"I learned that the most important decision I could make was which table to sit at.
~from Delivering Happiness by Zappos founder Tony Hsieh
This statement has been rustling through my subconscious for the past few weeks. It's profound and life changing. I seem to find myself navigating through life, and making decisions, based on a few guiding principles; and this concept from Tony is cementing into my mind as a defining guide.
This concept isn't new. There's no doubt you're familiar with the phrase "In the right place, at the right time.", or perhaps you've read Donald Trump's declaration that "Everything in life is luck."
Table selection, is a phrase used in poker to describe which table you sit at. It's an important part of the game because each table brings with it a unique set of characteristics; competitor strength, stakes, game type, and betting structure.
It seems that the more I study success and people, the more I realize that table selection plays (amongst) the biggest role in determining success. In other words, it doesn't matter how well you execute if you are in the wrong business, in too small of a market, or the timing isn't right. Contrarily, even the dumbest person will find success if they are in the right business at the right time.
Fictional character, Forrest Gump, ("Stupid is as Stupid does") became wealthy after investing $25,000 in a shrimp boat that became the sole surviving boat after a hurricane. Before the hurricane, his boat was a financial failure.
Another example of changing tables and finding success is found in the biography of Guy Laliberte. He is a professional poker player, the founder of Cirque du Soleil, and a self made billionaire. However, before changing tables and creating Cirque du Soleil, he was a broke street performer.
In poker, table selection isn't something that is done once (when you first select your table before you start playing). It is something that a good player is constantly doing, because like in business and life, the dynamics of the table is always changing.
When was the last time you candidly assessed the table you've chosen?