pool_trueblue_magazine Food For Thought

27 Lessons Learned from the Pool Table

Insights from the Pool Table

I see a pool table as a combination of craftsmanship and complex physics. A good understanding of theory and reactionary forces walks hand-in-hand with practice, form and technique. If you want to shoot a good game, you need to invest the time to practice. You also need the patience and will to make constant adjustments. If you feel like you’re second-guessing yourself, you will probably miss your shot.

It seems natural to me to draw a likenesses between the gentleman’s game of pool and the game of life. Both are mathematics and physics set into motion with practiced intent.

  1. You’ve got to be good to be lucky, but if you find yourself relying on luck, be ready to get beat.
  2. Don’t rely on others to break you out of a cluster-tuck. Consider the fact that it’s in your best interest to move into a better position, not theirs. If you’re relying on someone else to set you up, be prepared to be disappointed.
  3. Flukes don’t count. Unless you’ve got a plan, even a favorable outcome can be wasted.
  4. Don’t be flustered by unfortunate surprises. Problems are meant to be overcome, not brooded upon.
  5. No two shots are ever exactly the same. The differences may be subtle, but the circumstances are always different. Keep your radar on.
  6. It’s a weak player who celebrates the faults of another.
  7. Challenge yourself. People who look at a situation and think that they will never make it work, are the ones who won’t.
  8. Keep faithful. Being dismayed by your opponents’ skill or your own lacking will only hinder you when it’s your turn with the cue.
  9. Be aware of your shortcomings. Only after we’ve faced our demons, can we begin to defeat them.
  10. Use your imagination. It’s not just a toy for fun.
  11. Breathe. The universe favors those who keep their zen.
  12. It pays to be OCD. Exercise meticulousness when necessary, but DO NOT succumb to the impatience of another player. Patience is a virtue, and they would do well to learn it. Take a moment if you need to.
  13. Show respect where respect is due. Regardless of the outcome of the game, accept it graciously, and always look another player in the eye when you shake their hand.
  14. Don’t cheat. Although it feels nice to win, a dishonorable win will leave you feeling empty, and put a sour taste in the other persons mouth. Don’t be lame dude, it’s just a game.
  15. Don’t be afraid to call a fool out, but you’d better be dang sure you’re in the right before you do so. Cheaters use the good nature of others to their advantage and pose a threat to the integrity of the life and game that we love. Consider it your job as a gentleman or a lady to defend that which is honest against the weak-minded insolence and unjustified dissonance that undermines people who work hard for what they have.
  16. Be aware of the rules before a dispute, and be prepared to back down in the event of an argument. Especially when there is alcohol involved.
  17. Know how to hang your pride. I’ve seen it first-hand where a bruised ego and three surly friends can turn a sore loss into a terrible night. No matter what the cost of the game, please let it fall short of bloodshed.
  18. Adapt. If there’s a slope in the table, use it. Remember it’s a poor musician who blames his instrument.
  19. Think twice before offering advice. Every player plays the game in their own way. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but we learn most when we lose. Let them learn.
  20. Forget your ego when you lose. It stands like a brick wall between you and the lessons you could learn.
  21. Don’t deny yourself the joy of inspiration: if your heart feels it to be true, do that. Don’t let someone else tell you what the “better shot” is.
  22. Be honest with your heart. We can sometimes misconstrue our emotions and impulses as messages from our hearts. Remember, just because your heart rate goes up, doesn’t mean you should act. It means you’ve got something to consider.
  23. Do what comes naturally. Be open to improvement, but don’t let others tell you your technique is wrong. In the end, it’s just you and the table. Someone else’s perspective is just that.
  24. Abolish fear. It is an irrational emotional response that will cloud your vision, but don’t be blind to why you feel it. It could save your life one day. There is a fine line between fearlessness and recklessness.
  25. Ignore the voices that warn you to grow up when you tell them your dreams. However, keep in mind that you should pay attention to the obstacles. What you don’t know can hurt you, and although it’s not always what we want to hear, our responsibilities should come first.
  26. The best way you can effect change is to inspire others to do well for themselves by doing well for yourself. You can’t tell people how to live; they’ll just tune you out. Lead by example, and teach only when you are asked to.
  27. Don’t set off to change the world. Do you. Stay strong, and all else will follow. It takes a little bit of blind faith, but love can help you with any challenge by simply letting it in. Once it’s a part of you, you will be empowered to make it a part of the world.


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