Execution

Wow! It’s been a while! First things first, Happy New Year and Happy New Month!

Away from the niceties and into the central theme of this article. So, today I would like to handle a critical matter, that is, execution. I felt the urge to begin my writing this year with an important subject that really separates leaders from followers, the successful from the unsuccessful, the rich from the poor, and the wise from fools. In one way or the other, execution is one of the most significant elements to success in any field. Time and again, we have heard that “procrastination is the thief of time.” Also, we know that procrastination is the silent killer of man’s deepest dreams yet we still find ourselves pushing forward a significant activity. How many times have we backed out of important but not urgent matters? In any case, what often makes us fail to spring into action may be fear, paralysis by analysis, or the discouragement concerning the effort that we need to put into attaining the success. At other times, it may be the lack of enthusiasm or drive to just get it done.

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Image Credits: Board of Wisdom

On a lighter note, I read someone’s post on social media where he had written that the year often begins in March; January and February serve as a period of reminiscing the past year and also as a grace period for preparing to enter into the new year. Funny weird, isn’t it? It is easy to conclude that such comments come from a lack of enthusiasm and motivation to seize the day. In effect, inaction breeds immobility and yet time and tide wait for no man! We ought to be in action, but this does not mean that we just move around aimlessly without a purpose. We need to have a purpose and to attain this purpose, we ought to set goals. To accomplish the goals, we need to execute the steps necessary to achieve them. Ever heard of the quote which says, “Dreams without goals are just dreams…and they fuel disappointments.” We hate disappointments, right?

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Image Credits: Quotefacny

The Good Book tells us that, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” [Proverbs 4:7, KJV]. So, in the above scripture, we have two elements – Wisdom and Understanding. The latter is gotten as people gain knowledge. We know that wisdom and knowledge go hand in hand. However, there is an important factor that connects the two. This factor is execution. Even as man searches for knowledge, there is the need for them to appreciate that the wisdom is in the execution! If you cannot put into practice (execute) what you learn, then the knowledge becomes useless.

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Image Credits: Highland Park Baptist Church

Imagine you are an archer and you have really prepared well for a particular global tournament. When you win the competition, you get to walk home with a fortune. So, the tournament is held in an arena as large as the Wembley Stadium and is being broadcasted worldwide. It is your turn to march on to the field and take your shots. The only challenge is that there is no target! What! After all the preparations you walk into a competition, and there is no target? Well, that’s madness, isn’t it? Well, that’s how a large portion of the world is today! Shocked? Yes, we have many people with all the knowledge in the world, but they do not know where to apply it! It is said that the greatest tragedy in life is not death but a life without purpose.

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Image Credits: InspireCast

Knowing one’s purpose is the first step to living a great life. However, we also have individuals who know their purpose, but they have a rough time living their destiny. They have all the knowledge concerning the direction they should take but are still unsuccessful. In essence, their outward life does not portray who they are on the inside. On the inside, they may be having all the knowledge concerning their specialization, but on the outside, they are unsuccessful in their profession. Mercy! One of the challenges could be that they are poor in applying the knowledge they possess. Yes, we all desire to be wise. However, in our pursuit for wisdom, we face a lot of hurdles that at times make us play low in the name of sparing ourselves the blushes. However, there is a remedy for all that. The power lies in the execution. Simply put, “gaining knowledge is good, but wisdom is in the execution/application of whatever one has learned.” Also, “Knowledge is power but knowledge without action is useless.”

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Image Credits: Brainy Quote

Indeed, wisdom is the principal thing. We could go on and on expounding on the subject, but I choose to leave it at this point. Well, wisdom is knowing your strengths and weaknesses and taking the necessary actions to improve further. So, for a long time, I have been battling with execution. It has been a struggle not only in business but also in life. From time to time, I was wondering why my life was not improving despite all the effort I put in gaining knowledge only to know that I was poor when it came to execution. However, now I have a clear picture of my weakness.
For a start, I have begun reading Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan’s book titled, “Execution – The Discipline of Getting Things Done.” I have not gone past chapter one, and I am already learning a lot. In the book, Bossidy and Charan investigate how great leaders are masters of execution. In essence, they state that most companies struggle to make great strides because they are weak at execution. My reason for reading the book is to help revive my side-hustle which is in the negative zone despite having a great strategy and a grand master plan.

