MCU life tip: If you can’t win immediately, act last

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You will be much more successful in life if you always think about whether the situation you’re facing will let everyone act in turn. If so, you’re involved in a poker-like encounter.

Just like in poker, in such cases the advantage usually goes to the person who acts last. So, whenever you have a choice, act last. The last impression is often the most compelling, plus you have an opportunity to modify your actions or statements in accordance with whatever has already happened.

But, remember, some situations can be won immediately, without everyone having a chance to act. That’s a non-poker type of situation. In those cases, it’s often better to act first and forcefully.

Always ask yourself if everyone will get a turn to act in a real-life event. If so, you’re probably playing “poker” and should choose to act last. If not, often strike first.— MC

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Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.

2 thoughts on “MCU life tip: If you can’t win immediately, act last”

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  1. Can you please give examples? Act last act and act first and how to tell the difference when to?

    1. Hi, Starza –
      Examples will become clear when you encounter them. If you’re at a meeting and people are taking turns offering ideas, when you act last, you can just smugly say, “Of course I agree with Jane’s proposal, but I would also do XYZ.” That’s a power position. If you’re armed and ready, lead off with the killer idea before someone else proposes something similar. Usually, acting last gives you the opportunity to see what others do and modify accordingly. Only if you can knock others out of the “game” by acting first should you do so. Otherwise, wait to see what develops.
      – Mike Caro

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