Fifteen years ago, while I was still at University, I debated whether or not I should drop out to pursue my dream of traveling the world and playing poker.
I contemplated some of the advice I received on how I should play my hand:
- Stay in school and get your degree first in case things the cards don’t fall your way.
- Poker is just a pipe dream and not many people make it.
- Poker players are gamblers, and one day it will all come crashing down when your luck runs out.
In short, they were all telling me how they would play my hand if the decision was up to them.
Except that it wasn’t.
While I understood where they were coming from and respected their opinions, they were just that. Opinions.
I had a tough decision: Listen to conventional wisdom or do what I felt in my heart was right for me.
It’s here where I believe many go wrong. They let other voices dictate their actions instead of going all-in on what they know what’s right for them. Inevitably, they’ll experience regret knowing they didn’t listen to their truth, which mostly stems from fear of what others think.
Only you get to play your hand. You alone are responsible for the choices you make.
When a player calls clock and it’s your turn to act, only you can decide whether to fold or go all-in.
We must begin by taking full responsibility for our life situation, as our reality, much like our long-term results in poker, are merely a reflection of the quality of our decisions and a little bit of luck.
And the more hands we play, the less luck is a factor. In the game of life we make millions of decisions. Like it or not, we’re playing the game every day.
That’s tantamount to playing millions of hands at the poker table. In a sample that large, the best players will wind up ahead in the end.
Too many people are stuck in the victim-mentality-game, blaming their circumstances on things they can’t control, instead of channeling their energy on making better decisions.
You can’t control the cards you’re dealt; only how you play them, but it’s your money on the line: you decide if and when you put chips in the pot.
I implore each of you to take immediate control of your life by internalizing the idea that everything is your fault.
Great players always question their play, even when they win. They ask, what could I have done better? Only amateurs blame the cards for their losses.
This mindset distinction is what allows the pros to consistently improve and stay ahead of the competition.
First, take full responsibility for the good and the bad; that’ll allow you to choose the best route to success.
Second, surround yourself with winners: your mindset and success is largely influenced by those closest to you.
Finally, I hope you’ll truly realize that life, much like poker, has a very finite window of opportunity.
You can wait patiently for the perfect opportunity, but if you’re too afraid to bet heavily when the right situation does come, you’ll miss out.
You know what the right move is, but you have to get out of your own way. That voice of doubt in your head is often just fear disguised as a reason why you can’t.
Tell him to go fuck himself, and shove. Because someone just called the clock and you only have a minute before your hand is dead.