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273: The Power of Knowing When to Quit with Former Poker Player Annie Duke

By December 20, 2022February 3rd, 2023No Comments

We’ve all heard it before: a quitter never wins, and a winner never quits. And sure, there’s some truth in that. A lot of people give up on their dreams too early, or they don’t start at all. But is it always true?

What if I told you that quitting is actually integral to your success?

There’s a difference between quitting and giving up. Quitting is strategic. It’s knowing when to walk away from something that isn’t working. It’s knowing when to move on to something better.

Giving up is different. Giving up is giving in. It’s giving up on your dreams. It’s giving up on yourself.

But here’s the thing: the only way to find success is to be willing to fail.

You have to be willing to walk away from something that isn’t working. You have to be willing to take a risk. You have to be willing to quit.

But easier said than done, right? So how do we actually know when the time is right? How do we assess our current situation and strategically determine that we’re better off letting it go?

That’s what we’re talking about today.

Our guest is Annie Duke. For two decades, Annie was one of the top poker players in the world. Her expertise in the science of smart decision-making has helped her excel in everything from championship poker to public speaking. She’s also a master storyteller, having performed three times for the Moth, an organization that preserves the art of spoken word storytelling. She will share with us what she’s learned through her academic studies in cognitive psychology combined with real-life decision-making experiences at the poker table.

We Will Learn

  • How the paradox of quitting influences decision-making: If you quit on time, you will feel you quit early
  • What forces work against good quitting behavior, such as escalation commitment, desire for certainty, and status quo bias
  • How to think in expected value in order to make better decisions, as well as other best practices, such as increasing flexibility in goal-setting, establishing “quitting contracts,” anticipating optionality, and conducting premortems and backcasts


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