Do you believe that poker is a microcosm of life?
Poker writer Lee Davy does, and that many of life’s lessons can be applied practically and successfully to your poker game.
Armed with that view, Davy dissects the Jack Canfield classic self-help book The Success Principles to find what lessons can be adapted to poker.
By Lee Davy
Why are you here? What purpose do you serve on this planet?
Those are questions that evaded me for the first 34 years of my life and when I finally found them - poked them and prodded them - tears of sadness, anger and joy spilled out of my eyes.
Jack Canfield believes that everyone is born with a life purpose. Whilst I don’t necessarily have a view on that, I do know that making the decision to find out what my life purpose was changed my life in ways I couldn’t imagine.
So why did it take me so long to ask these questions?
An Image on a Milk Carton Nobody's Looking For
I wasn’t ignoring them. I just didn’t know that they existed. I was well and truly in the rat race. I was the little hamster on the wheel and boy could I run.
I thought I was doing all the right things. I had a great job. I had a great pension plan. I had a wonderful wife, a beautiful little boy, great friends and family and lived in a safe and loving environment.
I was also a sleepwalker. I was taking each day as it comes, and every day I had my eyes closed.
I was on automatic pilot. I felt like an image on the side of a milk carton, only nobody was looking for me. I should have been incredibly happy but I was riddled with anxiety, stress and unhappiness.
When I learned about life purpose things changed irrevocably.
Suddenly I knew what I wanted and that’s a big paradigm shift to being on automatic pilot. The latter brings you random shit; the former brings you exactly what you love.
Magical Things Start to Happen
I was very good at my previous job, but it wasn’t important to me. I didn’t think that I was doing enough for the world and I didn’t think I was growing in the right way.
Once I found my life purpose magical things started to happen. Resources, people and actions would just materialize/occur when I needed them to.
I can only relate it to switching on my internal GPS system.
I might have been writing an article about the effects that alcohol has on your liver, but my sub-conscious was busy figuring out how I could create a company to spread the word worldwide.
I interview a lot of young poker players and I ask them what their life purpose is. Most of them are taken aback by the question.
They are not prepared for it, and I understand that.
The usual stock answer is "I don’t have one." They are young and the current lifestyle of earning lots of money whilst playing a game is good enough for them.
I can’t blame them, but I do urge them to reconsider their point of view.
Raising for Effective Giving
Money can be used for a wide variety of things.
It can be used to buy a new Bentley. Or to back a friend in a big poker tournament. To eat in expensive restaurants. Or to help a young African kid cure the tapeworms that prevent him from being allowed into school.
Together with Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov, Philipp Gruissem has created the charitable foundation known as REG (Raising for Effective Giving).
Jump into a Michael J. Fox car and whiz back a few years and Gruissem was just a young kid, earning millions of bucks, going through the motions.
Now he has life purpose. His poker-playing lifestyle now has a means to an end. The money he earns is going to help somebody else.
He is contributing to society. That is the reason he is on this planet and why he has been given the talents that he has.
Daniel Colman is a young man who I also believe is going through a paradigm shift at the moment. His refusal to promote his $15m BIG ONE for ONE DROP victory is a direct result of his internal conflict with life purpose and what he currently does for a living.
Colman will find his path, as will you once you realize there is one waiting for you.
Reset Your Internal GPS
“Decide upon your major purpose in life and then organize all your activities around it”
-- Brian Tracey
So how do you discover life purpose? It’s not easy, but I have some advice for you.
During my coaching sessions with Jack Canfield’s team I was asked to write a list of everything that brought joy into my life.
It was a small list. I cried with frustration and anger at how meaningless my life was.
“Think about your job,” my coach said. “I know you hate it, but what are the parts you love?”
Coaching people. Seeing the looks on peoples' faces when they succeeded against all the odds. Being the boss.
The sound of my own voice talking, reading, promoting people and seeing people who I have given a chance, succeed.
I knew that my life purpose was to use my experience, passion and drive to help and inspire others in their work and family lives.
I have chosen to do this by helping people with their addictions. My internal GPS has been given new coordinates and I am on my way.
Listen to Your Body
You need to listen to your body and take the hints that it’s giving you.
I love playing poker. But each time I lose I get the distinct impression that the universe is telling me that I am wasting my time.
Is playing poker going to help me help others with their addictions?
You could say that if I won a big tournament I could use the money, or by increasing my standing in the poker community I could help more people, but that would be stretching things a bit far.
Poker is not part of my plan. It’s not part of my life purpose.
You should never work on anything that’s not connected with your life purpose, because you will just get lost and your happiness levels will slip.
Take poker for example. It’s a hobby for me, and one I enjoy, and if I keep it like that then there will be no problems.
But if it escalates and I spend more time playing poker than pursuing my life purpose, then it becomes a problem.
Make a List of Everything That Brings Joy Into Your Life
So let’s get back to those questions at the beginning of the article.
Why are you here? What purpose do you serve on this planet?
Do you have a better idea now?
Don’t wait until you're older to create a life purpose. Don’t make the excuse that you're young, that you don’t like to plan, that you need to be free .
All of those are just excuses and forms of avoidance.
Make a list of everything that brings you joy and then organize your life so that you can do those things everyday. Out of that mix of magic will surface your life purpose.
So go on, get to it; you have some work to do in between hands.