Hold ‘Em, Fold ’em

In the movie The Gambler, Ken Rodgers has a song about knowing when to “hold ’em” and when to “fold ’em.” Basically understanding when it’s a good time to keep what you have, or when it’s better to just take your losses and move on.

Trusting your initial impression is good, but it’s not always the best choice. Some things are better kept keeping, even when the going gets rough… and some things are better giving away, even when they seem so good now. So how do you know when it’s right and when it’s not?

Here’s what we’re up against…

Everything in life has a level of pleasure and of pain

Even if the measurement is zero, it’s still on the level and each of us has a different threshold of tolerance. That means that one set of rules for one person does not necessarily work for all people. However, as long as we look at generalities, we can at least set up some guidelines for us all to follow.

We all have our own ideas for resolution

Some of us like to run away and hide from every little thing, while others always put up a fight.

We’re not always the best judge of our own moments

Our perspective is closer to each situation while we’re in it. We have our past experience that affects our reactions. Often times we second guess ourselves to the point of paralysis.

We don’t predict the future very well

And even if we did, would we necessarily make better choices?

So whenever we’re faced with a situation where we have to choose,

  • Here are some suggested questions to ask yourself:
    • How balanced am I?
    • How bad is the pain?
    • How close am I to my threshold?
    • If I’m past my threshold, is there a way to lower it or endure it by building up my tolerance?
    • Am I getting too much pleasure?
    • Am I seeking out the pleasure at the expense of other things?
    • Am I on the right path?

If I could go back in time and do something different, would I?
Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. Taking a closer look at it might reveal some clues to what we might be able to do in the future.

What are the consequences of my actions?

Will I or those I love be hurt by what I’m doing, or planning on doing? Or will everyone be better off?

If I move on, am I willing to live without what I leave behind?

“Folding ’em” sometimes takes more commitment than staying. It’s a commitment to me and my future. Am I willing to risk the leap, and am I willing to let the past go?

Are there alternatives?

Are the alternatives really as good as they look from here? Or are they just better ’cause the grass looks greener on the other side?

Are there alternatives to the alternatives?

I have more choices than I think. By opening myself up to finding new possibilities, I will discover options I’m not currently aware of.


Remember, I might not be the best judge of my moments, so I will get outside advice… from people I trust, but who don’t have a vested interest in the outcome. Remember that other people have their agendas as well, so make sure they care more about ME than themselves.

Once you’ve chosen, be ready to move forward with your choice wholeheartedly. Remember, you have more choices up ahead… and if the ones you make tomorrow aren’t much better than the ones you make today, you can go through this list again and plan for the day after tomorrow.

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