Place Your Bets
What is your relationship with risk?
One of my favorite hobbies is playing poker. No-limit Texas Hold em. Pot-limit Omaha. And if you have ever played poker, you understand that you sit down with poker chips in front of you. That is your buy-in. These are the chips that you will use in an attempt to gain more chips. More chips equate to more money.
Now, something important happens as each poker hand ends. The dealer button moves, and as the button moves, a different person sitting at the table has to pay something called “the blinds”.
The blinds must be paid before the next hand is even dealt. You have to pay them. It is the price of sitting at the table. As you cycle through hands, it is only a matter of time before it is your turn to pay the blinds.
So as you can imagine, the worst thing that you can do sitting at a poker table is to fold every hand. Because If you fold, you will never win and gain more chips. If you just sit, the blinds will come and slowly start to eat away at your chips. If you sit long enough, your chips will widdle away into nothing.
Each hand we get dealt, we pick up and analyze...I don’t know if this is a good hand. I think someone might have a better one. FOLD.
This is a decent hand, but some of these players at the table are a lot better than me. They know more than me. Have more experience. FOLD.
This is a good hand, but what if they get lucky? What if they hit a flush, or a straight. I don’t know if I want to risk losing…FOLD. FOLD. FOLD.
And with each passing hand, you are one step closer to paying the blinds.
Life acts the same way. You are sitting at a poker table.
What are you telling yourself as you analyze your hands?
This seems like a good idea, but I don’t know enough information. FOLD.
Wake up early? Go to the gym? I don’t have enough time. I’m too tired. FOLD.
Make a monetary investment? I am afraid of losing. FOLD.
Start a YouTube channel? I am afraid of judgment. What if people don’t watch the videos? What if they don’t like what I have to say?
Fear. Fear. Fear. FOLD.
Whatever it is. Whatever your excuse. FOLD.
Now, what do you have to do to prevent this? Prevent the blinds from eating your chip stack? You have to try to win. You have to push chips into the center of the table and place bets.
That doesn’t mean play every hand. You have to be calculated. Feel out your opponents. Look for your advantage. And then push. Action, action, action.
Are you at risk of losing those chips? Yes. That is the game. But we think too much about losing. What if this happens, what if that happens. So much wasted brain energy on losing. What about the other options? What if you win?
What if you piece together a few small wins that earn you more chips. And you take those chips and push again to turn them into a really big win. What if you win a few times and then lose, but the effects of your loss aren’t as bad because you were able to absorb some of those losses with your recent wins? And that lets you stay at the table to chase more wins.
But no, we sit at the table and fold. Sit at the table and watch our little chips erode away. Watch the opportunities fizzle out and turn to dust.
Fear has us in its grip. Can you feel the tightening?
You tell yourself that you are waiting for a better hand. Sitting around waiting for pocket aces to be dealt to you. We have established there is a cost to waiting. But maybe just as important, what if you actually get dealt the perfect hand?
There is another side effect to folding all of the time. All of a sudden, you become desperate for a good hand. And when one comes across your lap, you hold onto it for dear life.
You get dealt pocket Kings and then an Ace hits the flop. Or 4 spades are out on the board. Or you get raised. Re-raised. You quickly realize that there is a lot more to this game than just getting dealt good hands. The constant folding and inaction has left you ill-equipped to handle all of the choices at your disposal.
So you panic. You go all-in when you should fold. You fold when you should have called. You call when you should have raised. All that time waiting for a good hand was wasted. All of your inaction has turned you into a poor poker player.
The sharks at the table can smell your fear. “We’re having fish tonight boys.”
And after your missed opportunity? After your misplayed hand? Guess what still keeps coming.
The blinds of life are coming for you. And you don’t know where it will strike next...Will you have enough chips on the table to pay the price?
What hands are you playing now to build financial stability?
What hands are you playing now to build strength and endurance?
What hands are you playing now to callus yourself against life’s stressors?
What hands are you playing now to expand your mind, body, and soul?
Win. Lose. Raise. Take risks. Bet. Pay the blinds. Jump into the game. Take action. Because those that take action are rewarded with more action. Build your chip stack.
Whether you like it or not, we are all playing in the poker tournament of life. It is time to shuffle up and deal.
Nestled deep behind the noises of the casino. Chips stacking. Slot machines ringing. Cards shuffling. The same question always rears its ugly head. Asked in 100 different ways. What if you lose it all. What if you go busted?
I respond the same way every time. I pause for dramatic effect, to make it appear that I am thinking, but I’ve known the answer to this question my entire life.
I crack a smile, look them in the eye, and say,
“That’s easy. I’m going to go find some chips…and sit down at the table and do it all over again.”
Place your bets.