Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Heartburn across the Pond.

I'm staying here in a tiny hotel room in Mainz, Germany for the week. We're here to witness the final testing and inspection of a large manufactured component of our construction project. Jet lag, the worry about some close-family health issues, and normal work duties all have conspired to kill my motivation to do much of anything in my free time except watch read and watch TV...

... which, ironically, brings me to the short topic of today's post. I was watching a rebroadcast of Charlie Rose on Bloomberg Europe TV. In the show, Rose was interviewing Teller of Penn and Teller fame. Yes, this is the small, silent guy, and I was surprised to hear his actual voice for a change.

Long story short, Teller was talking about a documentary he recently directed called "Tim's Vermeer," which is about a guy who figured out how Vermeer painted so photo-realistically-- and then set out to duplicate it. Fascinating stuff, and definitely worth a listen if you can find it, but the thing that really caught my ear in the interview was Teller's response to Rose asking him how he does such incredible work, whether it's magic, directing, or writing. Here's what Teller said, almost offhandedly:

"[I] love what I do so much, I just worker harder than I should."

Boy, are these true words. Want to do something great? Find something you're passionate about.


In other words, if you want to become truly excellent at something, you had better love it. You better wake up thinking about it, and go to sleep pondering it. You can't force yourself (at least not for any sustained period) to become awesome at something unless you have the proverbial fire in your belly about the subject. You gotta love what you do.

Now, I don't profess to be "great" at poker, but I do feel that over the years I've mastered the game to a level that I can consistently earn reasonable money playing it, beat the average player I face, plus be able to talk/write about the subject with a modest level of authority.

How is this possible? Answer: I spent years working at it.

And how was this possible? Answer: I had the fire in the belly to learn.

Now, I'm not saying you should stop trying to improve your poker game if you only feel moderately interested in it. I am, however, suggesting that you accept you won't ever truly become great unless you live and breathe the game, and that only is possible if you're passionate about it.

And that can't be taught-- you either feel it or you don't. Period.

We're all told to assess our own game, to find our weaknesses and leaks, and then plug them. But just as important, me thinks, is to really look inward and ask whether we actually want to be great at this game (or anything else for that matter). If the answer is yes, then you have the first piece of the puzzle in place to becoming great. If you don't, well, that's OK. Just recognize that you may not ever truly master poker.

All-in for now...
-Bug


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