Becoming Better Bettors

One area where improvement creates massive leverage is becoming better bettors. Not just by predicting actual outcomes, although that can help too, but getting better at the process of making bets itself.

The process of betting is hard. We’re trying to predict the future. We have to imagine a plausible outcome. We have to put our ego on the line to be wrong. And all this comes before we even add in the financial implications, if any.

Betting is inherently social. Someone or something is on the other side and that means we are inviting judgment. There will be winners and losers. There will be those who play again, and those who never come back after a big win or loss. There will be critics. There will be discomfort.

And this is where the process matters. Scott Galloway has said, “The key isn’t to be right it’s to catalyze the conversation.” Let that sink in. This is why we want to become better bettors.

If we make a habit of crystallizing our thoughts about the future we are giving ourselves an edge. Judgment, critics, discomfort – these all keep people away from wanting to make predictions. It’s safer not to go out on a limb and try something new.

But it’s the very act of exploring, of putting our minds into the future, of catalyzing the conversation around an idea that allows us to discover new things. Growth is better than stagnation. That’s why we want to become better bettors.

Once in a while, we’ll find ourselves two missteps ahead of the pack. That’s ok so long as we learn something and start over. Other times we’ll find ourselves two steps ahead of the pack calling others to follow. That’s ok too, it’s called leadership. And it takes a better bettor to lead.

That’s why we cultivate the skill. Catalyze the conversation and keep driving forward. Take the shot. See what happens. Then take another.