4 min read

Make Room For Higher Stakes

Make Room For Higher Stakes
Midjourney's interpretation of "Hamilton playing high stakes poker."

I was recently talking with a friend about their desire to play for higher stakes in certain areas of their life. They had accomplished a lot of the things that they had originally set out to do and found themselves in a comfortable place, or at least in a not wondering about their daily bread kind of place.

The more we talked, the more it became clear: the more you have, the more you have to lose.

My favorite poem is IF by Rudyard Kipling. It is something I read monthly and sometimes more. Each time I do, a different line jumps out at me. After this conversation with my friend, this line was the one that struck me:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss...

The willingness to chase something of significance comes at a cost. The idea of risking everything you've made so far on anything is a thought that might lead to a cold sweat. We worked hard to get where we are now! Why would we ever risk it? And that is a very rational thought. But it is a thought that extrapolated too far out can cause us an inability to lose anything. It is a way of thinking that tightens our grip on what we have instead of being open to what else there is. It is a way kind of thinking that freezes our imagination and paints us into a corner where what we have has to be the best thing and the only right answer to the question and precludes us from experiencing things anew.

And when those who think that way are those in powerful positions, keeping everything the same becomes the order of the day. Stasis is good for those that have it good. As long as nothing changes, their map of the world remains true. There is no incentive for change. There is an incentive for lower stakes and smaller moves. And when that kind of thinking is the only thinking you surround yourself with, you become incentivized to keep things the same so your world can continue as you've designed it thus far.

But the truth of the matter is that the only thing that doesn't change is that things change. But when there is a consistent lack of change and low-stakes bets placed, those not in the position of power start to see their chip stacks grow along with their confidence that something must change. Until one day it becomes

...not a moment, it's the movement
Where all the hungriest brothers with
Something to prove went...

Until some day it becomes much high stakes for everyone. And that feels like a future that is not too far away from us right now.

So let's not be those clinging to what we have only because we lack the imagination to chase the future that is coming.

Let's start making some bets.

And let's have some fun doing it.

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