Wednesday the 21st marked my fourth year with Jenni. Four years of being together, a little over than three living together--we're practically married except for the church and the cake parts. So, to celebrate we took a trip to Uno's Chicago Grill in Antioch (which happens to be the only Uno's in the Bay Area because the other two were closed down due to the owner not paying his taxes for 15 years). I first took her to dinner there when she visited me in April of 2003, so it seemed appropriate. That and we missed their food dearly. (Having some of the leftovers as I write this.) While waiting and eating, we did what we usually did during anniversary dinners--reminisce. We went over a lot, including how far we've both come and how much we've both changed. When I think of it, I have changed dramatically since I first met Jen. One could question her involvement in those changes, but at the vary least, just her presence and support has contributed.
A few days earlier, we were at Macy's grabbing some new jeans before our the road trip. Per the usual, I picked out my jeans faster and proceeded to awkwardly walk to the section where Jen was trying on her's. I sat down on one of the more rotund chairs and did as I always would do; watch the TV they had placed next to each dressing room entrance. For some reason they usually have CNN or CNBC on, but this time it was CNBC. I enjoy catching up with the markets every now and then, so I put my focus on that.
The show on, was Mad Money with Jim Cramer. Now, I came into this knowing that Jim is one of the craziest guys to watch on CNBC, or any "investing advice" show for that matter. For those of you who have never run into the show, it's a show that educates the common investor about what stocks to put into their portfolio in a variety of ways. Actually, it's hard not to watch the guy without laughing a bit, as he's just that "mad". Wikipedia phrases it this way:
The majority of the hour features the flamboyant, colorful Cramer shouting, leaping, and gesticulating around the set and at the camera, all while providing his viewers with investment advice. This format skews the show more towards being entertainment rather than a source of financial information.
The episode I watched that day went over why Cramer did what he did. He called it, "Know Your Guru." It felt different from the beginning because he obviously didn't seem as energetic as he usually was. Anybody else would call it a full-hour of tooting his own horn. However, after hearing a few of the things he had to say, I moved passed that opinion and actually learned something from him that day. I brought it up to Jen during our anniversary dinner.
Cramer brought up his experience with Goldman Sachs, a global investment banking and securities firm. To his apparent disadvantage, he came in with a degree in journalism and a passion for finance. But what really caught me is when he said, "I used to go into work at 4:30, while the suits came in at 6. I had an inferiority complex, and didn't want to lose to them." He then went on to explain some of his tribulations and I took notice.
Going back to Wikipedia, they define "inferiority complex" as such:
An inferiority complex, in the fields of psychology and psychoanalysis, is a feeling that one is inferior to others in some way. Such feelings can arise from an imagined or actual inferiority in the afflicted person. It is often subconscious, and is thought to drive afflicted individuals to overcompensate, resulting either in spectacular achievement or extreme antisocial behavior, or both. Unlike a normal feeling of inferiority, which can act as an incentive for achievement, an inferiority complex is an advanced state of discouragement, often resulting in a retreat from difficulties.
To say that I have a inferiority complex could be equated to calling myself schizophrenic, or something crazy like that. But for once, I do think there's some proof to it. After I watched that segment, I sat down and thought about what he had said, comparing it to some of my past experiences. Now, I'm not going to list the reasons why I think I have this, because I don't feel I need to validate myself to the public. But I've always been in the position where I truly feel where I'm not as good as everybody else. If you were to ask anybody who has ever complimented me about anything, you'll find that it's hard to me to accept them, because I don't feel I deserve them. Call it humility. I usually run away from things that I can't conquer, only to come back to them doing just that. Many times, I get into such a state of despair on a project or in a situation that I just use that fear to avoid humiliation, embarrassment or just plain "losing face."
Oh, as a note: I'm completely serious and am not fishing for compliments.
But this is where Jen comes in, and where the depressing part of my perceived condition ends. Even with this state of inferiority, I have an almost blind sense of ambition. Jen told me on Wednesday night that she used to see a lot of the things I took on as calls for attention, or a plea for help. But, call it the spirit of entrepreneurship; taking the risk and even risking total failure to realize a goal. She later found out just how passionate and emotional I could get about something, while also knowing a failure could send me into the hole.
However, with Jen's constant support and my unwillingness to be defeated, I've sort of tuned all these feelings into something I could possibly control. Well, not control, but it has at least become more predictable. However, it's not the best route, or the most punctual one at that. I've said already how I can enter states of despair when working on a project. Obviously, that wastes a lot of time only to have an epiphany before it's too late. To that point, a lot of my best projects have come out of that state.
Well, I do think I've sufficiently spilt enough of myself to make even the most hardened of readers a bit sick. However, as Jim did with his segment, this is just another chance to understand the man behind the blog and a chance for me to better understand myself. Before writing this, I wondered if being so bluntly transparent would be a bad thing. At the very least, I feel a lot better for it.
So thanks Jim, maybe I'll take some of those stock tips when I have some extra cash. ;)