Daryl Jace

Teacher, Blogger, Poker player.

Misunderstanding of intelligence

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We have such terrible ideas of what intelligence is. There are so many that are so prevalant and pervasive that I don’t know where to start. It leaves kids and adults feeling helpless, stupid and uninterested in the world. In short a lot of people have a fixed mindset. 


I have no clue where to start. 


There is truth in the idea that you’re limited by your genetics. Whether you feel genetically “gifted” or not is irrelevant. Im tired of that lame excuse. It’s not irrelevant because there is no such thing as someone being more genetically gifted it’s irrelevant because it doesn’t matter. None of us perform anywhere near our genetic potential. 


It takes many years not months to perform at genetic maximum. Nobody even has a clue where that maximum is. Do you think there is a cap on what you can achieve because of genetics? In other words you weren’t genetically born with “talent”. If it’s true that your genes cap what you can achieve does it really matter if you’re nowhere near that cap? Can you know what the cap is if you’ve never came close to maxing out your potential? 


I’m not even going to ask if you’re performing at your best or your max potential because you aren’t. Nobody is, nobody comes close to it. It takes years, perhaps decades of experience in one skill to have a clue. And after you spent a decade on that one skill you’ll see a ton of room for improvement still. 


It isn’t just about time spent though. I always ask myself how is it that my grandmother can cook for 60+ years and not be any good. I realized she’s probably been using the same recipes for decades. You get to a point where you’re good enough and then just repeat the process. 


The mindset of continuous improvement, modification and interest is essential. You cant have that mindset if you don’t believe in your ability to improve. I think this is pervasive in people who either A) did poorly in school or B) weren’t born with mathematical/logical ability (I was HA HA). 

The latter is romanticized in our society it’s just a few skills (and these skills can be improved), there are plenty of them. Through coaching poker I seen many people without being “good” at these 2 skills. Someone who was probably in the top 10 worst of people I coached still found a way to succeed and improve by a very big amount. 


He was good at observing what people were doing and developed a good intuitive feel of where people were at. He played many hours a week for a long period without losing interest. He played only games he could beat and buyins he could afford.  


It swings the other way too. I was “good” at math and logic but I had a huge ego so I had a few years where I played only the toughest and biggest tournaments. I went on 3-56 figure downswings (so many I forgot). Even during those downswings I never entertained the idea of perhaps not investing 10k on a sunday or playing a buy-in smaller than $200.



I was awkward and shy so I made basically no poker friends the 1st decade of my career. Social skills in poker is extremely underrated. I could go on for hours with stories of how my lack of skills hurt me in my poker career, I'll just stop here though.