Saturday, December 13, 2008

Technique, Strategy, and Naturalness

In this post I want to quote an extended passage from Larry Phillips' excellent book, Zen and the Art of Poker. Little comment on my part is needed, and you will see that the parallels to the game of sales are fairly obvious.

"You are luckily all right by yourself, yet you struggle artificially." ~~ Zen master Dazhu

Steve Hagen, in his excellent book Buddhism Plain and Simple, gives us the example of a maple leaf falling on the ground under a maple tree and joining the natural pattern of other leaves that have fallen there. He asks us to imagine how difficult it would be for willful action on the part of humans to create such a pattern -- requiring struggling, planning, effort, and toil -- a pattern that is quite naturally and effortlessly created by nature........

The same think occurs in poker. When you finally become a good poker player and look back at your early days, you will see that often you were pressing. You were like a person trying to force the maple leaves into a pattern, when it was naturalism that was required all along. You were probably overplaying; there was no harmony to your actions. You were not attuned to the rhythm of what was going on, the game in front of you, or yourself within the game. Your emotions were probably under dubious control, you weren't reading the other players very well (and they were probably reading you very well), and you were likely playing the wrong cards. Even though in a technical sense you may have been playing correctly at times, there was no real soul to your game -- you were missing opportunities that were occurring within "the flow.".......

You find that once you learn the game well and stop pressing, stop trying to bull your way through, and get into the rhythm and flow of it, it arrives magically, as if by itself. A Zen-type rhythm has been reached.

No comments: