Thursday, March 24, 2005


Inspired by both Iggy's and Maudie's posts as well as to move the bad beat hand history away from the top of the blog, I began thinking about what defines success.

There are those who live their lives looking for approval in the eyes of others. For some, it is their parents, while for others, it is their peers. They make decisions hoping that those they look up to will view them favorably as if to say "Well done." Others need only satisfy an internal approval and don't rely on outside forces to define who they are.

Within the realm of poker, what defines success for you?

Are we looking for respect from our peers? In some small way, I think we are. That's why we're chronicling our journeys via blogging, hoping not only to make progress in understanding the game, but also hoping that others will look favorably upon our growth. I would go so far as to say that it is a motivating factor for me, why else would I publish my online financial status if not for the purposes of reaffirmation of my success?

Are we simply hoping to make money? That's an easy one. That's how we keep score. If money were not a factor, then we'd be playing at the play money tables. I think it's a significant factor, but I believe in the end, it's neither the only nor most important one.

Are we looking for happiness? For many of us, poker represents a fun diversion, perhaps even an escape from the mundane world of our professional careers. What happens when poker becomes so frustrating that it either detracts from our everyday lives or simply becomes an obsession in and of itself? Does that make our poker endeavors a failure?

For me, the bottom line is that you have to look within yourself to determine what defines success, both in poker and in life. Let me give you a personal example. Those who know me in real life either through poker or through my job won't be too surprised.

Where I work, there are some very successful people who have given their lives to the company. They have made sacrifices and done whatever it took to forge ahead with their careers. Have I done that? No. Deep down, I truly believe that if I made such a decision, I too could have been on the corporate fast track. Rather than devote my life to that goal, I've simply chosen not to. My time is better spent with the wife and kids. I can still have some measure of career success, but from my perspective, any more time devoted towards it would have diminishing returns in an overall quality of life sense. I recently had to explain this to my mother who couldn't understand that my job doesn't define who I am in any way. My father was a career man at the company where I'm currently employed; but I know he made some of the same choices back then that I'm making now and I'm forever grateful.

So I rest comfortably each night, confident that I can choose my own definition of success and live my life according to that definition. I think that if we all sat down and truly chose what was important to us, again in life or in poker, we could strive towards that elusive goal of success.

While we can congratulate other bloggers for their successes, don't let someone else's achievements make you feel like you are somehow not as successful. We've had bloggers play in WPT events, become pros, work for online sites and win tens of thousands of dollars. To be sure, I don't intend to belittle those achievements in any way whatsoever. But don't let those achievements stand in the way of meeting your own definitions of success. Do what's right for you and be confident that the decisions you make towards those goals are the right ones.


After rereading that, I'm not 100% sure I've made my point, but that's my best shot :)

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