Added On: Sunday, November 04, 2007

Know when to be cold and calculating

When I was in my twenties, I got quite interested in going to pool halls with my friends. Generally, in such places there'd be more people wanting to play pool than there were tables to accommodate them. Under such circumstances, it often became necessary to play strangers for control of a table. The idea was that you'd pay for the game and if you won, somebody else would pay for the game. If you continued to win, you could play for free, as everyone else had to play you for control of the table.

To begin with, it seemed to me that the way to win was simply to be the sharpest shooter. If you could hit a ball into the pocket accurately from most positions, this gave you a big advantage over the other players. Of course there was also a bit of luck involved.

My accuracy was always improving, but no matter how good I got, there always seemed to be someone who was better than me. I could hold the table against most players, but I could never dominate all night. This used to bother me, and I'd practice my shots. But some people seemed to naturally be better than me, or maybe they'd just practiced more.

Then, one day I played against this guy from Manchester in England who wasn't as accurate a shot as me. Despite this, he kept beating me and beating me. I eventually figured out it was because he was using superior strategy.

Most men play pool in a pretty macho fashion. They'll just look for a ball they can sink and smack the hell out of it hoping it goes into the pocket. Then, they'll move onto the next ball and so on. But there's more to the game than this.

If you pay attention to the position of the balls, you can gain a big advantage. For example, sometimes it's better simply to leave your ball perched over the pocket than to sink it. That way, the other player can't use that pocket to sink his balls.

I began to become much more cold and calculating when playing. While other players were controlled by their pride, anger and other emotions, I concentrated on the long-haul of the game. I began to consistently beat people who were much more accurate shots than me.

This idea can be transferred to all sorts of areas in life. Emotions are important things. They let you know what you want in life. But letting them get too much control over you is dangerous.

In many of life's arenas, people let their emotions get too much power over them. They may become scared, proud, angry or jealous when faced with adversity. Instead, they should struggle to become cold and calculating.

Most competitions in life occur over time. Use your brain rather than your baser emotions, and you can likely win even over those whose raw skills may be stronger than yours.

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