Professional poker players make a ton of decisions, quick ones too. The average hand takes just over two minutes and could have upwards of twenty decisions inside those two minutes, according to someone who ought to know – Annie Duke (One of the top professional poker players the past twenty years). I’m loving her new book Thinking in Bets.
Life is a lot more like poker than it is chess. There are finite moves in chess and everything is out in the open. There is no hidden information. The chance of you or I beating a world champion in a game of chess is slim to none and slim’s out of town. Yet, all day long, top professional poker players lose 30-40% of the time, oftentimes to far inferior amateurs who just got lucky. Life is a lot like poker, isn’t it?
We’re making bets all day long. If you’re a leader, you’re making more bets and some of them have big ramifications. You could say that the quality of your life comes down to the quality (and quantity) of your decisions and getting more lucky than not. Remember, the biggest difference between professional poker players and amateurs is the quantity of bets. Pro’s make way more decisions. Quality comes as they study, learn, and apply. Experience is the greatest teacher, if you learn from it, remember. Pro’s don’t focus on outcomes or resulting (poker word). Pro’s master the process and understand that you can do everything right and still have it all go wrong. Pro’s just keep working, and learning whether they’re winning or losing. Are you a pro, friend?
I’m devouring Annies book and learning a ton about decision making, my own and those of my clients. Every single one of them would benefit from studying Annie’s research and extrapolating it to their work. Most of my clients suffer from the amateur poker player mindset – they are not making enough bets (decisions). They are waiting for the perfect hand, the right timing, or a few more chips. I’ll recommend it to all of ‘em. Most will nod their head in agreement that it sounds like a good read. Some will buy the book. A few will actually start to read it too. Only one or two will finish it, write in it, think about it, and use it to improve themselves and their teams. Fact.
Wanna make a bet?