Beating strong foes wins much respect and little money. Beating weak foes wins little respect and much money.
This is a quote from Super System 2 from chapter 5 – Tips from Mike Caro University (Tip 14).
Poker theory says you don’t have to be a good poker player to make money. You just have to be better than your opponents and you’ll win in the long run. You can be a mediocre player but if you’re playing against terrible players, you’ll make a profit in the long run. (The truth of the matter is however that it doesn’t matter what Poker Theory says, G-d decides who wins and who loses.)
This lesson can teach us about life. It teaches us subjugation of the ego.
We see another example of this in Batman The Dark Knight. Harvey Dent claims he’s the real Batman and the police arrest him. Batman just stands watching silently. Rachel Dawes asks Alfred Pennyworth why the real Batman (Bruce Wayne) didn’t hand himself in and is letting Harvey be arrested? Alfred responds:
Perhaps both Bruce and Mr.Dent believe that Batman stands for something more important than a terrorist’s whims, Miss Dawes, even if everyone hates him for it. That’s the sacrifice he’s making- to not be a hero. To be something more.
The same idea comes up in Schindler’s List:
Oskar Schindler: Power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don’t.
Amon Goeth: You think that’s power?
Oskar Schindler: That’s what the Emperor said. A man steals something, he’s brought in before the Emperor, he throws himself down on the ground. He begs for his life, he knows he’s going to die. And the Emperor… pardons him. This worthless man, he lets him go.
Amon Goeth: I think you are drunk.
Oskar Schindler: That’s power, Amon. That is power.
This is also the idea in the first Mishna of the fourth chapter of Ethics of the Fathers:
Who is strong? One who overpowers his inclinations. As is stated (Proverbs 16:32), “Better one who is slow to anger than one with might, one who rules his spirit than the captor of a city.”
This idea is also mentioned in the Talmud. A man comes to a fork in the road and both roads will take you home just as quickly. the first road has improperly dressed women bathing on the side of the road, whereas the second road is deserted. Do you take the first road and not look or the second road and give the test?
The Talmud says you take the second road. The ego wants to take the first road and not look so it can say look what I achieved. Life isn’t about being dramatic. Take the second road.
People would get along much better if they could put their egos to the side more often. There would be fewer arguments if people could just admit they’re wrong sometimes.
Consider this message deeply.
PS – This lesson will also help poker players that bluff way too much and call way too much. Stop trying to be a hero. Fold.