So, I think it’s about time I mix things up a bit and talk about what it is that has made me successful in life. I frequently have people ask me how I do what I do. I run two businesses and I haven’t had a conventional job in several years (6 to be exact). There aren’t many young people I know that can say they’ve played poker professionally, work for themselves as an entrepreneur, manage both bands and a recording studio, as well as being part of a rapidly growing cryptocurrency research & education service. Everyone always wants a key that will give them the shortcut to success. Though, I still haven’t found a shortcut that costs less than its toll, I have found my perspective and mindset extremely helpful in making the strides towards success more attainable. It’s about damn time I put a few of these perspectives down on paper to help other like-minded individuals.

Part One: Visualize

Probably one of the most overlooked parts of success is the ability to simply know what it is that you want.

What does your perfect world look like? What job would you have in the “perfect” world? What would you spend your time doing?

This is NOT the “law of attraction” or some “new age” path to enlightenment. I am not so daft as to think that you can simply visualize your way to success. Unfortunately I’m far to pragmatic to think the power of positive thinking can do much of anything to actually enact change in my life. However, without a very distinct idea of what I want it would be impossible to create a trajectory towards a goal. I refuse to bounce around life letting my environment decide my fate.

I started by watching other people that I thought were successful. People like, Dr. Eric Thomas, Napoleon Hill, Daniel Negreanu, Henry Ford and numerous others, all formed my conception of what success “should” look like. My conception may be totally different than yours, but the path to get there and the guiding principles are exactly the same. What I learned from all of them was that they had a burning desire to achieve something. To put it simply, they had vision. Knowing what you want is something that everyone must answer for themselves but it is probably the most important part of achieving success. Burning desire to achieve and willingness to try even after defeat has probably gotten me further than anything else I ever learned.

I have an idea in my head of what I want my life to look like and in painstaking detail I can describe it. I try to do something that will get me even a fraction closer to living that dream every day. I generally just tried a lot of things that I found interesting to get an idea of what I like and what things I want in my life both short term and long term. Sometimes, it’s as simple as writing goals for this month, this year and this decade. These little things help bring clarity when life puts you to a decision by way of a proverbial “fork in the road.” When faced with hard decisions I simply look at what my goals are and what my ideal life looks like and I do my best to make the decision that will get me closer to that picture. Once I know what I want, it’s time for some planning to get there and some footwork.

Part Two: Strategize

Once you have taken the time to visualize, it is time to create a strategy to achieve your visions.

First of all strategy plays a huge role in most everything I do. I have a strategy for the way I live, the way I conduct business and the ways I network. I learned a great deal about strategizing during my years as a professional poker player. Obviously, in the game of poker it is of the utmost importance that one has a solid strategy or inevitably winning won’t be a regular occurence. It is through poker I started to understand the importance if looking at the aggregate results of a series of thousands of decisions. It was on the battlefield of the felt that the idea of “results oriented thinking” was first introduced to me.

In poker it is possible to make the correct mathematical decision and still lose. For example, in the game of Texas Hold Em the starting hand “AA” is a 92% favorite to win against “AK” before all the cards are dealt out and that’s the best situation that exists pre-flop in Texas Hold Em. In this case, on average 8% of the time you will still lose even though you started with the best hand. If I had my “Aces cracked,” as they say, and lost with them one time that would obviously not be representative or the big picture. If we ran that same situation out 10,000 times Aces would win the hand the vast majority of time. It took me awhile to grasp the importance of this principle, not being a “results oriented thinker.”

What I came to eventually realize is that when I become attached to individual results of one action I lose sight of the big picture. Like looking for the forest through the trees. It showed me the importance of good habits and taught me the lesson that even with good habits some defeats are unavoidable. I try to look at the results of many of my actions before deciding if my strategy is sound or not. In the case of trading cryptocurrencies, I look at the results of numerous trades to determine if what I doing is working or not. Even if you have a sound strategy you are not impervious to the occasional defeat. In fact, I try my best to maintain the perspective that defeat is a welcomed occasion. It is in defeat that I learn the greatest lessons, painful as they may be.

Learning to deal with defeat, or control emotions is probably one of the most important principles I try to live by. When I am conducting business it is never emotional. When I lose a hand of poker I try to look at it from a rational, logical mindset. It never feels good losing money and it can be difficult to deal with large losses (which is where risk management comes into play, don’t risk what you can’t afford to lose). However, when I suffer defeat I try to remember that if I have a sound strategy then I will always overcome. Then when I’m a little less upset about my defeat I try to make an honest, unbiased assessment of what caused the defeat. It’s never easy to admit when I’ve made a mistake but it is essential to become the best version of myself be it at the poker table, the crypto markets, business or even other relationships in general. Analyzing defeat is a sure fire way to promote growth.

In order to analyze my defeat and see if there was a better course of action or if the loss was inevitable, I use what is known at “Game Theory” or a loose variation of Game Theory. I don’t want to inundate every with the theory so here’s a link where you can read more about it, if that’s of interest:

In essence though, I lay out a road map of all the possible decisions and I look at the possible permutations and causal chains that exist be analyzing the probably outcomes of each of my choices. Once I determine what I believe the best course of action to be, I try to imagine if I had to make the same course of actions/decisions 10,000 times what the results would then be. Would that change the value of my actions? In poker this is slightly easier because I have a slightly more finite number of options. However, the principle as applied to the strategy that will lead to success still holds. It’s not an easy habit to make but it is a fantastic exercise for all types of situations.

Strategy is key to finding success and it starts with perspective. Success is a HABIT above all else, it is a way of life and a way of thinking. It happens in small increments that grow exponentially. Learning to grasp the power of practicing visualization coupled with implementing a strategy and putting in the footwork is what works, plain and simple. As a great man once told me, “success is SIMPLE, not easy; if it was easy everyone would be successful.” So go visualize your ideal life, write it down, draw it, find pictures and start to visualize the path to your goals. Implement the strategy you devise to achieve those goals and make adjustments along the way and start raking in the chips at the poker game of life!