It’s not about winning the battles, it’s about never giving up. ~ Unknown
More and more I find myself using poker as a metaphor for life and success. I have never played poker, and I certainly would not do it for money, but I find myself mesmerized watching it on television. It is fascinating to watch people try and solve partial-information problems. They know what cards they have and they know what cards are on the table. What they do not know are the cards the other people have. And in that situation they have to find a way to win the hand.
If you watch professional poker long enough you will probably come to this conclusion: to win a tournament, to actually eliminate everyone else, you have to be good AND you have to be lucky. Skill alone will not do it. While the top-ranked players do win from time to time, they get eliminated far more often. No matter how good you are, you have to have a little luck along the way. But luck alone certainly will not do it, because luck always runs out. If you want to keep winning, at some point you are going to have to win when luck is not on your side. Professional poker players find a way to win when they are not dealt the best cards.
When they get a lousy hand of cards, great poker players do not automatically throw in their cards and forfeit the hand. What they do is think to themselves, “How can I win this hand in spite of these cards? How can I make something out of nothing?” And that is where the metaphor for life comes in.
Everyone can win the poker hand with a royal flush just as everyone can succeed in life when everything is going their way. The trick is to find a way to succeed even when everything is not going your way. To find a way to win even when you have lousy cards. And the first step to doing that is to believe you can, just as the poker player does. And they do that by asking themself the empowering question from above: How can I win in spite of this?
At some point in their life, everyone gets dealt a crappy hand, just as in poker everyone eventually gets a 2-7 off suit. There is no way around it. Maybe you will you get fired. Maybe you will get dumped. Maybe you will get foreclosed on. Maybe you will have lousy cards. So what! You know what to do. Try to win in spite of it. You may not win the hand, but ask that question often enough and you are bound to win you share of tournaments.