Sticking to Your Guns

Jan 15, 2010

As you may know, I’ve been playing a lot of poker lately, and blogging my journey at Counting the Odds.

I love poker because, to me, it’s a very nice interesection of math and human behavior, with a bit of luck thrown in. There’s one thing about my experience so far that’s made me think, though.

I’ve been on a relatively good run over the last month, but there have been up and downs. There are certain streaks when I keep losing money, and it makes me wonder if I’m really just not that good. But I think poker has taught me to trust myself, and keep at what I’m doing. Of course, that’s not the full story. If things continually go wrong, you need to reflect and see where you’re at, and adjust accordingly. The challenge is to find the right balance.

And I think it’s the same in life. Things won’t always go your way, sometimes you don’t get the results you want. The challenge is to determine whether it’s just a short term lull which will improve if you keep sticking to your guns, or whether it’s really a flaw in your strategy which you need to adjust.

I know Einstein said that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”, but sometimes, I think that does happen. Especially if you get caught up in the short term results.

How do you decide when you should stick to your guns; at what point do you decide that you have to change your strategy?

There is Hope

Dec 8, 2008

A short, simple and yet really powerful video, that I just had to share.

To all the other Gen-Ys and youths out there: Don’t listen to the likes of Mark Bauerlein. Our generation can make as much of a difference as we want to. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

We are definitely not a lost generation. Far from it. You can change the world, if you want to.

In Memory of Brian Clough

Sep 20, 2008
Brian Clough Statue in Albert Park, Middlesbrough.
Image via Wikipedia

Today marks the fourth anniversary of Brian Clough‘s passing.

Mr Clough, as he liked to be called, was one of the best managers that England has seen. He brough two different teams up from the Second Division to win the First Division. He won the European Cup twice with Nottingham Forest.

He had very unique methods, and methods that not everyone agreed with. But his success is undeniable, and we can all learn something from him. Here are 3.

For one, he had unshakeable confidence in himself. He’s said things such as “I certainly wouldn’t say I’m the best manager in the business, but I’m in the top one.” He knew he was a good manager, and he wasn’t afraid to say it. He wasn’t just talk, he backed up his talk with his successes, but he wasn’t afraid to speak for himself.

Secondly, he had a firm belief in how the game should be played. When asked what he would do if a player disagreed with his methods, he said, “I’d ask him how he thinks it should be done, have a chat about it for twenty minutes and then decide I was right”. He also famously said that “If God had intended for us to play football in the clouds he wouldn’t have put grass on the ground.” He had very firm beliefs in how things should be done, and he wasn’t afraid to say it. He wouldn’t have been as good a manger without.

Thirdly, he wasn’t afraid to shake things up. When he first took over Derby County, he released 11 players, and kept only 4. He never hesitated to change how things were. And it was something he wasn’t afraid to admit, saying that if he had gotten the chance to manage the England national team, he would have changed it “lock, stock and barrel”.

Confidence in himself, confidence in his belief, and a propensity for change. 3 ingredients that would push anyone towards success, don’t you think?

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Congratulations, Spain

Jun 30, 2008

Congratulations to Spain for winning the Euro 2008 Championships.

I’ve got to admit, I had my doubts about Spain. They’ve got great talent and ability in the squad, but I had my doubts whether they could triumph over the mental strength of Italy and Germany. But they did, and I’m glad they’ve proven me wrong.

Spain’s vicotry is a triumph for more than just the country. It’s a triumph for beautiful football, the way the game is meant to be played, in my opinion at least. There were of course, other teams who played great football along the way – the likes of Russia and Holland spring to mind. Spain went all the way doing so, and proved that you can triumph by being adventurous.

They were brave throughout, and the bravery paid off. Even in managerial decisions, dropping Raul (Spain’s all time top scorer) was a brave choice, but one that has ultimately been proven right. It’s shown that sometimes, the best thing to do is to leave the past behind, and move forward with the new generation. Spain have done that, and they’ve got a really young talented generation now that could go far.

If you look at the team and what they’ve done – throughout the tournament and even in preparation for it – I’m sure there’s a lot of lessons you can learn from them. The teamwork, constant movement, workrate, bravery, willingness to ditch the old and go with the new. These are all lessons that are useful even outside football.

So, congratulations Spain. I’m glad you proved me wrong.