In Smarter Faster Better, there is an interesting story about poker players and their strategies. Poker is a game of probabilities, so the essence of their strategies is how to maximize their odds of winning.
In a sense, life is also a ‘game’ of probabilities. There is an element of luck involved. Being in the right place at the right time counts. So, with that in mind, here is a good success principle to follow:
Do things that increase your odds of success in the long-term.
What does it mean?
Well, let’s dissect it. There are three parts there that contain important lessons:
Let’s look at them one by one.
The right framework for thinking about success is long-term, not short-term. Why? Because that’s how you can get the law of momentum to work for you. It’s like an airplane that’s about to take off. It needs a long enough runway to take off. Similarly, you need a long enough time to achieve something significant.
This also means that you should avoid getting distracted by short-term opportunities. Think long-term. Be stubborn on vision while still being flexible on details.
Like it or not, there is an element of chance at play. There are things outside of your control. You might have planned everything out, but there is still the possibility of failure.
The lesson is that you shouldn’t be afraid of failures. Instead, embrace them. See failures as opportunities to learn.
While the previous part is about the things you can’t control, this part is about the things you can control. Here you need to do what is necessary to increase your chance of success.
Here are some actions that you could take:
- Build a knowledge advantage
- Be observant
- Build a cushion
- Live with margin
- Live a balanced life
- Have side projects
You can control these things. It’s up to you whether to do them or not.
Think long-term, embrace failures, and do what is necessary. You then will be on your way to reaching your full potential.