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Image Credits: Amazon

Even you today, you can identify areas in your life where you have failed to take appropriate action and begin to move. Remember, wisdom and power lie in the execution. Also, remember that the knowing is in the doing. And when you are overwhelmed, remember to seek assistance. Indeed, there is no shame in asking for help.

Happy Execution folks!

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Bonus Thought

We have a lot of self-improvement books, and we also have a lot of motivational speakers. In the present age where technology is transforming the way we live, we also have motivational channels and accounts. So, we are well equipped with the knowledge we need to live a great life. However, the challenge lies in the execution. Yes, the information we get from all the books, channels, accounts, and the people around us would not work unless we apply it, period! Even the reading of the scripture and listening to sermons would not work unless you work it out! At times, the results may take longer to manifest, but one thing is for sure, the right execution techniques will yield the desired results.

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Image Credits: Pinterest

Life lessons from poker

Indeed #LifeIsLikeAGame of poker. Simple lessons in life can be drawn from the poker table. We have heard too often that we should  play our cards right to have the life we desire. That is just one sentiment regarding life and poker. Have a look at the summary below:

Lesson One: Play the hand you’re dealt

Perhaps, we have heard of poker. We all have different views concerning the game. However, one underlying thought that we are all accustomed to is that to win a game of poker you have to be lucky. Luck is an enthralling subject such that we tend to think and conclude that the people around us who seem to be more successful were born lucky. However, that is not the case on many occasions.

Lemmie keep it simple. The first lesson I learned from a game of poker is that in life, you have to play the hand you are dealt. Jawaharlal Nehru, the First Prime Minister of India, said that “Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play, it is free will.”
The first lesson applies in poker and life because we do not get to choose the cards we are dealt, we simply play the ones we do have to the best of our ability. Yes, it is harder to win with crap cards, but it is not an impossible task. On the same breath, it is hard to work your way through your low moments in life, but it can be done.

Possibly, it would be nice to be born into money like the Kardashians, and it would be nice to always get Pocket Aces when your opponent has Pocket Kings. However, this is not always the case in poker as in life. We are all born into different circumstances, how we handle these situations determines how high we rise or how low we sink in life. Hence, we need to play the hand we are dealt no matter what.

On another note, always have your eyes set on the bright side. As they say, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” and you will begin to discover that when you are dealt a crap hand, and you do make it, it is so much sweeter.

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(Image Credits: Philosiblog)

Lesson Two: Make your own luck

Thomas Jefferson said, “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”

Have you ever realized that the more hard work you put into something the more things fall into place? It is during such moments that you tend to fall for the notion that you are indeed lucky! However, at times, you lose the spark that once motivated you to put in the hard work and all of a sudden things come tumbling down. During such moments, you can sit around and hope things work out for you, or you can take the necessary steps to reduce the role that luck plays in your life. The case is the same for poker game when you are dealt a pack of unfavorable cards.

However, you need to realize that being good at something doesn’t mean you won’t need to be lucky some of the time, it just means you won’t need to be lucky all of the time. Basically, the point that I am driving home is that the old saying of, “I’d rather be lucky than good,” is flat wrong, because if you’re good at something you don’t need to be all that lucky.

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(Image Credits: CBS News)

Lesson Three: Be open-minded

George Bernard Shaw said, “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” Well, that is self explanatory, or isn’t it so?

Even though pundits would have us believe otherwise, not everything is black and white, and there isn’t always a “correct” answer. There is an awful lot of gray in this world.

What I’m telling you is, don’t close off your mind to other ways of thinking or other potential solutions to a problem.

Most of the time, in poker and in life, the answer will be clear-cut and simple, but other times it won’t. There isn’t always a right or wrong way to play a hand of poker, and the same holds true in your everyday life, sometimes you’ll find that there is more than one right answer, and on rare occasions there can often be no good answers and you have to choose between the lesser of two evils.

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(Image Credits: Poker News)

Lesson Four: Be PROACTIVE not REACTIVE

According to Steven R. Covey, the first habit of highly successful individuals is that they are proactive. Being proactive means that one takes responsibility for their lives; they do not blame conditions and circumstances, or the conditioning for their behaviour. They understand that they choose their behaviour. On the other hand, reactive individuals are often affected by their physical environment. They search for external sources to blame for their behaviour. For instance, if the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn’t, it affects their attitude and performance, and they blame the weather.

