1 Lesson I Learned After Losing ₩10,000 Won in Poker

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“The goal is progress, not perfection.” -Alcoholics Anonymous

I know — do the math, it’s only like $10.

But losing money in Texas Hold-Em is a lot like other “losses” we experience in our lives.

It could be a monetary loss, like a bad business investment. It could be an emotional loss, like saying a thoughtless criticism to a loved one. It could be a mental loss, like failing to stick to a goal you set for yourself.

I’ve done all three recently. I’ve lost money in my business after trusting the wrong products. I’ve been careless with how I’ve treated my wife and hurt her feelings. I’ve spent several weeks trying to wake up early, eat healthy, and jog while accomplishing none of those goals.

I keep failing, I keep messing up. I keep telling myself I won’t do it again, that I’ll be better. And then…yep. It happened again.

Losses are part of the game

Instead of panicking; instead of self-loathing, self-flagellation, anger, frustration, and defeat, realize losses are part of the game.

When I was growing up, I was addicted to pornography. I would use it every day or two to “relax,” which really means cope with the looming problems of my life (the relationship with my father, my stammering, my pitiful self-worth).

It took me 14 years to finally learn how to quit pornography for good. It wasn’t for lack of trying — hell, I tried everything on the menu. I distinctly remember the eve before my 13th birthday telling myself, “OK Anthony, you’re about to become a teenager now. It’s time to grow up and stop.” You can imagine how that went.

I spent over a decade trying and failing to quit a habit I knew wasn’t good for me. I lost a lot of times, far more than I “won.”

But that’s part of the process. That’s how it works.

This is true in literally every arena. There are no perfect sports seasons, where you win every single game or play. No such thing as perfect marriage/relationships, even the most emotionally-aware people unintentionally hurt their partners from time to time. No perfect businesses. No perfect routines.

We fail. We mess up.

Next time, when you fine yourself panicking about a loss or failure, tell yourself: “Hm. Losses and failures are part of business, part of the process. How about I accept that what happened isn’t unusual, learn from it, and move on better prepared for next time?”

If you still can’t wake up early — try again.

If you lost another business investment — try again.

If you hurt your partner or spouse — apologize and try again.

If you lose some key poker hands — it’s OK.

It’s how it works.

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-Anthony

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