Embracing Failure and the Value of Personal Growth Through Poker

Toddlers would not get very far if they didn’t try – first to clasp their hands, then to eat things, and then to roll over on each side, before finally journeying out at a slow crawl at first, and then a rapid clap on all four. Trial and error is ingrained in the learning experience. It’s how humans learn. As we grow, however, society begins to come up with unwritten laws for failure, often discriminating against it, and looking down on its agents.

It seems that failing has fallen out of grace. While glorifying failure as its own end is admittedly pointless, failure can serve as the basis of a robust learning experience. It can be proof that success is not necessarily about pulling off a fantastic idea, such as Facemash, and becoming one of the most successful social media virtually overnight.

No, it’s about that most successful projects would usually take a lot of effort (and failing by default). Investors profess that only one of ten ideas works out – and even then, it may not work out fully or amount to much. Yet, those entrepreneurs have not given up on failing.

They have welcomed it cautiously while striving for success against the odds, and they have become hardened, composed, and admittedly successful investors over time. The same goes for poker players, who have found the value of failing and embraced it.

The Journey to Mastery – No Prize Without Setbacks

Mastering anything – whether it is poker, or a profession would inevitably come with a lot of studying, trying, and inevitably – failure. Failure to take theoretical knowledge and put it to practical use, failure to muster up the knowledge you need in a particular situation, or something else.

Yet, this pretty much sets out the context in which mastery is attained. You cannot expect it to be a given. The rule of 10,000 hours may sound too tempting, but it may also be a bit of a malarkey as spending hours on mastering something would not necessarily lead to success unless you are making a conscious decision – every hour of the journey – to apply yourself.

This means that you will run into difficulties time and again. You may be miffed or upset as this happens, but it’s important to cultivate a mindset that embraces such setbacks. Even more important, you need not think of successes and failures as a sort of benchmark you ought to reach before achieving your goal.

Rather, to benefit and develop a healthy skillset, you need to continually scrutinize your failures. Embracing failure is only a viable philosophy for as long as you actually take pains to understand what led to your failure and not accepting it as a given at point blank.

The Value of Perseverance and Patience

Yet, bringing yourself to explore and understand failure is not an easy thing and it’s counter-intuitive to the nature of an adult. After all, the period of fun exploration is over. Our mistakes are no longer innocent or cute – they have real consequences, as we have responsibilities, and failing to meet those responsibilities usually has a much broader impact that often leads to scrutiny from our peers.

This is why it’s doubly important to learn the value of perseverance and patience. Both need to be weighed against this constant demand for meeting our obligations while making sure

that we learn from our mistakes. Imagine a poker player. They have no guarantee that they would ever amount to much, and yet they carry on unshaken in their determination to try.

Many start online and they play while fitting in with other daily responsibilities in an already busy schedule. Yet, poker can teach you a lot about the value of patience and perseverance, and also lay bare some of the uglier truths about yourself – can your ego take a drubbing, for example? If you want to play for real money, here are the most respected poker sites over the past decade that will help you venture on this path of self-knowledge.

Can Anyone Do It?

We are taught that anyone can be what they want to be, and perhaps in an ideal world, this is true. Anyone can amount to pretty much anything if they are provided sufficient resources such as time, and money, and guaranteed their well-being. However, most humans have to learn in the crucible of life which often throws challenges, responsibilities, and other associated obstacles.

In theory, though, we can cultivate a successful mindset in terms of pure opportunity and capability. As Warren Buffet says about how he goes about investing – anyone can do what I do, the Oracle of Omaha muses – the difference is that most people simply won’t. He credits his success to reading gargantuan amounts of news and investment literature and he is right.

Everyone could in theory slog through the same amount of reading on a single day but doing it consistently over the years is another matter altogether and one that certainly will put to a test your ability to persevere.

Does poker have a role to play in all of this? It certainly does. Mastering poker is not a matter of having the money for the buy-in. It’s not getting lucky on the river either. It’s life itself and your ability to overcome failure, learn from it, and use it to your advantage.

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