The gambler

Kenny Rogers said it best in his 1978 hit, the Gambler:

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done

We all have our different thresholds for what we feel is a bet we’re prepared to take. Some people won’t change underwear brands for the fear of being uncomfy whilst others will throw $1m onto a black jack table without a second thought.

Some would say that it’s all relative to your situation and what you’re prepared/able to lose. I’m not sure this entirely accurate. I’ve seen people take huge spontaneous risks with their lives just to beat a set of traffic lights but live in frozen terror of a microphone and an audience. It seems obvious to me that life versus amplification of your voice to a crowd is not the same risk.

So does the guy at the blackjack table have more or less to lose than say, you losing your income? Most would reply that he has less to lose – he can seemingly afford the bet where you can’t.

Are you assuming that he has many more millions up his sleeve? What if this was a borrowed million? He’s mad, you say? He’s not any madder than you are borrowing the time in your life that you’re betting and definitely can’t repay if you get it wrong.

The difference between his million dollars and your time is that even if he loses, there’s ways to source another million, whatever the terms.

Losing money has driven some people to desperation and an early death. Losing time has driven all people to their death.

Only you know what your threshold is but the question is, can you honestly afford the bet? Can you honestly afford not to bet? It seems life is a series of bets whether you like it or not, so you best become comfortable with it.

But don’t fret, it’s easy. Just follow Kenny’s advice.

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