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5 Things Playing Blackjack Taught Me About Business

5 Things Playing Blackjack Taught Me About Business

I enjoy blackjack. I’m not a professional blackjack player, nor did I ever make millions or even thousands off it. It was a game I’ve played for years just for fun.

But blackjack is not just a game of pure chance. There is a science and strategy behind those cards, and the same rules which helped me in blackjack can help you in business. Just look at Jeff Ma, who has attributed his success as a businessman to the things he learned playing blackjack.

Here are five important rules which you can learn at the blackjack table which are just as important for a business:

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Don’t look for a single, decisive winner

Every businessman knows about this rule, but it is harder to follow than it sounds. And this is true in blackjack as well. No matter how good you are at blackjack, you will have plenty of moments when you find yourself down by a lot. The temptation at that point is to make one massive gamble which will recoup all of your losses in one swift stroke.

That is the absolute worst thing which you can do. If your gamble succeeds, you are only at zero. But if it fails, you are in a huge pile of trouble. When you are down at a blackjack table or running a business, the only way to recover and get back into the black is with slow, steady bets.

Risk is not bad

One important element in blackjack is the double down. In double down, the player doubles his bet in exchange for only getting one more card.

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Blackjack specialists will tell you to always double down if you have an 11, and probably if you have a 10 or 9. But all too often, blackjack players will hesitate to do that. They worry about taking risks or think that they may need just another card after the double down.

But when the odds are in your favor, you have to strike while the iron is hot. Of course there are many ways to stack odds in your favor. Every blackjack player knows how card counting can turn the tables on the dealer, and there are similar techniques you can use in business.  When you spot a good business opportunity, you cannot just wait and fret about what might go wrong. It is said that luck is when preparation meets opportunity, which means your business has to seize the opportunity when it comes.

Don’t let success get to your head

The story of leaders who became arrogant after tasting a period of success and then fall is as old as human history itself. And in gambling, players will think they are on a hot streak and make risker bets.

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There is no such thing as a “hot streak”, and a basic probability class can tell you that much. Success does not automatically beget future success. And in business, a period of good deals does not mean that you can relax and assume things will continue to go your way. Just a slight misstep or some increased carelessness, and you can find yourself back at step one both in gambling and in business.

Never lose your temper

Blackjack is ultimately a game where people should enjoy themselves. But as stories like this shows, players who lose react by venting their rage out on the dealer, other players, and absolutely anything else which they can blame for their loss besides themselves.

Behavior like that is a sign of poor leadership and character, and is just as ugly in the business world as in blackjack. There are times when a business screw up will happen because an employee or colleague made a bad decision. But the employer who reacts to that by screaming and berating them is one who will not be an effective leader. A truly effective leader can stay calm even when everyone is panicking, and find a way to fix the problem.

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Know when to fold ‘em

Sometimes, you have a bad streak at the blackjack table. No matter what strategy you use, the fates themselves appear to be conspire against you and you are falling more and more behind.

On nights like that, the hardest thing to do is to accept that you’ve lost and leave. But if you don’t want to lose far more than you were prepared to spend when you sat down, you have to get up and walk away from the table. This is especially so because after such a string of defeats, your nerves and emotions will be badly frayed and prevent calm, rational judgment.

And this is true for a business. Whether it is knowing to end a certain business deal or in the worst case closing down the business altogether, there is a point where you can do no more and trying is just shoveling more money into a hole. You have to know when to stop and admit that it is over.

Featured photo credit: Images Money via flickr.com

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Last Updated on February 25, 2020

15 Personal Goals for Work to Help You Succeed

15 Personal Goals for Work to Help You Succeed

It’s easy to blend into the crowd at work. The majority of workers choose to settle for mediocrity and anonymity; especially if they work in a large or virtual work environment. It’s much easier to go to work every day and contribute just enough to meet your job’s requirements than it is to leave a lasting impression on your coworkers.

What isn’t easy is standing out.

By setting personal goals for work, you can intentionally work towards getting noticed which will propel you towards getting your dream job.

Do not settle for mediocrity and do not settle for anonymity. Dream big and stand out from the crowd. Here are 15 examples of personal goals for work to help you stand out from your coworkers and lead a successful career.

1. Self-Mastery

Self-Mastery is all about deepening your awareness of your skills, strengths and weaknesses. Once you identify what makes you unique and what you’re most passionate about, use that awareness to develop your skills even further.

Use your awareness of your weaknesses to identify areas of improvement. By practising your self-awareness in these areas, you will demonstrate an ability to self regulate your development and growth.

2. Being Grateful for Where You Are

Take a moment and reflect on how hard you worked to get where you are today.

How many times did you apply to your job? How many interviews did you go through? How many hours have you put in?

You’ve worked hard to get to where you are today. Be grateful of all of the hard work you’ve put in to get you where you are today.

By practising gratitude, you open yourself up to receive what’s next.

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3. Staying Excited for What’s Next

The perfect vibrational stance to be in to be actively working towards your goals is to practice gratitude for your current situation and to feel excitement for what’s coming next.

