Winner Bets All

Steven Levitt, author of the wonderful Freakonomics, has a great post about the benefits of committing all when you undertake something. In the article he describes a poker game in which, due to time constraints, he suddenly announces to everyone that he is going to bet everything on every hand, whatever he’s holding…

Now this may seem like a strange decision, what if you’re holding a losing hand – surely you should bet nothing? But his point is this; you don’t know for sure if you are holding a winning or losing hand, but poker’s not all about the cards. By committing everything, showing faith and not having to split his attention on making decisions about how to play his hand, he made the game so much easier to play and confused his opponents.

Now how does this apply to real life? Think of the mental energy you save by commiting to one solution and believing in it, rather than having to decide on one of two options? Look at the entrepreneurs, who believe 110% in what they do – even if everyone around them thinks they’re crazy. That passion. That focus. It’s like the entrepreneur is totally in love with the idea – another idea might come along, but even if it’s highly attractive it’s left by the wayside. This reminds me somewhat of the concept of ‘attention economy’ – you have a limited amount of attention (intellectual, emotional, etc) that you can deploy, so the decisions we make individually and en mass cause a general economic movement. This attention economy is readily apparent in the current Web 2.0 Internet movement.

Now if you’ll excuse me.. I’m off to my local casino.

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