I have found the game of poker a great analogy for living one’s life.
Mine at least.
- A mixture of seemingly routine acts done seemingly by rote.
- Conscious acts done w/ the appearance of choice.
- All occurring in an arena of server hundred variables that disguise themselves as constants.
The trick of developing the skill to win is to master ones behavior, actions, and reaction.
How different is that from living?
The routine: wake, groom, eat, work, eat, clean, sleep, repeat, weekend, rinse, repeat, vacation, repeat.
How much do we really have to think or choose throughout this cycle? And when we do choose, how often is our choice predictable by ourselves and anyone that have spent any amount of time observing us.
When playing poker, I may make a commitment to not play anything but Grade A hands while in the blinds, or under the gun. Or not call into any hands in the blinds without a B+ hand. But then I catch myself doing it, somehow, mindlessly making the choice to not keep my own commitment, just this once. I’m doing the predictable. And in doing so, knowingly playing from a weak position, knowing it hurts my overall game.
Take weight loss as a comparable.
Eat fewer calories than burn, lose weight. That may not be the full formula, like poker, there are a crazy amount of variables, but in the long run, probability is with you that you’ll lose weight. Commit as I may to not eating sugar. I know when I eat sugar not only am I hungrier, it effects 10 other areas that all lead to eating more. That the short-term gain of satisfaction will no doubt – definitely – effect my end game, yet there I am eating sugar, mindlessly making the choice to not keep my own commitment, just this once. I’m doing the predictable. And in doing so, knowingly,playing from a weak position, knowing it hurts my overall goal of good health and weight loss.
There are thousands of analogies, which would bore most. For my fellow poker players, here is a quick list.
- Betting on the button – exercise: it may hurt sometimes, but it’s a winning game.
- Not limping into a hand – Couch sitting: entertainment can be found there, but really you don’t belong there.
- Check Raising – making a delayed move – overcoming stagnation can bring big profits.
The way to win in anything, in my experience, is to be vigilantly mindful, focus, and take NOTHING for granted. I know when I am, I find success.