Thursday, March 25, 2010

Know When to Hold 'Em

"Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well." Josh Billings

Josh Billings was the pen name of humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw (1818 – 1885). He was perhaps the second most famous humor writer and lecturer in the United States in the second half of the 19th century after Mark Twain, although his reputation has not fared so well with later generations. He may have been a humorist, but this quote is worth more than a laugh.

How well will you play the game today? I had a boss who taught me that poker is a game of people not cards – the key, he said, was in knowing how they’ll react with the cards they’re dealt. That simple truth got me thinking about how this applies to life and work and play. You’ll deal with lots of people today, and chances are you’ll have to figure out whether they’re telling the truth and acting in good faith. Understanding human nature is so important in every facet of our lives – our families and friends and neighbors and teammates and customers are all telling us one thing and it’s up to us to figure out if what they’re saying is really what they mean. Knowing the difference will determine how successful you will be today. The cards that are showing may not be as important as those that are still held – take time today to know the folks you’re dealing with and how and why they do what they do. In today’s complex world you’ll have to participate with lots of different people, so make sure you understand them. That’s how to get the most out of life!

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