Don’t refer to your past as somehow giving you an edge
With most players, an inner belief in one’s superiority is usually sufficient to cancel out any benefits of this superiority.
I once raised a player in a game of Seven-Card Stud, and he turned to me and looked at me like I was crazy. Demented. Out of my mind. He said: “Don’t you realize that I’ve just come from playing Stud in Reno for the last six months? You give me no respect at all with that raise.”
The correct answer to this is, “No, I don’t.” The lesson for this player (the one with all the Reno experience) is this: The war starts over every time. Every day is a new day. Skip this deep inner view of yourself, your litany of past experiences, your inner feelings of superiority, and all the rest. Because even the bad players in the game will tell you: “Hey, that’s behind you—we’re interested in the game taking place in front of us right now, and if you don’t play well in this game, you’re going to lose your money, Reno.”
This “my reputation precedes me” stuff is the sports equivalent of a team suiting up and running out onto the field with the belief that just by showing up the other team will quake in its boots and concede the game. It is not a good idea to rely too heavily on this strategy. Most forms of self-pride come to grief in the game of poker.
[Many people] think it means accept failure with dignity and move on. The better, more subtle interpretation is that failure is a manifestation of learning and exploration. If you aren’t experiencing failure, then you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it. And, for leaders especially, this strategy — trying to avoid failure by out-thinking it — dooms you to fail.
We do not love people so much for the good they have done us, as for the good we do them.