Sometimes certain mundane experiences offer us profound insights into the essence of life. Such was one of my experiences with an auto driver which incidentally was the first post that launched me as a blogger. In reminiscence of that, I thought I will write one more experience which triggered a similar thought process. Last time the experience was in the physical world. This experience is in the virtual world – on Facebook.
Facebook has lot of games, many of which can get addictive. One such interesting game is poker. It is not too different from the poker of real world. But you can play online whenever you want and you don’t have to go to a club and the best of all – you can play without spending real money. After losing lot of games and winning quite a few, I have managed to chalk out a few winning strategies. I have tried them and they work. Not that I am now winning all the time though. But whenever I lose, it is not because of the failure of the strategy as such but rather my failure to stick to the strategy. Execution is after all as critical as strategy if not more. Thinking about it, I felt in some ways the poker game reflects life in general and the lessons could possibly be applied to life in general as well.
There are three things I have learnt. Don’t be a monkey. Be a donkey. Put all your eggs in one damn good basket.
In order to avoid giving an impression that I am drawing arbitrary analogies where there are none, I would like to give examples of instances from my life where each one of these worked. When I was preparing for my MBA entrance exams, the most popular strategy was to register for classes. But I chose not to waste my precious time on classes. Instead I focused on taking mock tests, identifying my weaknesses and specifically focusing on that. Not being a monkey paid of rich dividends and I managed admission to one of the top business schools in the country.
When I was working in the IT sector, I could see everyone going onsite and making big money. The ones who did not get opportunity migrated to greener pastures and made it big. But I just held on, without either quitting or spoiling relationship with my superiors by doing something rash. After 3 years, my time came. I got a long onsite assignment, my ESOP prices went up and eventually I got promoted as well. When I looked back I found myself better off than my colleagues who did not have the patience of a donkey and quit midway or nagged their superiors too much.
During my school days, we had quite a few options – board exams, state engineering entrance, IIT entrance. Most students generally tried to keep all the options open. But to me it was clear, I had the same amount of time as all the other students and my intelligence level was at best average. So I had to be successful, I had to do something different. So I decided to put all my eggs in one basket and focus on IIT JEE alone. Many of my much more intelligent classmates lost out on IIT, and their performance on board exams and state entrance also was also impacted by the time spent on IIT JEE preparation. I on the other hand had performed dismally in state entrance and board exam, but was one of the two students from my school, one of the five from my entire town to make it to IIT.
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