Keep Improving - Deepstash

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Career lessons from the game of poker

Keep Improving

A poker player learns many skills initially about different combinations of cards, and how to play a basic game. He keeps on improving by further calculating the other aspects of the game, which were not understood before.

Similarly, one needs to identify the basic skills for the job and then grow with experience, improving your dealings with people and situations.

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Gambler’s Fallacy
Gambler’s Fallacy

The odds are always fifty-fifty. But most of us anticipate better odds, or better luck, after a bad streak, as if now we are due for good luck.

This ‘Gambler’s Fallacy’ assumes that probability as a whole has memory, and if the coin is flipped ten times and shows ‘heads’ in all ten, the odds are huge for it showing ‘tails’ in the 11th spin.

The Biggest Bluff

Maria Konnikova, in her soon to be published book The Biggest Bluff, tells us that Poker is a real game, closer to life as opposed to the modern games which try to ‘game’ our brains’ and exploit its weaknesses.

Poker pushes us out of our comfort zones and illusions and puts us where life is, unpredictable, and always with fifty-fifty odds.

Incomplete information and over-estimation
Incomplete information and over-estimation
  • Much of what you need to know in life is hidden from you. You need to make decisions, but is still the victim of chance or uncertainty.
  • We tend to over-estimate the role of our own skills. The more people overestimate the importance of their own ability, the less flexible their decision making becomes.
Thinking probabilistically to avoid overestimating our abilities

To avoid the trap of overestimating our own skill, we need to start thinking probabilistically. That means estimating the odds and adapting your decision-making accordingly.

Even if the decision had a good outcome, we still need to objectively analyse the quality of the decision-making underneath.

Learn to deal with tilting

Tilting means realizing that your emotions are not separate from the logic of your decision making - for example, the despair that comes from bad luck, or the overconfidence that comes from a win.

You can learn to cope better by regularly checking in with yourself to see what you are feeling and how you react. Once you have identified those feelings, then try to analyse how they're influencing your judgment.

Being decisive

Being decisive is simply the most rational way to take on any problem.

Decisiveness means having the ability to decide with speed and clarity.

Indecisive people

They act this way  because they assume others will make better decisions for them.

They underestimate the power of this effective strategy and end up relying on the thinking power of others to survive.

Decisiveness in uncertainty

The best decision is the best one you can make with the information available at the time.

Simply need to make a decision with the faulty information at hand and move forward. Waiting longer is just delaying the inevitable, so you must decide even in the face of uncertainty.