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Can Poker, Gaming and Exercise Make you Better in Business?

It’s easy to conjure up a rather stereotypical image of a successful business person; Early to bed, early to rise, and always enjoying a good workout before hitting the office. This “textbook” entrepreneur probably has a fresh juice in hand on arrival – quite possibly involving kale or spirulina!

In reality, successful people come in all shapes, sizes and temperaments. Steve Jobs cited taking LSD as “one of the most important things” he ever did. Winston Churchill used to regularly carry out his morning’s work from the comfort of his bed, not rising from it until after 11am.

So, there’s clearly no hard and fast rules about what routines and habits make you successful in life. However, there are some activities that can contribute to business success. We discuss a few of them here – and they’re not all as obvious as one might assume.

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Playing Poker

Many successful business people, including John Roa writing for Entrepreneur.com, talk about how playing poker helps them be better in business. There are plenty of parallels between poker playing and business negotiations, and poker can undoubtedly help with things like becoming comfortable with balancing risk, and tuning into the thoughts of others.

Whether entrepreneurs choose to focus on a laptop playing somewhere like 888poker, or instead head to a casino for a real-life game, it’s fair to say they are probably developing powerful business skills, and not merely enjoying a flutter. The strategic, analytical nature of this card game calls for calculated risks, reading opponents’ body language and microexpressions as well as hiding your own intentions, all great skills in the arsenal of a business owner – especially someone who has to negotiate frequently.

 Video Games

The image of someone slumped on a sofa playing Call of Duty probably doesn’t spring instantly to mind in relation to things that might contribute to successful entrepreneurship. However, the benefits of gaming are being mentioned more and more nowadays. Recent studies suggest that gaming can help with maintaining attention and focus, and make people better at problem-solving.

Mindfulness, the now extremely popular practice of “finding flow” and staying “in the moment,” is also something that can be related to playing video games. Some gamers find that focusing on a game helps them achieve this flow state – a state that’s proven to have many health benefits, including offering relief from anxiety and depression, according to articles on Forbes.

So while the image of a gamer clutching a joypad may not quite fit the stereotype of an “alpha-entrepreneur,” it’s hard to argue that nobody benefits from this hobby.

Getting Regular Exercise

Getting regular exercise does align more readily with the entrepreneur stereotype we referred to above. However, for those who do exercise as a hobby, the benefits are considerable – and easily proven.

According to the Association for Applied Sport Psychology and the CDC, among other sources, a regular exercise regime improves mood, helps to regulate sleep and also acts to boost confidence. These are all clearly things that are going to prove helpful in any business environment. It’s therefore unsurprising that a great many successful entrepreneurs fit a regular exercise regime into their lives.

That said, it’s important to remember that the other hobbies we’ve discussed have well-documented benefits too. So rather than assume that that early morning run is essential for success, let’s keep in mind that a good Mario Kart session or a later night poker game can have business benefits too!

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