Lee Davy throws out another lesson in life, this week, focusing on Book Two in the Steven Pressfield self-help trilogy: Turning Pro.
Turning Pro is the second of three books that have turned into one of the greatest self-help book trilogies of modern times. We discussed the War of Art and the role of Resistance last week; now it’s time to learn how to beat the damn thing.
It’s time we began Turning Pro.
The author, Steven Pressfield, believes we all remember the day we turn pro.
I remember mine.
It was in a bookstore. My ex-wife was grabbing a hangover coffee and my boy, and I was sifting through the spines. I picked up The Easyway to Control Alcohol by Allen Carr.
“What’s that, Dad?” Asked my boy.
“That book is going to change our life,” I told him.
And I wasn’t wrong.
Within a year, my ex-wife filed for a divorce.
I was sober, though.
And I had turned pro.
Turning Pro is about hard work. It’s about the vow. It’s about never giving up. It’s about accepting failure as part of the process. It’s about suffering. It’s about forward traction.
I lost everyone when I turned pro.
And I wouldn’t change a thing.
When you turn pro, there are sacrifices.
Jamie Staples is a Pro
If you ask Jamie Staples when he turned pro, he might tell you it was October 2014 because that was the date that Staples decided to become a professional poker player.
But that’s not the real date that Staples turned pro.
It was the date when he decided to turn on his webcam and allow the whole world to watch him play online poker.
“Turning pro changes how we spend our time and with whom we spend it. It changes our friends; it changes our spouses and children,” said Pressfield. “It changes who is drawn to us and who is repelled by us. Turning pro changes how people perceive us. Those who are still fleeing from their own fears will now try to sabotage us. At the same time, new people will appear in our lives. They will be people who are facing their own fears and who are conquering them. These people become our new friends.”
PokerStars became Jamie Staples new friend.
I don’t know Staples personally, but I imagine successful people surround him. The day he decided to turn pro set in motion a series of events that led to his rise in popularity. Earlier this week, The PokerVision Network (PVN) announced that Staples is their figurehead.
By Turning Pro, Staples found his power. There are poker players who have earned more money than Staples. They have competed at higher stakes. But they never Turned Pro. Beaten down by Resistance they were forced to beg, borrow and steal to remain in the game.
Staples had ambition. But ambition alone is not enough. We have to act upon that ambition. Resistance tries to prevent that from happening. Staples fights back. He wakes up, he goes to his laptop, and he streams.
Does he always feel like it?
There are times when he would rather stay in bed.
And when Jamie Staples first got into poker that’s where he might have laid. He was an amateur back then with amateur habits. After turning pro, he developed professional habits.
The process doesn’t let him take a day off.
He can’t take a day off.
The beast is waiting in the wings.
Anyone Can Turn Pro, But How?
The Jamie Staples story shows that anyone can turn pro. He saw an opportunity and dived into it like a hyena in the belly of a dying zebra. There is no predetermined route. You can’t see this thing. There is no horizon. It’s not the yellow brick road.
The pro shows up every day even if it’s to talk to the dealer. The pro keeps playing when he is winning, and he stops when he is losing. The pro is committed. The pro forgoes instant gratification knowing that the real juice is in the long term.
The pro is patient, mindful, and masterful. The pro can handle the beats. The pro looks for order where there is none. The pro forges a new path and walks it daily until seared into memory.
The pro figures shit out by experimenting. The pro knocks on the doors of the most successful people in the world and asks for a cup of tea. There is no need for a muzzle. The pro is ready for the bite. The pro has humility. The pro understands the power of deep practice. The pro is in the zone. The pro becomes one with his art.
The pro holds his hand up in class. The pro is not afraid to ask the questions that nobody dares ask. The pro is a dedicated follower of nobody’s fashion but his own. The pro becomes friends with failure. The pro is a masticating mistake munching machine. The pro spits out quality with the accuracy of a Clint Eastwood tobacco hurl in a spaghetti western.
The pro looks into the mirror and likes what he sees. There is reflection and self-validation. The pro loves himself, not in a narcissistic way, but a Don Miguel Ruiz kind of way. A pro can spot another pro a mile away and moves closer like a magnet on steel. A pro never ducks; never weaves; never gets out of the way. He doesn’t have to – he’s a pro.
The pro is a chameleon. The pro zigs when everyone zags. The pro understands risk, recognises it and plans for it. The pro is courageous, confident and cunning.
The pro is focus. The pro knows that time is of the essence. The pro is mindful. The pro doesn’t wait to be inspired. The pro creates inspiration from perspiration. The pro is service. The pro is ever-present. The pro is there when you need him and always has time.
The pro is a hero.
But how do you become a pro?
How do you knit all of this together?
You Do The Work, and that’s what we will cover next week.