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Chance or Choice? – The Roles of Both in Our Resilience

Chance or Choice? – The Roles of Both in Our Resilience

I was so skeptical when Michael Kerman recommended learning about emotional resilience from Maria Konnikova, a world class poker player.

But reading these excerpts from her June 27, 2020 article in The Guardian convinced me.

Life is messy. It can’t ever be mapped cleanly. Every day consists of making the best decisions you can from information that can never be complete. Poker is a way to conceptualize the mess, clean its parameters just enough to allow you to grapple with uncertainty with some semblance of control. You never know someone else’s mind, just like you can never know any poker hand but your own–but you can do your best with what you have.

“Poker has given me many things. Better decision making abilities. A better understanding of probabilistic thinking, the nature of chance, the nature of incomplete information. A way of dealing with the things out of my control, of making peace with the elements of my life that simply won’t be reined in.

“The language we use becomes our mental habits – and our mental habits determine how we learn, how we grow, what we become. It’s not just a question of semantics: telling bad beat stories matters. Our thinking about luck has real consequences in terms of our emotional wellbeing, our decisions, and the way we implicitly view the world and our role in it. There is no such thing as objective reality. Every time we experience something, we interpret it for ourselves. How we phrase sentences can determine whether we have an internal or external locus of control, whether we are masters of our fates or peons of forces beyond us. Do we see ourselves as victims or victors? A victim: the cards went against me. Things are being done to me, things are happening around me, and I am neither to blame nor in control. A victor: I made the correct decision. Sure, the outcome didn’t go my way, but I thought correctly under pressure. And that’s the skill I can control.”

A poker-based version of a resilience mindset.  You can watch Michael’s interview with Maria Konnikova here, free from Leading Edge Seminars.

And you can learn more about Leading Edge Seminars upcoming July 28 free virtual lunch together with pioneering trauma specialist Rachel Yehuda and all upcoming events here.

Worth the gamble.

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