Pro-activeness can be likened to aggression. An aggressive person pursues something rather than waiting for things to happen in their lives. In poker, there is an age old axiom, “Aggression wins.”

In contrast, reacting to everything that comes along limits your chances to succeed, as sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns and exert your own will. The perfect example of this occurs in poker: When you call you can only win by having the best hand, but when you bet you can win by having the best hand or getting the other guy to fold.

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(Image Credits: Meta Management)

Lesson Five: Know when to cut your losses

Jackie Robinson asserts that, “Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead.” This scenario can be likened to the pursuit of one’s losses with an aim of minimizing it.

In poker, chasing your losses is a prescription for disaster. As a poker player, you need to separate the money you’ve already invested in the game as well as in the current hand from your current decision. It is worth noting that the players who don’t follow this advice, and say things like “I’ve already put so much money in the pot, I can’t fold now” don’t last too long, or at least there money doesn’t.

You’ll find the same thinking is even more prevalent in your regular everyday life as well, with people simply unwilling to trade in the old car that they have been bringing to the shop every month because they just put so much money into it already. Or the people who buy an autographed artefact for lots of money that suddenly drops in price, but they won’t sell it (and cut their losses) because they can’t get what they initially paid for it.

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(Image Credits: 888 Poker)

Lesson Six: Enjoy the journey

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is Journey not a destination.”

A good poker player will tell you that poker is played for the long-run; you don’t look at individual sessions or even weeks or months of results to determine a player’s ability; it’s simply all one big, long game.

Likewise, in life, you should not sweat the small stuff. Moreover, you do not have to beat yourself up over setbacks. However, you should enjoy the process of becoming a skilled practitioner in whatever you choose to do. Sometimes it will take a long time before you become a winning poker player, but when you do those early losses will be wiped out fairly quickly.

Indeed #LifeIsLikeAGame

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(Image Credits: Etsy Studio)

Lesson Seven: Life simply isn’t fair, nor should it be

Barbara Kingsolver said, “Don’t try to make life a mathematics problem with yourself in the center and everything coming out equal. When you’re good, bad things can still happen. And if you’re bad, you can still be lucky.”

If you want fairness you won’t find it at a poker table, and you won’t find it in life either. Doing the right thing doesn’t always guarantee a good result, and just like in life, the poker tables can be unusually cruel and heartbreaking at times, but such is the nature of a card game and a world where randomness rules.

That being said, in between each of these kicks in the groin the poker gods give you there is a lesson to be learned; focus on what you can control and let the uncontrollable events happen around you; trying to control, or dwelling on, everything is a pointless exercise and takes away your attention from the things you can control.

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(Image Credits: PokerStars)

Lesson Eight: Protect yourself

From time to time, we can be swindled or be taken advantage of. As a result of this, we all have to learn how to protect ourselves at some point in life.

So, always be alert, be skeptical, and as Benny Binion would say, “Trust everyone, but always cut the cards.”

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(Image Credits: Gambling Sites)

Lesson Nine: Discipline

Thomas Henry Huxley said, “Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, whether you like it or not.”

In life, no matter how skilled you are, without discipline you will implode sooner or later; likely sooner. Likewise, in poker you need to be disciplined and control your emotions, you need to have a disciplined approach when it comes to your bankroll, and you need to be disciplined in the way you play, study, and approach the game.

Think of it this way; it’s fun to play soccer or even basketball, but it’s not so fun to do all of the conditioning drills that will make you a better soccer or basketball player. Often times it’s the little things –the things we hate doing– that are the difference between success and failure.

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(Image Credits: www.theprosplaypoker.com )

Lesson Ten: You don’t have to be the best

It is said that, “To succeed in business surround yourself with geniuses; to succeed in poker surround yourself with idiots.”

In poker, the key to success is to know your limitations and to find games that you can beat and the same holds true in life. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and don’t make promises you cannot keep.

In life, it is important to know that when you are in need of help or advice, ask for it!

It’s simple, but if you understand what you can and can’t do, are willing to seek out the advice of others and actually listen to it, and do the absolute best you can in whatever you choose to do, your life will be a whole lot easier.

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(Image Credits: Vegas Young Professionals)

(NB: Much of the content in this blog post is retrieved from http://www.nj.com/onlinegamblingnj/index.ssf/2014/02/10_important_life_lessons_i_le.html)