Monday, July 27, 2020


Having been blessed to have coached some of the best to play the game, I have been able to study their approach.  One of the most important attributes I've found is their ability to constantly look to improve -- even after big wins or great performances.  An example of that comes from "Thinking In Bets" by Annie Duke -- a fascinating take on the decisions we make.  Shoutout to Mike Neighbors for recommending this book.  The story as told by Duke is about Phil Ivey, one of the best poker players in the land:

"In 2004, my brother provided televised final-table commentary for a tournament in which Phil Ivey smoked a star-studded final table.  After his win, the two of them went to a restaurant for dinner, during which Ivey deconstructed every potential playing error he thought he might have made on his way to victory, asking my brother's opinion about each strategic decision.  A more run-of-the-mill player might have spent the time talking about how great they played, relishing the victory.  Not Ivey.  For him, the opportunity to learn from his mistakes was much more important than treating that dinner as a self-satisfying celebration.  He earned a half-million dollars and won a lengthy poker tournament over world-class competition, but all he wanted to do was discuss with a fellow pro where he might have made better decisions."

It is the champion's ability to take a quick but honest look in the rearview mirror to assess areas of improvement.  Bill Parcells once said he believed, "you learn far more from winning."  

The champion also takes responsibility for their improvement and growth when they practice self-accountability. As Navy SEAL Rorke Denver says, “Every SEAL must learn to run his own jump.  You pack your own chute.”