I once heard a musician advise, "every time you say the word ‘I’ people’s blood pressure goes up."
I’ve never looked into this, but I assume it’s true. Whenever I am reading someone’s instructional post I get pissed off when they bring up a personal experience that adds little to the article.
If you cannot say something simply then usually you don’t really understand it.
Unfortunately, I am going to have to tell you a little about myself in order to get this strategy article across. I have to do this because I literally don’t have a better example of how this concept works.
If you want to succeed in life and poker you only have to do one thing:
"80% of life is showing up," as Woody Allen put it.
Ask yourself what your hero would do in a given situation, and then do that.
It doesn’t matter if you fail. 99% of people are not even trying.
When childhoods come up I often can’t share mine because I don’t want to make the conversation awkwardly morose.
In high school, my grades were mediocre. No one even bothered to ask if I wanted to go to college. I worked at Arby’s. I lived out of a friend’s garage in high school. I worked as a security guard and commercial fisherman when I needed money.
If you were ranking poker players in my high school, then I probably would have come fourth. Two guys in particular used to kick my ass every time we played.
I told people I was going to be a professional poker player, and they laughed. I literally couldn’t beat live $5.00 cash games. I hadn’t been able to do so for years.
I turned pro at 18. At nineteen, I split my time between apartments I was renting in Seoul and Seattle. Less than two years prior I had been cleaning fish guts off the hull of a ship in Alaska, getting chewed out by my skipper for wearing a
Discman while I did the monotonous task.
You want to know how I made it?
I showed up. I never failed to show up.
If there was a game anywhere, I was there.
If I needed money I wasn’t above cleaning out deep fryers.
If I wasn’t playing poker, I was studying poker. I read every poker book at my local library. I went to Barnes and Noble and read books there when I couldn’t afford them. If I felt I didn’t understand a book I read it again. If I still didn’t get it I read it again.
I read forums. I played online until 4:00 AM when I had to be at school at 7:00 AM. I did it every chance I could.
I was into Japanese comics at that time. In all the sleepless hours, I began seeing my life as its own serialized fiction.
Would my hero go up to that girl? Would my hero take a bus to find that game? Would my hero not listen to poker podcasts on his security route? Would my hero not sign up for the first training sites? Would my hero let this failure haunt him? Or would he use it as another stepping stone on an epic journey?
I made every mistake in the book, and I do not regret it for a second. My life has been a joyride, even in its failures.
The only times my life has been horrifying is when I did the things others expected of me. I drank alcohol the first time to get in good with a girl I liked. I smoked pot the first time because the coolest guy I knew did too.
If I could go back and do things over I would have always tried to imitate my fictionalized hero. I wouldn’t have listened to others.
No one wants to try hard because it means putting yourself on the line. If you’re reading a poker book during your every free minute at school, and then you play terrible at a game later, then you look like a horse’s ass.
If you grind microstakes every minute of every day when you are home, and you get no where after a year, it’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror.
It’s easier to take a shot at high stakes. It’s easier to not even have the poker book on you. Then, if you succeed, it looks like you’re just naturally talented. People prize that.
But my hero would be a guy like Kobe Bryant. Do you think he ever shied away from a practice session? Do you think he ever ignored a game film package sent to his house?
No, he never did. And the Kobe Bryant of poker wouldn’t either. He’d be up late, grinding it out. He’d never give up.
He’d show up.