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  • Writer's pictureSeanne N. Murray, Esq.

Lessons From a Pool Shark

This weekend, as I celebrated another trip around the sun, my Dad and I embarked on a nostalgic journey by dusting off the pool table cover and immersing ourselves in the timeless game. Between the laughter, the friendly trash talk, and the clacking of the balls, he seized the opportunity to impart some wisdom that extended far beyond the table.

Strategic Thinking: From the Pool Table to the Boardroom

With each shot, my Dad would pause and share his thought process, revealing how he was not only focused on sinking the current ball but also setting up for future shots, blocking my shots, and anticipating my moves. It was like watching a master strategist at work, always thinking several steps ahead. As I listened to his insights, it was clear how this mindset applies to various aspects of life, especially in the world of business.

Just like in pool, success in the corporate and entrepreneurial worlds demands strategic thinking, adaptability, and the ability to anticipate the moves of your competitors and even some of your supposed allies. It's about having a clear goal, a plan to achieve it, and the foresight to navigate the challenges that inevitably arise along the way.

The Power of Honing Mental and Physical Abilities

Watching my Dad's precision and skill on the pool table reminded me of the incredible prowess I recently witnessed in a good friend of mine, and business partner, Mathias Kiwanuka, a former NFL player. As I watched him go through some practice drills at the Giants training facility, I was awestruck by the incredible control he had over his body and the mental acuity that guided his every move. It was a level of mastery I had never witnessed before, a perfect harmony of mind and body honed through years of dedicated training, and indicative of his skills in navigating business as well. Seeing his prowess firsthand made it clear that the principles of strategic thinking, discipline, and adaptability learned through sports are the same ones that drive success for athletes off the field.

In every profession I've participated in, I had the goal to win and succeed with my team. This was most evident during my time on Wall Street, where my teammates were mostly accomplished lacrosse players. Working with them to win was one of the best experiences of my life. As a unit, we made more money than any other group on the institutional trading floor, showcasing the power of combining strategic thinking, discipline, and teamwork.

The Pitfalls of Online Gaming: Addiction and Advertising

The countless hours people, especially kids, spend playing online video games is unnerving. While entertaining, these games are often designed with a sinister purpose in mind: addiction and money making through advertising. They keep players hooked for hours on end, bombarding them with in-game purchases and marketing messages, all while providing little in the way of real-world skills or personal growth.

Classic Games: Challenging Minds and Fostering Connections

In contrast, classic games like pool, chess, Monopoly, and Scrabble (not the newfangled version with teams) offer a refreshing alternative. These games challenge our minds, foster strategic thinking, and encourage face-to-face interaction with our friends and loved ones. They provide a platform for laughter, bonding, and the development of essential life skills that can translate into success in both personal and professional spheres.

Lessons from a Pool Shark: Bonding and Growing Together

As my Dad and I played on, I realized that the true value of our time together lay not just in the game itself, but in the memories we were creating and the lessons we were sharing. The strategic thinking, mental agility, and ability to anticipate others' moves—these are skills that serve me well in navigating the complexities of life and business.

So, the next time you find yourself reaching for your phone or gaming console, consider taking a cue from my birthday weekend with Dad. Dust off those classic board games, set up the chess board, or challenge your friends to a game of pool. Embrace the opportunity to unplug, connect with others, and hone the skills that will set you up for success in the game of life. You might be surprised at how these timeless pastimes can help you develop the strategic thinking, discipline, and adaptability needed to excel in any endeavor.

And who knows, you might just pick up some invaluable wisdom from a pool shark along the way!


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