The Gambler is a brilliant movie, not just because of its story but, most importantly because of the characters presented in the movie, especially the main character. I am not going to be using gambling terminology in this post only because the movie is about gambling but, also, because everything is a gamble to some extent since we have no certainty in this world.
Disclaimer: I have to note that these are my opinions, that I took from the movie, but I advise you to watch it yourself, maybe you will feel differently or pick up on something I missed.
The character played by Mark Wahlberg brings up a very fundamental matter about genius, the world around us, and mediocrity. He considers that if you don’t have that touch of brilliance from birth then, you shouldn’t even try since there are enough mediocre people in every industry, producing mediocre work. I know where he’s coming from, he’s afraid of mediocrity and tries to avoid it at all costs which is a rather healthy fear.
And, this issue made me think; is there something that we’re all brilliant at but we don’t know it yet? It’s very likely since most people only try a handful of things throughout their life. But, the truth is that we don’t know; there’s only one way to find out, and that’s by trying as many things as possible until something clicks.
But, one thing I do know for sure is that you can get great at something, at anything just by practicing it for long enough. Talent doesn’t necessarily bring you success but, practicing something that you’re fairly talented at surely does. Don’t get me wrong, you can learn absolutely anything without having any talent but, that bit of brilliance surely helps.
We might not get all born as total geniuses in a field but, we can all become great at something, way better than mediocre, just by having the right mentality and strong will.
Be prepared to fail
Due to that wish of achieving total greatness, of living on the extreme, having it all or nothing, the main character of this movie suffered plenty of losses because he never knew when to get out. Striving for the best, for the top is always a healthy mentality to have but, often, not necessarily out of your fault, you will not be able to get there. You are the one in the control of your life but, still, there are plenty of situations that are not in your hands and end up deciding if you can or can not achieve a specific goal.
If you push yourself and your boundaries constantly for a longer period of time, at some point, there will come a period of retracement. Nothing can go up forever, every big period of evolution and greatness is followed by one of stagnation and decline. So, with that idea in mind, be prepared to fail sometimes since you can’t win always.
You will certainly fail at some point but, what sets you apart from the sea of mediocrity is the way you act afterward. Yes, you can get all angry and self-destructive or, you can get over it like a man. Live that feeling of failure fully, don’t run away, don’t try to escape it through who knows what kind of entertainment methods, just experience it. And, once you’re done, pick yourself up, move on, and try that thing again with a different approach.
Failure will come but, you have to understand that if it’s something outside your control zone you will not be able to change it thus, there’s no reason to worry yourself about the outcome, and the only reasonable thing you can do is move on and plan for the future.
It’s better if you’re prepared to lose than it is to be surprised by life.
For the main character of this movie, everything was at an extreme, he was either going to get it all, or nothing! He never accepted just half of the pot, he never wanted mediocrity, he was always going all-in for the big pot.
And, one thing you can pick up from him, and do more often in your life is to go all-in. The issue with this is that most people have done it before, and they often lost, if not everything, a lot, and that memory of failure is crippling them down now. That one experience of failure doesn’t enable them to move anymore.
I see where they are coming from, failure doesn’t taste good at all, and they are trying to avoid that at all costs but, you will have to get over it so you can go all-in again. However, you have to be very cautious about what you are “betting” all-in. Think about it as in poker, there’s no bad luck (most of the times), and there are no bad cards, only bad technique.
The reason you probably lost before is that you didn’t have the proper knowledge, your puzzle missed some pieces; thus, you have to consider your bet very well. So, when you find that one thing that sets your heart on fire, you have to go all-in on it, regardless if that means pursuing a new career, or just joining a platform and working for free until you make it.
The Gambler is a spectacular movie mostly because of its powerful characters thus, even if the lessons I emphasized in this article are primarily focused around the gambling environment, they are still very valid even for us, the regular people.
If you’re trying out as many things as possible, you might stumble upon something that not only resonates with you but, also, something that you’re surprisingly good at. If you practice that thing for long enough, you will get better at it regardless, and, if you’re also betting all-in on yourself and your strengths while being open to failure, you will be able to win tremendously.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any feedback or movie recommendations.