Poker columnist Roy Cooke’s “Life Rules”

(or) Roy Cooke is a Sage Masquerading as a Poker Player

Roy Cooke has been writing insightful columns for more than 20 years, and I’m grateful for his contribution. Along with John Bond, his latest column in Card Player details his life rules. Among my favorites:

1. It’s important to do what you say you will do.

2. Nobody makes you angry, sad, hurt, happy, or anything else. How you feel is up to you.

3. The right thing to do is rarely an absolute, as it always depends on the situation, so make sure that you understand the situation. It’s just like poker.

The entire column is worth reading. Below I’ve copied simply the life rules.

These “Life Rules” keep me (Roy Cooke) beyond good enough, and keep my poker game and life in perspective.

It’s important to do what you say you will do.

Save your emotional energy for those things about which you can and will do something.

Personal loyalty is the highest ethical imperative. Personal integrity is a close second.

There are only two kinds of problems — those about which you can do something, and those about which you can’t.

Of the problems about which you can do something, there are only two kinds — those that are worth the effort and those that aren’t.

Of those for which it is worth doing something, there are only two kinds — those about which you will do something, and those about which you won’t.

Save your emotional energy for those things about which you can and will do something.

All other things being equal, make every decision in your life such that it gives you more choices rather than fewer.

Make every minute the best that it can be, while still planning for the long term — as you could get hit by a truck tomorrow or live to be 100. Neither is likely, but either is possible. James Dean may have verbalized this better than anyone: “Dream as if you’ll live forever; live as if you’ll die tomorrow.”

You rarely regret what you did as much as what you didn’t do — so when in doubt, do it.

Always have a Plan B … and a Plan C … and a Plan Z.

It never matters whose fault it is. You can learn from it, of course, but the important issues are what to do and where to go from here. Blame is a null concept.

You can never tell anyone what he should do. The best that you can do is give your honest advice and let him make his own decisions. And as much as you may disagree with those decisions, you have to respect his right to make them, even (especially?) when you think they’re wrong. And if you care about him, stand by him, regardless.

You are responsible for all of the consequences of your actions, even the unforeseen ones. Only you are responsible for the consequences of your actions. And you’re responsible for only the consequences of your own actions.

Nobody makes you angry, sad, hurt, happy, or anything else. How you feel is up to you.

The right thing to do is rarely an absolute, as it always depends on the situation, so make sure that you understand the situation. It’s just like poker.

There are smaller but very important thoughts encompassed in this worldview: People are going to change, but they’re not going to change for you; don’t say anything about somebody if you wouldn’t say it to him; be generous in all things; don’t whine or complain; give blood; be an organ donor; know CPR; vote against incumbents; recycle; and never say, “I told you so” — to yourself or anybody else. One of John’s favorite authors (Ursula LeGuin) says, “Nobody who says I told you so is or ever will be a hero.” And she’s right.

One Response to Poker columnist Roy Cooke’s “Life Rules”

  1. DK says:

    Solid advice from a legendary player (and great columnist).

    My grandpa used to always say “only put your effort into things you can control” and I’m glad to add (among others)this sagely nugget from Roy…”Save your emotional energy for those things about which you can and will do something.”

    I appreciate the filtering approach…

    Less things with greater meaning makes you more flush in life.

    Keep the advice flowing, Greg. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: