image We got to Risk it for the Biscuit.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/playamongfriends/17791201591/in/photolist-fBTZwp-dStNmD-gbpcsh-7mZA1-Kzbc9-KzfYi-5M7TWv-7GfAjM-46ZZB-7mVUk-6g26Kw-4L8Nwr-4uNN5B-4uocig-4uoci8-bVXW3T-8kuDi-dRw2PG-4SVkgF-DkEaE-Dkuic-4SVfbk-4uNN5z-4SZr5m-4uNN5r-sa71w1-4Y34KY-zgi7TG-sXPpQW-s2dN6c-sFrz7C-sVHePm-s2dPd2-s22Er7-sXPo7L-s2dPwi-sFrzMW-sY38mv-sY38vZ-yDqrQE-t4MKAj-sPDxU6-t4MuvQ-sahTuc-t79yp2-rr15mf

Routine. Day in, day out, the same old grind. I can’t make many mistakes if I stay on the same path and do the same things tomorrow that I am doing today.

I know the lay of the land. I can easily predict what will happen and when it will happen.

My footing feels safe. I can’t lose what I don’t put in the middle. Everything I have is safe and sound. I have no need to worry.  I have complete control. Chaos is a word far from my vocabularial lifestyle.

For years I held to this practice. It was not an active choice I made, it was simply the reality of the life I was content with living. 

I was stuck in a dead end job. I didn’t have any glamorous future prospects for a career or love. I rarely if ever took a chance on sparking up a conversation with someone outside of my small circle of friends. I was content being my introverted self.

While at the time I had reached as high as I could climb for my training and ability in the food and beverage industry, I was content to take the livable wages. I felt comfortable, but I was living paycheck to paycheck. It was not how I envisioned my life to be at 26 years old.

I was scared of change. Change altered my routine. I needed something to spark a change within me. The dullness of my routine battled with the fear of change.

The initial spark finally came when my father got sick. I have written many, many blogs/articles, but I rarely talk about my family.

I had a great upbringing. Two loving parents. They always tried to push me to do more and be better but I was rebellious in my youth and early adulthood.

After my rebellion stage it just turned to adult complacency.

Then my father got sick.

That initial spark hit me like a ton of bricks. I could go on and on about my father, and what a great father, man and human he was. However still even four years after his passing, I like to keep that one part of my life private.

It did encourage me to get off my ass. It encouraged me to reevaluate my life and my beliefs. Needless to say, I took a 180 degree turn in almost every aspect of my life. Emotionally, psychologically, philosophically along with other lifestyle outlooks and changes.

I can’t win lose what I don’t put in the middle soon turned to let’s start placing some wagers.

They were small at first. I began looking for a more rewarding career. For this I needed new training. I went back to school to get my masters degree. The only risk here was that going back to school meant cutting back on my unfulfilling job of servicing over privileged elitists.

I decided to risk more.

I quit my job. Sink or swim time. I had a higher educational degree and was ready to test the waters. It wasn’t easy by any means. Competing for jobs is a tremendous task within the Washington DC beltway. Right before I felt like I was going to lose all I had risked, I landed a job that filled my soul. Finally a reward!

Next I decided to try my hand at love.

Poker and love is such a tremendous metaphor. A heads up match. Both players are interested in the game and dealt cards.

We feel each other out. Put chips in the middle if you like the hand you are dealt or fold and wait for a better hand.

Finally you get a hand you like. The other player likes their hand. Here’s where the real game begins and the questions start arising.

Do I bet first and risk coming on too strong? Or is it better if I check this round to keep her in the game a little longer? What if she bets? Do I call and see another card, which would be see more of her and her personality, or do I possibly raise the bet because I know my feelings and I’m already convinced I want to further pursue this girl? If I bet too much over her bet, will I scare her off and force her to fold? The possibilities are mind boggling to those who understand the game of Texas Hold’em poker.

I decided to sit at the table finally. I saw some interesting hands. I folded a few early because the cards were no good. Some players folded on me because they felt their cards were no good.

A few games were interesting and very strategic. We both liked our hands but we were cautious with our betting. The cautious approach never ended up working for me, and personally, I always found myself just calling all bets, never raising even if I loved my “hand.”

Perhaps if I bet the stakes would have been raised in those games. Or maybe the game would have ended earlier. Either way, I could have saved a lot of time if I threw caution to the wind and bet with my gut and my heart. I rarely did that.

Those games where I lost weren’t failures though. I learned such a great deal about how to play the game and how to love.

We can’t lose what we don’t put in the middle, but we can’t win much either without risking something. I learned it’s better to risk, lose and learn a lesson than it is to just continue to call and never raise the stakes. I’m not afraid to show my hand, and I never bluff in this game.

That’s my metaphorical poker philosophy on love. Playing it safe got me nowhere. When I finally decided to start playing I won some, I lost some and I learned a great deal.

Soon I am about to push all my chips in the middle. Even though I know the she will call my bet, I am happy I had the courage to keep playing the game long enough to learn many life lessons and learn more about myself from a few great players and gain the courage to risk it all.

We can either sit on the sidelines and watch other’s play or we can take a seat and start taking some risk. The bigger the risk, the bigger potential reward in life, career and love, but keep in mind risk also entails the possibility of losing.

If we lose, learn. If we learn, we never lose.

Author: Adam Wilkinson

Image: flickr

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