Career lessons from the game of poker
A successful poker player constantly plays a high standard, and does not make impulsive decisions. A long-term discipline in a career path builds one's wealth, supported by one’s past success.
A single wrong decision can demolish one’s reputation and credibility.
This is a professional note extracted from an online article.
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A good poker player chooses a table where he has a better chance to win. A group of casual players is better than a table of professional players.
In your career, you need to pick the right stream or the right company, where your skills are in demand, and your contribution will be valued.
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.
A poker player has to live by his decisions, even when he is losing.
In our professional life, we are also on our own with our decisions. No one will be there to sympathize with you, and the pain is yours alone.
Not risking in a poker game means slowly losing or bleeding away our stack. In our careers, we have to take risks, take the jump ahead, getting out of our comfort zones to succeed.
It’s not the end of the world if a poker player has a set of bad cards, as any bad situation can change with new cards and the skillful playing of the game. In the corporate world, good or bad situations change quickly. Being the weakest in the team does not mean you cannot reach to the top.
Good situations too can change rapidly, so we should not be taking our promotion, bonus, boss or our job for granted.
Life is a game of poker, and works best when not taken too seriously.
Your career should be something you enjoy doing. It is good to keep the eye on the ball while enjoying the game, playing in the right spirit.
Your past work culture, expectations and even your prior performance do not matter in the present moment.
In Poker, new outcomes, and surprises in the current keep happening in the game of cards, and the past cards dealt cannot influence that. What matters is how you act now.
A certain percentage of the winnings always go to the casino where the game of poker is being played. Similarly, your work has to ensure your employers goals are met, not just yours.
If the casino table is rigged or players are playing in tandem, there is a strong chance that you will lose.
In the case of the workplace, if you see extreme discrimination, politics harassment or bias, then there is no need to stay there.
The game of poker is unpredictable and the luck of the draw lands in our favor, out of the blue.
A successful entrepreneur sticks to his creation, limiting his losses and keeps on working tirelessly for that moment to arrive.
A poker player has to decide when to quit (fold) so that he can save his stack for the next game. When the odds are really low, and the cash is bleeding, he makes the decision to fail.
Similarly, in business, we have to know when we are wasting our energies and quit something that is draining our resources, pivot our business if required, or start from scratch on a new one.
A good poker player is not dependent on luck of the draw, and on the other player's mistakes to win. It’s about how you play.
Any investor knows that the business will do well not because it’s a great idea, but because there is something he sees in the businessman.
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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’...
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.
Being decisive is simply the most rational way to take on any problem.
Decisiveness means having the ability to decide with speed and clarity.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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