Less Certainty, More Inquiry

Maria Konnikova, psychologist and rapid-onset Poker champion, relaying a story from her mentor and seasoned Poker champion, Erik Seidel:

Seidel doesn’t give me much in the way of concrete advice, and our conversations remain more theoretical than I would prefer. He focuses more on process than prescription. When I complain that it would be helpful to know at least his opinion on how I should play a hand, he gives me a smile and tells me a story. Earlier that year, he says, he was talking to one of the most successful high-stakes players currently on the circuit. That player was offering a very specific opinion on how a certain hand should be played. Erik listened quietly and then told him one phrase: “Less certainty. More inquiry.”

“He didn’t take it well,” he tells me. “He actually got pretty upset.” But Seidel wasn’t criticizing. He was offering the approach he’d learned over years of experience. Question more. Stay open-minded.

A good candidate for the second Golden Rule.

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