This is a (False) Quotation

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

— Matthew Freedman misquoting the internet misquoting Mahatma Gandhi


I’ve been inspired by all the historic events we’ve recently experienced, and that ‘inspiration’ is reflected in this piece, which has almost nothing actionable in it.

  1. You’ve been warned.
  2. Most of my pieces aren’t actionable anyway.

Let’s proceed.

It’s Another Historic Day

On Friday we saw a Presidential Inauguration. On Saturday we witnessed women’s marches all over the world. On Sunday we beheld the Patriots win yet another AFC Conference Championship and the Falcons play their final game in the Georgia Dome.

And today we get the 101st Labyrinthian.

I’m not presumptuous enough to say that those other historical events are as momentous as this article — but I am reminded of a simple alternative fact: History is what we make it.

An Overview of History

I took one history course in college: Western Civilization I, Antiquity to the Renaissance.

Here’s what I remember from that course:

  1. It was at 8:00 AM Tu/Th in the fall semester of my freshman year.
  2. My professor was a spot-on female ringer for Garth Algar.
  3. She was obsessed with the impact of agricultural advancements on developing societies.
  4. She wasn’t a fan of people falling asleep in her class as she talked about agriculture and society.

What I took from that course was that I shouldn’t be a history major or enrolled in early-morning classes.

So I don’t know much about history, but I do know that . . .

  1. I think I just inadvertently plagiarized an old song.
  2. The world is almost certainly a better place now than it was 1,000 years ago.
  3. The world still isn’t as good as it could be.
  4. I’ve used a lot of random lists in this piece so far.

For our purposes, that overview of history is sufficient.

Some Thoughts on the World

We live in a magnificent time.

With the internet we can now quickly conduct research that 50 years ago would’ve been difficult and time-consuming at best and impossible at worst. For instance, if I wanted to get better at cooking, or lifting weights, or having sex, I could probably watch videos online in which master chefs prepare steaks, Jonathan Bales demonstrates the proper technique for the bench press, or porn stars exhibit advanced maneuvers. If I looked hard enough, I could probably find a video in which all three of those activities happen at once. The internet is fantastic for skill acquisition — but I digress.

With globalization we can access, adapt, and apply the best practices and philosophies of those who live in other countries and have beneficial perspectives that differ from our own.

And with Theo Epstein the Red Sox and Cubs have won World Series titles.

What would’ve seemed miraculous to our grandparents is quotidian to us.

One of my earliest memories with my father is of him telling me how lucky I was to be born in this particular era in this particular country. And he was right.

Of course, as he told me this we were driving around in a 1950s car that had been manufactured without seat belts.

No matter how good the world is, we can always make it better.

The Gandhi Quotation

The first time I saw the phrase “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” I was in college searching online for an inspirational quotation to use in an application for an award. I saw that the words were attributed to Gandhi, so I discussed them in my personal statement because white people in positions of authority love Gandhi. (I won the award.)

It wasn’t until years later that I found out — gasp! — the internet had lied to me. Those words didn’t belong to Gandhi. As far as I could find they didn’t belong to anyone. Perhaps they were based on the following words (which I randomly found somewhere on the internet and which apparently belong to Gandhi although who really knows?):

If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. . . . We need not wait to see what others do.

Anyway, I kind of don’t care that “Be the change you wish to see in the world” wasn’t spoken (or written) by Gandhi. It’s still pretty good advice.

Be the Change

“Change” is just another word for “invest in”: If you want to change something, you must invest in it. If there’s something you don’t like — about the world, yourself, whatever — then change it by investing in it.

“Invest” comes from the Latin verb vestire (“to clothe”). If there’s something that you don’t like, you can change it by clothing the naked problem with your time and energy — whether that problem has to do with the world at large or daily fantasy sports.

That’s true in the world at large, and it’s also true of daily fantasy sports.

Often when you invest time and energy into something you also invest money into it — that’s just how the world works — but it’s not enough to invest only money. Nothing is ever fixed through money alone.

If you want to change your DFS ability, you must be the change you want to see. You can’t simply subscribe to FantasyLabs and hope. You can’t invest just money. You have to invest yourself into the process of becoming better.

Also, I’m not saying that people must subscribe to FantasyLabs. I’m not selling a product. I’m describing a perspective. Whatever your process is, you must be committed to it. You must be committed to having a process.

President Trump won’t fix the United States of America merely by being sworn into office, just as millions of people won’t fix the country (or the world) by walking outside for a few hours on one day, just as the Patriots won’t win the Super Bowl simply by showing up, just as the Georgia Dome isn’t going to explode itself.

Everything that needs to be done in life requires a process. It requires persistence. Labyrinths don’t walk themselves.

The Procession

“To process” doesn’t mean just “to put a criminal’s information into the police database on a bad TV show.”

“To process” means also “to walk.”

If you have a DFS process, think of it less as a set of steps that you take and more like a procession. You’re not some peasant who unthinkingly walks in circles every day. You’re a f*cking monarch traveling from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey for the purpose of being crowned “Gawd of the DFS Universe.”

Walk the DFS walk with a purpose. Become the monarch. Embody the change. Invest in your process.

I’ve written before about the process of not being awful at DFS. If there were a formula, it would look something like this:

Not Being Awful = Time + Energy

Ultimately (for a number of successful players) a big part of the process is devoting focused time each day to using our Tools for research. Subscribers tend to invest a lot of energy in our Player Models, but the Trends tool is without question where I spend most of my time.

But that’s just me.

All people have the ability to improve something in their lives. They have the time and energy to invest. The question is whether they have the commitment.

The Light in the Darkness

When the sun shines it’s hard to remember that almost all of the universe consists of darkness. Stars are relatively few. The nothingness of space almost overwhelms the imagination.

But on this planet — this fortunate orb of water and rock — there is more light than dark. Misinformation abounds. Bullsh*t proliferates. Knowledge disintegrates. People lie. Empires collapse. Republics fall. Life ends.

But life also persists. It adapts. It is the evolution.

We can’t change everything, but we can change enough — and we can start by changing the way that we ourselves approach, theorize, and process through life.

For some, that will mean bettering the way they play DFS. For me, that will mean having more obviously DFS-relevant content in my next article.

Change has to start somewhere.


The Labyrinthian: 2017.6, 101

This is the 101st installment of The Labyrinthian, a series dedicated to exploring random fields of knowledge in order to give you unordinary theoretical, philosophical, strategic, and/or often rambling guidance on daily fantasy sports. Consult the introductory piece to the series for further explanation. Previous installments of The Labyrinthian can be accessed via my author page.