I just had a dinner out in Costa Rica with my girlfriend’s family. My girlfriend’s brother showed up in his scrubs after a 14-hour shift. It seems his director at the hospital who is teaching him during his residency is slapping his fingers with a ruler when he does something wrong. She’s screaming so loud that he’s afraid she’s going to have an aneurysm. By the way, in the hospital most people believe this woman concocted a malpractice lawsuit to remove her predecessor. She is acting this way in a job she is rumored to have committed a crime to get.
The thought came to me while discussing this: How can you help people for a living if you don’t like people?
There have been times I don’t love poker, but I don’t see what good it’s going to do me if I decide to hate it.
I’m out of makeup now with that WCOOP 2nd Chance chop but being in six figures of makeup certainly was not fun. It would have been easy to start hating my job then. I didn’t wake up jumping out of my bed to play the $22 Action Hour for a 6K first prize when that would pay literally 5% of what I owed to my backers. I forced myself to enjoy the process of learning and getting better, even when financially I was getting my ass kicked.
It’s a reality of my job that some years can be spent making up for less-than-stellar years. This seems to be the reality that eludes many guys I grew up with who were “blessed” with a live win early. Of course, some were grateful and took a realistic approach with their money and their poker, but if in your first years you have your best results you are of course going to see the rest of your finishes as disappointments.
I recently heard Dennis Prager speak on this topic. He discussed how hard it is to keep a good attitude, and how easy it is to just be in an awful mood. He then went on to say how it confused him why people feel so self-righteous about being in an awful mood all the time, like it’s their right. In his mind people are disrupting other’s lives because they selfishly show no urge to control their emotions.
I’m sure this “doctor” my girlfriend’s brother is working with scares the patients. I’m sure her constant screaming keeps her in a fight-or-flight state that prevents her from seeing the realities of situations. I understand the work in a hospital is horribly stressful. I’ve read the studies. However, when someone acts like this, don’t we have to be extremely concerned? Her job is to help people. She is unable to help herself.
In turn, I don’t know how so many poker players expect to manipulate top-notch opponents when they can’t coerce themselves to shave in the mornings, or God forbid change out of their basketball shorts.
Many poker players get into the profession because they abhor real work or study, hate working for or with other people, and want to make their own money. In reality, poker is about working peacefully with people who want to take every dollar you have. You are making your money from them, so in reality you are making money with other people. There is more study in becoming a true professional than there is many professions that require a 4-year degree. Poker, like Hollywood, seems to attract the exact personality types that will be eaten alive in the industry.
At this same dinner I had a waiter who was Johnny-On-The-Spot with everything, was always polite, and seemed to know what I wanted before I did. There is a flat 10% charge in Costa Rica for service that goes to everybody but you can tip an individual more if you want to. This guy gets tipped nothing a good percentage of the time. He obviously does his job well because it’s his job, that’s what he does, and he’ll be damned if he’s going to do it poorly.
It’s a pleasure to tip that gentleman. However, I don’t believe most people frequenting this restaurant are going to let bills trickle down from their wallets enough to not pay this guy the 10%. I like the system that 10% flat rate goes to all the cooks and staff, but personal tips are not expected. It’s only if the person does great will that happen.
Take this to my neighborhood in Costa Rica. A friend of my girlfriend’s father lost his legs in a car accident. He couldn’t do the job he’d been doing for thirty years. The first day he’s out of the hospital the guy’s is on the street corner selling fruits and lotto tickets for ten hours a day.
By God, if that man needs medical help or food we should help him. You would not be enabling anything. That man works because he expects nothing, or only general services. He deserves a helping hand. He’s helping himself.
I would love it if we could define more accurately in our culture when we’re helping and when we’re enabling. There should be a modicum of help for all citizens. I don’t understand how any politician describes themselves as a Christian, and then discusses how they want to throw the poor on their ass for not working their way up in the world.
However, if you’re smoking still and want help with your lung cancer, well, you know what, it shouldn’t be as easy for you as the person who stopped smoking the second they got the diagnosis or the person who never smoked in their life. Why is it the government’s responsibility to deal with your addiction? You get a basic amount, but patients who take the proper steps should receive more financial aid, and their doctors should receive bonuses. The doctors shouldn’t be cheering for lung cancer because that’s $100,000+ in chemotherapy they just booked.
