The Talker’s High
If there’s one thing I cannot stand it is a man who talks about what he’s about to do.
In the words of one of the smartest football coaches on Earth. "Don’t tell me. Show me."
There is another phrase. "Show me what you hate, and I’ll show you what you are."
I hate the man who talks too much because I used to be that man. That man still lives somewhere within me.
I told everyone I wanted to be a writer when I lived in Seattle.
You know what I published? Nothing.
I was a big talker. I never did anything.
One of the greatest days of my life was finishing a novel.
Deep down, I knew it wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. It was a terrible book. It’s never been picked up by a publisher for a reason.
But at least now I can look you in the eye and say, "I tried to be a novelist and failed. I wrote a screenplay too that was never picked up. But I’ll be back."
I know now that at some point I stopped talking and started waking up early to write. Even though I failed in publishing a novel, getting used to the process helped me publish a bestselling strategy book a year later.
There has been research done that shows people who talk about what they’re going to do are less likely to do it.
Why? Because they get a little high off of it.
They get to feel as if they’ve done something, just by talking about it. Some people even start looking up to them, believing they actually will do these things.
I’ve had this happen to me a hundred times.
"So-and-so said you wrote a book."
"Yeah, I did," I mutter.
"You know, I’m thinking of writing a book."
My stepfather didn’t even know till a week ago that I published a book. You want me to know you’re thinking of writing a book?
I always want to respond. "Congratulations. You’re in an illustrious group known as every person on Earth."
I didn’t recognize that I was susceptible to the talker’s high until I started coaching. Having to talk for four to five hours every day will wear anyone out. You constantly have to talk about new things, otherwise, you’ll become Pete Carrol repeating the same stories over and over again.
People want stories from the road and how you overcame downswings. I’ve told every story so many damn times that I can’t stand to talk about myself anymore.
I used to get a little charge from talking about my plans or things I’ve overcome. That’s completely gone now. My students wouldn’t recognize me at parties. I would much rather listen to anyone other than myself.
Now that I can recognize the talker’s high I can’t stop hearing it.
"Yeah man, I’m going to grind it out. I’m going to make this bankroll challenge happen."
"I’m thinking of opening a business."
"I’m going to win one of these tournaments."
"It’s time we did something about racism."
"I’m going to get in shape. This is the year things change."
I don’t want to make these people cry, but sometimes you just want to ask, "did you wake up early and run? Did you lift weights? Were you studying hand histories last night or did you get into another political argument on Facebook?"
I’m just about to finish up my lease in Newark. I’m literally a few days out from leaving, as I write this.
Last night, for the first time, I watched a television show in this apartment.
That’s how much I’m working because I’m personally disgusted with myself if I say something like, "I want my business to succeed" and I’m not working some nights and weekends. It makes me feel like a fraud.
So many guys in poker don’t have that embarrassment, that self-disgust, and that’s not a compliment.
No one checks you anymore. You’re allowed to say whatever you want now, and there are no consequences.
I eat a diet that’s pretty rich in vegetables, fish, and probably a few too many carbohydrates.
I know I have work to do, but what blows my mind is how many unhealthy people have scolded me about my diet.
If I had lectured someone with a "you know having bagels every week will cost you" when I was growing up my father would have probably said, "hey fat ass, pipe down."
That would have hurt my feelings, sure, but who the hell am I to lecture anyone about their health when I’m not taking care of myself? My mother and father never stood for that. You couldn’t judge others without first taking a look at yourself.
When someone tells you for the fourth year in a row that they’re going to be a professional poker player no one hits them with a, "make it happen or stop talking about it." They’d rather you just go into year five of playing once in a while, smoking a little pot while you do it, and never studying.
These people are your worst enemies. They’re enabling you to get your talker’s high.
Your best friend is going to say, "what you want is on the other side of pain. Why are you running from it? You should be so exhausted from working that you can’t even tell me what you’ve been up to. How the hell do you have all this energy to discuss what you’re THINKING of doing? What the hell is that supposed to mean to me? What am I supposed to do with that? Cheer you on for making another plan you’re not going to execute? Is that good for you?"
Furthermore, how the hell do you have so much time to talk? I didn’t have a two-day weekend for 98% of my 20’s.
How the hell are you going to tell me you’re out there getting it when every time I turn on Twitter to post an article you’re already there talking?
Every poker player has "entrepreneur" on their Twitter profile. I have made a living on my own for twelve years, between professional poker, consulting, and self-publishing. I don’t even know how to spell the word, "entrepreneur." I had to look it up for this article. That’s how little time I’ve spent talking about it.
And again, guys, I’m not doing anything special. I’m no one special. I just have a special hatred for myself when I’m talking and not working. And that will take you very far.
I used to hate that about myself. I hated not being able to relax at nights when I had things I wanted to do. Now, I feel horrible for people who don’t have that.
Do not kill that impulse, that dark side. Do not kill it with drugs, alcohol, food or anything else. Feed it work. Feed it triumph.
Positive thinking can be such BS. Develop a little self-hatred. Get into the pain.
Nothing beats a guttural, "I. Did. This." after a hard-won success.
Go experience that just once in your life.
Good luck to all of you.