Soulful Sundays: The Cards You're Dealt

"Resulting" is a term coined by former World Series Poker Champion, Annie Duke. It describes a behavior common in people to judge the quality of a decision based on the outcome that occurred from that decision. If the outcome was good, we are lead to believe that the decision was a good one; if the outcome was bad, then bad luck was to blame. Resulting can keep us trapped in a cycle of unexamined choices and unproductive blame, but there is a solution. Simply, play the cards you're dealt to the best of your ability.

You can think of this approach as creating luck through hard work. The best poker players are phenomenal at the game because of all of the hands they have played, the winning hands and the losing hands. Instead of blaming fate, they immediately move on to the next round without regret, unattached to outcomes. This is Stoicism at its core. Forward progress, one deliberate action at a time. Over and over again. Eventually, good luck can't help but show up. Trust the process.

Many impressive works have been created through the dedicated practice of focusing on the process rather than the result. Think about how the pyramids were built, or great novels written, or meaningful lives lived. One stone, one page, and one deed at a time. And while this might sound easy, it is incredibly (and I mean, incredibly) hard to do. Humans are constantly seeking comfort, so when something doesn't go the way we want, it is much easier to blame luck than to march steadily forward. Blaming fate strips us of our power and leaves us in a place of frustrated and misdirected emotion. What or who are we actually upset with when things don't go our way? If you played your hand to the best of your ability, then you have done all you needed. Play the next one with just as much intention and focus.

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