‘Pay attention’: Hard lessons from the poker table

Poker is like real life. Every game, every hand, is a fresh scenario, with certain constraints. Some elements known, some unknown. Partly based on the probabilities of the cards. Partly based on the skills and personalities of the players who come and go from the table. Partly based on the room you are in, the distractions, how well you slept. Whether you are winning or losing. Like that.

Continue reading “‘Pay attention’: Hard lessons from the poker table”

The power of fear

Kayaking in the Bay of Fundy, I saw a giant shark fin coming at me out of the mist. My heart raced. My brain snapped into high gear. I was, in a word, afraid.

Actually, this never happened.

What really happened was that I recalled what two fishermen had told me the last time I was out paddling. Some other fishermen had told them they had seen a huge fin out there. One guy alone in his boat had been afraid enough to get the hell out of there. Continue reading “The power of fear”

The price of perfect: The mythology of the digital age

Technology is a nice place to visit, but do you want to live there?

The airplane stops. Everyone turns on their smartphone. There is a lot of Facebook. A man passes my wife’s bag from the overhead storage. “Thanks,” I say. “How is your day going?” Suddenly he looks suspicious. “Why do you ask?” he says, his eyes narrowing.

We have a brief chat. I can tell he isn’t used to speaking to people on airplanes. Entering the terminal, most people are staring at their phones. Inside, almost everyone is. Few people are talking to each other. Social now means media, not chatting to the person beside you.

This is the new normal. Everywhere a laptop, a tablet, a smart phone. All the pretty pictures, clever videos, smart websites. Check social media and see your friends smiling on a mountaintop. Their life is wonderful, and yours should be too. Continue reading “The price of perfect: The mythology of the digital age”