To take this back to the waiter I saw, it occurred to me I liked his viewpoint on life a lot more. He was paid fairly but did his job well not expecting anything. In America, I’m expected to tip 15 to 20% to every waiter or waitress regardless of their service. I’ve been chased out into parking lots for tipping less than 10%. Does this improve service? Often no. Other times the server is so fake cheery I feel like I’m being sold a lemon of a used car and not being given a burger.
I love what this teaches the young people of America who often need to get a service job to start out. Be nice to people, because maybe they’ll pay you.
I love what this teaches the small business. Let’s apply the restaurant industry’s model to any other industry. ”Hey, I know you paid me to roof your house, but you can’t really be expecting me to pay my own workers right? I only pay them less than minimum wage. You’re supposed to handle the rest. Thanks for the contractor’s fee though by the way!” Don’t pay your workers a livable wage and make them dance for somebody else to give it to them – on top of their work.
I’ve heard people say food would be 200% more expensive without tipping. That is ridiculous. Tipping is not expected in Asia or Europe really and often the food is the exact same price or 10% more expensive.
I tried to think about this poker terms. I’ve been fortunate to do well off and on the poker table. I probably am able to do that because I failed so many times and always put the responsibility on myself. I saw no other option after a while but to swallow my pride and admit I had something to learn. I then had to expect to be paid nothing for hundreds of hours of personal review and watching training videos.
I was not able to do this when I started in poker because I saw it as a weakness to admit I did not understand something. I certainly was treated as a weak player by many regs. I kick myself every day now for not studying more when poker was easier. I wish I admitted it was my one fault.
Not only did I not enjoy studying but I thought it represented weakness. It’s only natural in school to be wowed by a kid who never studied before the test and still aced it. I wanted to be that kid.
Moreover, why do we study in school? It’s not to attain knowledge. I’d classify most of what I learned in high school as useless. I’ve never used chemistry, biology, 90% of mathematics, my Japanese, world history, etc. Of course, I enjoyed learning about some of this, but many teachers stressed our mission was to get the grade and get into college, where we’d then get the grade to get into the corporation.
No where did someone simulate the feeling of prepping for an important job interview and then nailing it. That kind of study feels practical, profitable, and useful just for the sake of knowing yourself. No one taught me how to balance a budget or talk in a business setting. Nobody taught me the joy of learning about something for the sake of learning.
I read books constantly in high school to hide from myself, but I had time to do that because I was hopped on pills and never slept, and because I took such challenging courses as caligraphy and ceramics. If I wanted to discuss a book I read with someone else and compare ideas I’d have to have them read the book. They never had time to read a book they would enjoy however because they were reading books they hated that were assigned to them, so they could get a grade to get into a college that would get them a job that would pay them. They could not pursue what genuinely interested them, or even learn that that was something you could with reading, because they were so busy being taught that studying must only be done for profit.
I wrote an article about how wasting your time on learning something new that could turn out to be useless was a great idea. I still stand by it:
It’s so dangerous to me how we want to occupy our minds all the time with what can be so easily quantified. A violin lesson, a Chinese course, all in the name of getting into that school, for getting money. You learn only to profit.
My friends and I had to invent games we were so damn bored growing up. One day I came up with “hockey golf”. I put the hockey goal somewhere in the neighborhood, and then we had a tee where we started with a tennis ball. It could be in the woods, at the top of a slide, behind another person’s house, on the top of a hill, anywhere. The strategy implications were crazy fun. You could take the safe route and hit it out of the gate, or you could gamble and try to chop it over the fence.
I had to come up with a solution for my boredom. Coming up with the solution taught me I could control my mood and my surroundings. I had to hype up and communicate my idea to my friends, so I learned about presentation. Then I was rewarded with a fun game. Being creative and learning about my surroundings was fun! I wanted to do it again. It wasn’t something someone just told me to do.
I didn’t get paid well for a ton of things I did in poker for a long time. I didn’t do well for many years. Expecting perfection and profit would have killed me. If I expected to learn and carry myself well everything would have been under my control. By focusing on the end result I’d often mess up the process. By focusing on my own development I’d often finish in a more comfortable position and surroundings. It was more natural to focus on professionalism and learning. It was someone else’s dream that I was never sure I was getting right when I went after another man’s definition of success.
My Plugs: Check out my vids at Pocketfives Training, contact me for lessons at firstname.lastname@example.org, see other stuff I write with my friends at www.pokerheadrush.com, and follow my Twitter at TheAssassinato