Correct play doesn’t guarantee a good outcome

When we get a shitty outcome, it’s easy to assume that we should have done something differently. After all, it didn’t turn out how we wanted, so we must have done something wrong. Right?

But there’s a great lesson that poker players learn quickly: we can make the correct play and still lose. Often.

Correct play doesn’t guarantee short term wins, but it will give us the best odds of success in the long term.

In the face of a short term defeat, the worst thing we can do is to automatically assume that we got everything wrong and change our strategy entirely.

A short term loss is a data point, not a life sentence.

Getting comfortable with short term loss can help inoculate us against the type of behaviour which will guarantee long term disaster.

There is always a chance of course that we should have / could have done something differently for a better outcome. But it’s never certain. It’s never guaranteed.

All we really do is learn the game, learn the odds, learn the players, learn the situations and make the best decisions with the information we have to hand.

It’s just another reason to play the long game.

Play the long game


We’re wired to make short term decisions, by default.

The oldest part of our brain wants us to think selfishly on a short time horizon.

But the impact of our decisions always outlive the immediate situation. There are ALWAYS long term consequences.

The selfish path is faster now, but slower overall.

Even if you’re sprinting today, it’s important to remember that we’re all, always, running a marathon.

The counter intuitive move is to think about how our decisions today will impact tomorrow, next year, the next decade. There is always a larger context to consider, and we will be living in that context one day.

Short term thinking satisfies cravings, but long term thinking satisfies needs.

Taking the time to think long term might not change your short term decision, but it puts that decision within a larger context of cost and benefit.

It allows us to see the impact tomorrow of the choices we make today.

It allows us to play the long game.