A Self-Learned Lesson Is The Smartest (And Other Things Einstein Told Me)

I’ve met very few poker players that come from as over-analytical a makeup as I did. most of them probably burn out before I get a chance to meet them. Its a stubbornness unlike anything else. Experientially, it’s like chinese water torture with a sped-up drip. But there’s a certain earnestness about it that’s actually useful, if only as a catalyst to personal growth. It’s high fidelity, filtered through conditioned arrogance.

Catalyst is usually accelerative, which is why I hesitate to use that word. In a way I can look back on my 20's and see epic stagnation. I wasn’t inactive, I was always just spinning wheels in rabbit holes that offered very little benefit. But from a more inclusive angle, it was this hyperactive adventure in futility that balanced me very quickly once i finally saw through it.

I had a DMT trip about a year ago where at some point i spontaneously posed the the question:

Why did I choose to suffer through such manic futility?

Then Einstein’s face appeared and said “A self-learned lesson is the smartest!”. It stuck with me because DMT is usually a very intuitive drug, but this was a direct drop. It also made me feel cool to know that Einstein cared about me.

So this is my advantage: epic amounts of clarity (through contrast) on the nature of futility as it applies to the human condition. If I had to summarize what I’ve gleaned from my journey so far, I’d say this:

The happiness or improvement you’re looking for cannot be found objectively. It can only be subjectively authorized.

Answers wont ever satisfy you. All the trappings of success won’t ever stop the nagging plea of the heart. These days I just find answers in what feels balanced and resonant. I know the ache of futility too well to go back. So in a way, I’m not thorough. I leave problems “unsolved”, understanding that the answer isn’t what I want. The experiential balance point is what I want. I pick the answer that offers the highest degree of experiential balance, because I’ve come to see that as the only thing of any real value. True incentive is very direct and simple when its not being filtered through a distorted sense of benefit. I’m less concerned with being objectively accurate, because I understand that a decisively balanced subjectivity emerges exponentially faster into desirous zones than the alternate method of self doubt. You don’t need analysis when you can trust yourself to know, and you don’t need to resist trusting yourself once you stop caring if youre initially “right”. You’re right when your inner kingdom is resonant, instead a fucking nightmare. Miraculously, solutions emerge quickly (though non-linearly) from this approach. You stop assessing and start doing. This form of paradigm acceleration is maximally productive, maximally logical, and maximally incentivized by the emotional gradient, which is all you ever actually experience. We may as well start honoring it. Or be my guest, and run the futile quest for something else. You’ll know when you’ve had enough, and it will have been worth the struggle.

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Nick Howard is a professional poker player and coach who’s been in the industry for over a decade. He writes about optimized strategies for life and poker, and sells advanced poker training courses on his site, www.PokerDetox.com

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