I like playing poker. I see it as my “golf”, so to speak. I don’t play the most expensive game, and I don’t play the lowest dollar amount game either, though I’m closer to that end.

partypoker WPT UK Ladies Event
World Poker Tour
via Compfight

Poker is challenging because it takes some skill and a lot of luck, just like golf. Poker pros make a very good living playing the game, just like golf. Amateurs don’t do as well, but some are better than others, just like golf. When you play a hand well and win, there’s the euphoria that I imagine a golfer feels when he hits a perfect shot, and when you’re on a roll, it’s probably like a hole in one.

Once when I went to play poker, I didn’t start out playing that well. As a matter of fact, over the course of a few hours, my cash was depleting at a faster than normal rate. It certainly wasn’t one of my better days, and I had a feeling that I’d be going home sooner than usual, as I set a limit for how much I’m allowed to lose. I decided to take a break, and during my break, I wondered how I would change my luck because I didn’t want to go home so early.

I came up with a concept from a movie called The Secret, based on what’s known as the Law of Attraction. The general concept is that a person will attract into their life exactly what they see their life to be. In other words, if you constantly say you have problems paying your bills, you will always have problems paying your bills because that’s all you can think about. If you constantly say you hate your job, you’ll always hate your job because you tell yourself that all the time.

During the movie, one of the narrators talked about envisioning a positive scenario, running it through your mind over and over until you believe that scenario will occur, and that event will somehow come true because you felt it; like attracts like. I decided it was time to try it, but you have to do it the right way. After thinking about it, what I envisioned was consistently reaching over and pulling chips my way. My stack was already big, but I would just pull more chips into my stack, time and time again.

I went back to the table and continued playing. After another hour I still had the same amount of money I’d had the money before, which is rare in poker, as I’d won a hand here and there, enough to keep bringing me back up to where I’d been. But after that hour I went on a major winning streak, and I turned my last $100 into $430 in about 90 minutes, when I decided it was time to leave. I won five of the last seven hands I played, including the last hand, as I was trying to put all my chips back into these containers one uses to carry their chips to and from the table.

What I saw in my mind had come true, because, at a certain point, a large stack pretty much always looks the same size, because colors change, but you keep reaching for piles of chips with each win. There’s nothing more exhilarating than coming home a big winner.

This isn’t a tale about poker, though. This is a story about belief, about motivation, about positive thought, about wanting success and wanting happiness. There are so many negative things every day, as we watch the news and hear gossip and generally live our lives. Sometimes it’s just us feeling sorry for ourselves, or out of sorts, or unsure of what to do next. Sometimes we’re unsure of why we can’t get ourselves going in the direction we want to go into.

I was talking to a friend once who gave me a scenario about herself, and she asked if I could help her figure out why she couldn’t go forward with things she wanted to do in her professional life. I gave her a series of questions, and when we finally hit upon what the issue might be, she said she worried that if she actually went through with what she wanted to do, she might hurt a few people who took it the wrong way. I asked her if it was supposed to help people and she said yes. Then I asked her how many people was she helping if she didn’t do it and she said none, and said she’d have to think about it some more.

Here’s the question: why is most of the worlds wealth held by a tiny percentage of the population? Depending on which source you use, 3.6% of the world’s population controls close to 95% of the world’s wealth. The top 200 wealthiest people in the world have more money combined than most countries. Yet, less than 5% of those wealthy people started out with much.

That’s an interesting statistic because it means that there were many other wealthy people who had to fall off this list in order to allow the new group to get on. Success isn’t staid; it’s frenetic. The people who want to get on the list are always thinking ahead, always positive and self assured. The people who fall off the list might have been the same at one time, but either got comfortable or began making bad decisions. Still, it shows that success can be had by anyone who decides to put it into their minds that they want to be a success, and dream that they are successful people.

How do you define success? Some define success monetarily. Some define success as happiness. Some define success as being able to do whatever they want to do, regardless of the outcome; that almost sounds like happiness, doesn’t it?

It doesn’t really matter how you define success or happiness; what matters is that you have a dream and a goal and the vision of how you see yourself living. It has to be positive, and it has to be specific. You can’t just say “I want to be happy”; you have to see yourself happy, doing the things that make you happy. You can’t say “I want to be successful”; you have to see yourself doing what you want to do and being a success at it.

Do you have problems at work with projects that need to be completed? Imagine yourself with the project completed, and feel the satisfaction at how well you did with it. Having problems with a co-worker? Imagine how good you feel after having a conversation with each other and discussing these issues.

Here’s a couple of things to consider.

One, not everything happens immediately, but good things happen quicker if your outlook is positive.

Two, you can only control your own actions, not those of others. We often keep ourselves from potential negative interactions with others because we imagine the worst from the encounter. Things don’t always happen the way we believe they will. The encounter has a better chance of going your way if you go into the encounter with a positive outlook, and even if it doesn’t turn out perfectly, you’ll feel better once it’s done. As Brian Tracy says, you’ll have eaten that ugly frog, and you’ll be ready for whatever is next.

Three, think back on something good that happened in your life that corresponded with something you wanted. Try to remember how you thought about that item or event and what it was like the day it manifested itself; how did you feel? Do you remember believing it was real before it came to pass?

Four, do you believe all of this is mumbo-jumbo? Quite possibly it is, but let me say this. The day nearly 13 years ago that I changed my focus from worrying about how I was going to pay bills because I wasn’t getting enough business to believing I already had enough business and was going places, things began to change. I felt the change, visualized what I would be doing, and within two weeks I was doing it.

Coincidence? Could be, but the thing about coincidences is that, if it only happens once, it’s a fluke. If it happens again and again… well, think about it.

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