How Successful People Think

How Successful People Think

I have a friend who is a professional poker player.  He is a successful professional poker player.

He also has the most discerning eye for controversy that is emotion based, and he seems to screen it out intuitively.  I think that this trait is the reason that he is so successful in poker.  I have talked to him about things that have annoyed me in sports and in the news.  His response is usually calm and neutral.  It is as though his brain knows not to process information that is perception based, that is, not to process it at all.  The result seems to be that he has a calm sense of his present surroundings.

When I talked to him about controversial referee calls or controversial news events, he often just calmly says that he wasn’t able to see what happened through the eyes of the person making the call or he wasn’t there to know what happened.  He seems to know that things that we read and see in the news come through a stream of bias that blocks us from any real understanding of the events.  He doesn’t choose not to think about these types of things.  He just doesn’t think about them.

However, he is intuitive about genuinely predictable events.  He often knows what cards other poker players have in their hand, even tells them what they have in their hand.  He has similar skills in other aspects of his life.  His mind just sorts reliable, immediately relevant data and sets the other data aside.

I am not intuitive in sorting data the way that my friend is.  But I can develop skills that help me become aware of when I am focusing on biased, useless information.  I can develop skills in setting this data aside and not give it power to dominate my thinking.  I can also make choices of the sources of information I read and see.

The benefit is that I can become more intuitive about my surroundings.  I can enjoy my family more.  I can enjoy all of my life experiences more.

I can even be an okay poker player when I focus on my game and not on the biases that can creep into my thinking.  I can’t be as successful a poker player as my friend.  He has a gift.  But I can enjoy the mental freedom that he enjoys by developing skills for managing my thinking the way he manages his thinking.