it. Instead of reaching out to them, she decided another path.
Take a certification exam.
This should suffice, she thought, I’m the legit.
The process wasn’t even over when she started to publicly declare against other stock trader educators. Particularly ZFT. Name dropping me.
“How saddening” she wrote. “That the newbies have no idea what these people are up to.”
She was so sure of herself.
Listening to fabrications that demanded further proof upon every proof because they could not replicate it themselves. ZFT did camps, tradecations, live trading with one another and yet those who are desperate to believe lies will be blinded by only what their insecurity will allow them.
About a month later, A sent a friend request to Zee.
Zee would rarely seek a fight, but I’ve never seen him back down from one. It must be a trait from the South that I secretly admire– How they have the balls to face people head on.
Admittedly, not everyone is the same as him. There were instances where he would ask a person what their problem was with him, but with tucked tails they run away, never to respond, piggybacking on his name.
Zee then messaged A.
“Weren’t you the one who said these things about us?”
A was stunned. No, she replied. It wasn’t me.
She denied, denied, denied.
But screenshots don’t lie and Zee has one.
“Don’t worry, I don’t judge. I’ll accept your friend request then, but behave here.”
Mortified she unfriended him and deleted traces of her public and online defamation.
One week later, A found herself at a round table with Zeefreaks in person, discussing sheepishly the issues she faces in trading.
How did I end up here?
She thought she was lucky. She found another trader who was willing to teach her. She was invited to an exclusive group of amazing people who built a community of diverse traders. New breeds that will blaze their own way. How lucky! There in that hotel function room, she saw some of the prominent names. How lucky!
And then she saw Zeefreaks.
The room was divided into two. One for Zee, and one for another champion trader. She sat at Zee’s table, quietly hoping he doesn’t remember. I hope he doesn’t, she thought, he hasn’t reprimanded me yet…
How could I ever know? She thought.
That he… is watching?
A tribe of traders who churns trades more than the average. We were an easy 6-7 figures worth of monthly commission for any broker. They know that. Every smart CSR leveraged on it.
I learned, upon meeting more, that the elusive, busy, high profile people are not stupid. Of course.
How could they be? They did better things, accomplished more, built empires larger than I have. Still it was easy to think that they are so far away, and outside of my radar, that whatever I do will never reach them.
But how could people believe they will be dumb enough to not know who the players are?
“Who is in the field? What do they do? AND CAN I ASSOCIATE MYSELF WITH THAT PERSON?”
The Legends of yesterday will inevitably look for who is next in line and they watch, and watch, and watch as some of the young ones lose their dignity just for the chance of being recognized.
It’s so much easier to background check now. It takes 3 seconds for someone with wisdom to decide to block a person, resolve to never get involved with a person, and cut that person off from leeching for any kind of leverage from him or his network.
It was the high profile people who are always watching and the best business people in the world would turn down a good offer, no matter how big, because they do not trust the hand that offers it.
The lecturer’s voice boomed in the small room.
“Today, more than ever, if you are not networking, you are not working.” He declared. “More than ever, do people have the same information but do not know the same people who can leverage them into heights. It’s no longer JUST about what you know, but also, who do you know that help you?”
In that room was an Ambassador, a movie producer, 2 celebrities, multiple CEOs of different fields (electronic cars, make-up, Solar Industry, etc.), a father-and-son from the marketing dynasty, prominent basketball players, a vice president of an international bank, and other noteworthy trailblazers.
The pressure was on.
He wore a light white polo, top buttons undone, with his notebook clasped on his right hand. I was having a conversation with someone I was trying to make friends when he jumped in.
“Can we talk now?”, he asked, but it was not a question. His tone arrested a demand that we must.
“What can I help you with? You wanted to learn how to trade?”
It was the end of a seminar I joined, majority of the participants hurriedly packed their bags and left. I stayed behind to form relationships with the few people I connected with.
The guy I’ll call O “asked” that we have coffee. He stood beside me, a little smaller than I am, but defiant and in a rush.
He was obviously trying to control the situation.
