Tag Archives: Boardwalk Empire

A quote on timing

In our society we’re often times judged on how much we’ve done, what we can accomplish in a set time, and how we meet challenges. One of the purposes of More! is to help myself and my readers do a lot of those things and I try to share insights as I’m learning and getting better.

All that said, I’d like to share a quote with you from the popular HBO series, Boardwalk Empire. The show is set during prohibition in Atlantic City and based loosely on a book about historical criminal kingpin Enoch “Nucky” Johnson by Nelson Johnson entitled Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City. Steve Buscemi plays the lead as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson and has a great supporting cast. The quote comes as an embattled Nucky has a discussion with the fictional version of Arnold Rothstein, a New York businessman and gambler who had ties to organized crime. Rothstein was also infamous for his connection to baseball’s Black Sox Scandal, in which the 1919 World Series was fixed. While the quote is from one fictional character to another I think it holds a lesson for all of us in our high performance society.

“I make my living, Mr. Thompson, in large part as a gambler. Some days I make 20 bets, some days I make none. There are weeks, sometimes months in fact, when I don’t make any bet at all because there is simply no play. So I wait, plan, marshal my resources, and when I finally see my opportunity and there is a bet to make… I bet it all.”

The key here is that sometimes, to get more you need to have patience to wait until the circumstances favor decisive action. That sometimes the best action is, in fact, no direct action at all. During those times you take pause, gather your resources and become more prepared to act when circumstances favor direct action. Part of planning is timing, knowing when to act. When you can’t see a solution sometimes the best thing to do is make no choice other than to gather your resources, wait, watch, and remain ready. Then when a chance presents itself move with decisive intent to achieve your goal.