Why Accepting Failure As An Option Strengthens Your Play
Sometimes an attitude of “failure is not an option” can be counter-productive. Certainly there are moments, like Apollo 13’s crippling explosion in space, at which individuals and teams must step up with super-human strengths to make things happen. There are other cases where controlled failures can be managed – especially if you have contingency, back-up plans ready. Protecting against the downside frees you and your team to focus on the upside. In gambling we shall focus on the ‘you’ or ‘me’ of the team I mentioned above. But, even within teams—there is always the ‘you’ and the ‘me’ first that makes up those teams. When a result is sought after or let’s just say, waiting at the end of whatever it is we are doing, any chance of success will always rest first with all the ‘YOU’s’ and ‘ME’s’ that make up all teams.
The Panama Canal has two contingencies to keep ships from rupturing the gates to the locks in the canal. First there is a chain across the lock between the ship and the gates, keeping the ships from bumping into the gates. Second there are two gates at each end of the lock. If a ship were to damage the first gate, the second would hold.
In contrast, there is no back up plan to deal with ships sinking in the lake ships must pass through on their journey across Panama as part of their canal journey.
The difference is that a ruptured lock gate could destroy the entire canal. A sunken ship in the lake would be a minor inconvenience. In either case, controlled failure is an option. In one case there’s a backup plan. In the other case, no one cares.
Asking “what if?” opens the door to consideration of different scenarios. Of course everything is going to play out exactly as we planned. Of course the weather will cooperate. Of course other entities are going to do what they committed to do on or ahead of schedule. But let’s consider what we might do if one of the things doesn’t actually happen exactly as we’d hoped.
This has been a missing piece of our current best thinking on strategic planning. I’d like to suggest fixing that:
The Six-Step Strategic Planning Thought Process
The following six-step process will allow you to create a complete and robust strategic plan. We are not suggesting that this is the only way to do this. But it is a good way. Know what failure is! Powerful words, yes. But, without knowing it, remembering it, and everything in between those—you are at a disadvantage. If you never experienced it—set this down and come back later, you don’t need what it contained within here. Be scared of failure, not winning. However, view failure as a strike—not a strike out or it will eventually make you scared to win. When you win—realize those larger failures might not have to exist as you once wholeheartedly justified them when they occurred. Some type of failure will have to happen because you cannot always win unlimited the way you desire. But it is always up to yourself as to what level of failure you experience and how long it lasts when you are at the table. You make the decision to stay or leave, no one else. Think about this, how many have you won and gave it right back the same day rather than, winning and keeping it?
Aspiration/Desires = What it is you are playing for. What you are looking to get out of it.
Destination = The ultimate goal in your play.
Reality = The absolute and total real-life picture if someone was watching you with an unbiased position.
Alternatives = Other actions or decisions.
Scenarios = From start to finish what has happened or will happen, in so many words.
Plans = What your real intentions are and what you are playing to fulfill.
Set the aspirational destination, which should be derived directly from the mission and vision. This will allow you to build a clear and direct path toward the aspiration. Remember to reset and refresh, each session needs to be independent and not viewed as collective among your other sessions.
1. Assess the facts of the current reality and develop future scenarios by looking hard at Capabilities, Control, and Conditions. Then, develop scenarios to foresee potential changes outside your control that might impact your strategic choices. Break everything down to ‘sections’ and ‘turning points’, do not view each shoe as a beginning and an end with 80 hands presented.
2. Identify potential alternatives to bridge gaps between reality and aspiration. Be creative so you can come up with a range of alternatives that could potentially address the issues and move your play forward. Keep in mind that your buy-in is your risk money. Do not use your winnings to fuel additional play and do not bring previous losses into the picture as some kind of gauge. Your buy-in must fuel your play and your chances to win. Buy-in amounts must be solid and recognized as non-negotiable.
3. Evaluate potential alternatives under different scenarios to identify which strategic alternatives create the most risk-adjusted value over time, under different scenarios. This should lead to primary choices, play lengths and your overall desires. The entire key is to get yourself into reality with complete and clear consciousness while you play. Be extremely careful not to place yourself into bad situations while playing.
4. Develop detailed play plans that address the strategic, operational, and organizational actions that are needed to implement each selected set of alternatives. You need to get yourself into the mind-frame that the session you are ‘on your way to’, might not be successful. Include return times, other casinos, play lengths, etc. Do not ever deviate from your plans unless you are nearly winning ever hand coming at you.
5. Act, measure, adjust and repeat continually monitoring progress against your stated goals and milestones to ensure what you thought would happen is happening in a timely manner and triggering back up, contingency plans as appropriate. Always think adjustment into the reality of what is happening as the foremost thought that is virtually always present and being asked. When the negativity outweighs the positive, it is clearly time to leave and call it a day. Do not return until the aggravation and frustration is out of your system. Be extremely conscious of bad-vibes and atmosphere auras that will play on the surroundings and your thoughts, which usually always lead to negative outcomes.
In closing, I highly recommend from the bottom of my heart, the realization of what you are up against. You will never smack the casino so hard that it actually hurts them! You have to view each and every session of your play as a one time, brand new event without attempting recourse, revenge or make-up on any of your previous sessions where upon you lost. It will only cloud your mind, your vision and put huge pressure and unrealistic goals you probably will not be able to meet. You also have to have a certain amount of buy-in as a one-time event that is realistic as compared to your bankroll and a concrete refusal to buy-in a second time if you happened to lose the original buy-in amount. That should be considered always 100% of the time, your stop loss figure. This way when you win and apply something along the lines of my 1/3rd-1/3rd-1/3rd money management system, your wins will far outnumber your losses.
Once you realize how you lose you can strengthen yourself towards the opposite. Use your weaknesses and downfalls as the fuel to actually win.