“What do you do?”, he asked me, in a manner of a person conducting a job interview. He smiled trying to make it look light, his lips curving, showing his teeth. He was faking it. I was obviously placed in the middle of a test.
I felt underdressed and underprepared for the situation. I wore a Birkenstock sandals, an orange casual dress, and I was hurrying to connect to a few elusive people before they left.
“I trade primarily, and I help others perform their best trades.”, I told him quickly. I know the answer to this because I asked it a million times before to myself.
“You mean like that girl in Billions?”
“Wendy Rhoades, yes.” I smiled and nodded, sort of relieved he knows the show at least.
My eyes were darting to the people leaving.
A guy stepped in our perimeter of conversation.
It was Zee. He hurriedly dropped my workbook and notebooks on the desk beside me. “Here are your stuff.”
It was the perfect opportunity.
“Oh! O here wants to ask us about what we do and how we can help him. Maybe you guys can go talk somewhere? I have to stay in a bit and ask the lecturer a question.”
It was the perfect escape. I couldn’t handle a man like O, commanding my presence, at that state of urgency trying to connect other people than him.
The lecturer is one of the most prominent men in his field. His output and credibility is unquestionable, and his heart is at the right place.
The most revealing thing he did was how he handled everyone with respect. Shaking our hands the moment he walked in, giving us his calling cards, and then for two days, delighted us at how he REMEMBERS who we are. Even, surprisingly, doing his own background check for some of the attendees.
He would often walk by one of us and ask, “Are you not the ___ of __?” Introducing us to the rest of the room.
Yup. He’s also watching.
About half an hour later, I joined their table at the lobby. O sat at a lush chair with the coffee table in between them. Zee sat at the edge of his seat, politely giving the man his attention.
Zee has always been more patient with people. I’ve never seen him raise his voice even when he comes face to face with men who doesn’t share the same values.
O crossed his legs as he continues to talk about what he wants. He smirked, turned his head to the side haughtily, and declared having 8 figures in the market. He waited for an impressed reaction but was plainly disappointed when we only congratulated him. He was beginning to ask if we would handle his funds for him.
Careful not to offend, Zee told him that he could help him find people who might be willing.
“Well,” I interjected. “Our philosophy is, we’d rather teach you how to trade your money than trade it for you.”
He seemed happy and challenged. He’s a young, rich, hotshot who made a name for himself in his business. Obviously, arrogance was easy to come and he doesn’t seem like the person who would back down from anything a woman calls a ‘challenge’.
“Would you handle his funds?”, I asked Zee. We were walking along Makati, enjoying the chance to be in the area.
“That would be problematic.”
I knew what he meant.
A few minutes with O and I understood the power play. He’s the client that wants to be in control.
If displeased, he has the money and power to make other people miserable… and surely he has all the time.
The better proposition would have been an X deal. Zee and I are heavily seeking business opportunities we could put our funds into. It has become top priority in our life, and O runs a profitable business.
“What if he wants to learn from us instead?”
He considered it. We did want to learn much about the import and export business. It was in the cards.
After a quiet contemplation, he said “that would still be problematic.”
What O doesn’t understand is that we turned down bigger offers. Profit is an important measurement, but at what cost? The moment the deal is made, the outcome is already predicted. Both hands shaking has to connect. If business is war, then choose carefully who will be in your squad.
Trading has its own risks, but what it can ultimately give you more than anything is the freedom.
The freedom to say no. The freedom to choose.
But how do you choose?
By knowing yourself,
And then by watching.
Opportunity is everywhere. Before I started meeting high profile people, there were opportunities in my world although admittedly not as big as this. Looking back now, maybe it was practice.
In the Cashflow game by Kiyosaki, I have moved into the Big Deals deck. The money involved is bigger, the opportunities huge, but it’s still the same game. The same principle applies.
The Big Deals are here. The stakes higher than before, the trials punishing. If you haven’t learned how to properly play before, then you risk losing everything.
But that’s okay, because even as you fall, by now you must know how to rebuild.
And I quote: