Being decisive, bold, and committed is critical whether you are at the conference table or the poker table. Yet too often people try to play it safe, foregoing big strong moves for small, tepid ones that don’t help them to reach their goals.
In a poker tournament, each player receives the same amount of chips to start. To win, they must acquire every chip on the table. Players need to make bold moves in order to accomplish this. But what we often see, especially among less experienced players, is that people bet a little bit here and a little bit there, hoping not to lose too much in one hand. The next thing you know, half the tournament is over and most of their chips are gone. They’ve wasted hours trying to survive rather than to win, and they walk away with nothing.
Losing slowly is still losing.
Whittlers won’t take the chances necessary to win. I played like this for years, so I know from personal experience how easy it is to play it safe in order to protect what you already have. Sometimes that works and actually may be necessary but more often than not it is a losing strategy.
If you realize you’re a whittler, consciously start being more assertive. Make bets at the table and at life that really matter. Don’t be afraid to make a big bet or a bold decision. Take a stand.
This lesson transfers over into many facets of life. Think about your spare time. You suddenly have two free precious hours, but rather than immersing yourself in getting fit, or in a hobby or project that you love, you try to fit in 15 activities and don’t enjoy or even remember what you did.
The same is true in the workplace. You have the opportunity to create a program or make a sale which will show your senior management or clients how talented you are. But instead, you spend most of the day crossing minutia off your to-do list, or scrolling through your Instagram feed, and never get to the meaty stuff that matters to help you move ahead. When you do this, you’re just whittling away your precious time.
A budding entrepreneur and I were discussing whittling away money on inexpensive but unqualified talent. You might spend a quarter of the going rate and think you are getting a great deal when in fact the project drags on and winds up costing the same or more than it would have if you’d committed the resources upfront to finding the right person.
Focus on the things you want and go after them wholeheartedly.
Time, money, energy, and opportunity are your chip stack in life. Don’t be afraid to make bold moves to get them. It can mean the difference between mediocrity versus big success.