Expect better things to come. Anticipate that you will accomplish your goal and that you’re working towards your dream job. Be open to receiving what’s coming your way next.

4. Celebrating Each Others’ Differences

As coworkers, we all bring different strengths to a team environment. Introverts bring deep thought to current issues and extroverts do well in busy meetings and discussions. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is an excellent measurement of personality differences and brings an interesting review of your team’s personalities interact with each other.

If possible, request to have an MBTI done with your coworkers so that you can learn more about your similarities and differences; or recognize the differences in your team’s personalities and appreciate that they each contribute different values to the group.

5. Using Your Team’s Differences to Your Advantage

Once you learn more about the different personalities on your team, you can work more strategically with your coworkers. Some coworkers may present as introverts who prefer to take time away to review information before making decisions. Other coworkers may present as extroverts who excel in group discussions and facilitating presentations.

Once you identify the different strengths of your coworkers, you can plan projects and group work according to each other’s personality strengths.

6. Managing Conflicts Effectively

If conflict arises between yourself and another coworker, take time to assess how you’d like to work through the situation rather than reacting in the heat of the moment.

Request a private meeting with the other coworker and present the facts in an objective manner. Initiate a practical conversation to discuss the issue of conflict and then find a mutually-beneficial solution together.

Doing so will show your coworkers and your boss you’re capable of dealing with emotionally-sensitive discussions while keeping a cool head.

7. Becoming a ‘Yes’ Person

Volunteer for new projects and special assignments. Be the first person to put up your hand.

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If your boss is looking for someone to step up, be the first to volunteer. It shows you’re engaged and gives you the opportunity to learn new skills.

8. Saying ‘No’ When Necessary

This may seem contradictory to the previous point, but this is not!

If you’re close to burnout or have a lot going on in your personal life, choose to say no to additional work if you must.

Be aware of your own mental state of wellness. If you’re incapable of taking on more, say no rather than saying yes and being unable to submit impeccable work.

If necessary, share with your boss privately that you’re not in the right place to take on work but you intend to get back on track and as soon as possible.

9. Showing Humility

It’s not possible to be perfect at everything all the time. If you make a mistake, own up to it.

Let your boss know or coworker know that you made a mistake and you want to correct it. Tell them that you have learned from this experience and you will do things differently going forward.

Practice humility so that you may demonstrate a willingness to do better.

10. Modeling Work Life Balance

Make your own self care a priority so that you’re allocating time out of the office to your exercise, health and nutrition goals.

Carve out time before or after work to taking care of you. Propose walking meetings during the day or try organizing a group fitness classes at lunch. Invite your coworkers to join you in trying a new yoga class.

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Show your coworkers that you’re committed to work life balance so that you can show up as your best self while at work.

11. Under Promise, Over Deliver

If you commit to finishing a project by a certain time, be certain that you will do what you said you’re going to do when you said you’re going to do it.

Do not commit to completing a project using an unrealistic time frame. If you’re unable to deliver, you will inevitably harm your reputation and will negatively affect others’ expectations of your abilities.

Rather than committing to more than you can accomplish, commit to what you’re capable of or slightly less so that you can over deliver on your promises.

12. Finding Your Own Answers

Rather than quickly turning to your coworkers or your boss when you have questions, do your best to find your own answers.

Review company policies, best practices and previous situations. Use critical thinking to determine how to best handle a situation and demonstrate that you’re able to make sound decisions when it’s required.

After doing your research, present the situation to your boss and share how you would handle the situation. Ask for guidance to see if you’re on the right track. By doing so you’ll demonstrate drive and ambition.

13. Asking for Help

If a situation arises that is above your pay-grade and you must ask for help or guidance, do so with humility.

Respectfully ask your boss or coworkers for their help. Let them know that you are grateful for their assistance and that they’re willing to share their knowledge. Offer to be of assistance to them if it’s needed in the future and repay the favor.

Here’re some tips for you: How to Ask for Help When You Feel Silly to Do So

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14. Offering Help

If you can see a fellow coworker is struggling, offer to help them out. Offering your help will demonstrate your ability to work as a team player.

If your workplace has hired a new employee, offer to take them under your wing and show them the ropes. Let your boss know that you’d be happy to show them around.

It will demonstrate your seniority in the workplace and your interest in fostering teamwork and morale.

15. Taking a Brain Break Regularly

Take a few moments whenever you can for a mini meditation. In the bathroom, the coffee room, or on the subway on your way to work, take a few deep breaths and center your mind.

Slow down your heart rate and tune in to your inner self. Remind yourself that work can be stressful but we don’t need to let the stress affect us. Return to this grounded and centered state whenever you feel out of alignment.

The Bottom Line

Use this list of personal goals to skyrocket your career path at work. Let your actions speak louder than words.

Demonstrate to your boss and your coworkers that you don’t intend to settle for mediocrity; you intend to stand out from the crowd and will do so by implementing personal goals and actively working towards your dream job.

More Tips About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

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