Poker Like a Rock Star … Daniel Negreanu

Lance BradleyI want to use my experience with Daniel as a learning tool for all of those reading who are open to it. I believe there is a great opportunity to walk away with a tool that so many of us don’t put into action in our very own lives. At the core of it, we don’t DEAL with things. When certain problems or issues make face, we tend to run from them. Most people, myself included, avoid dealing with problems as often as possible. Why? Simply because it is the easy route. You avoid confrontation. You get to be right. And in the end we all know one thing — what you RESIST, PERSISTS.

Daniel and I have known each other for years. There was a time when we were the TWO youngest guys in poker! Hard to believe, I know! But it’s true. A few incidents took place many years ago that created a certain dislike between us. A kind of an energy that neither one of us really enjoyed but for whatever reason was put into the universe. He did certain things that I did not like and I, too, did things that he was not too fond of. As a result of these events we were definitely NOT friends. We were cool in passing — the occasional “Hello, what’s up man” but we both knew it was very surface.

Today is Oct. 20, 2014, and I am disappointed to say just how long it took me to realize just how incredible Daniel actually is. Only recently, I opened myself up the possibility of friendship. Little by little, we opened up conversation with each other and it really stemmed to one incident where we had the opportunity to really let each other know what we thought of each other. No holds barred. All on the table.  Real, uncut feedback. And we did just that. He told me exactly how he felt, what bothered him about me, and what he enjoyed about me as well. And vice versa. We both spoke from the HEART. And in life we don’t have those moments often enough. It’s hard to speak from a state of vulnerability. It’s hard to open up, especially to another man. But when you can actually do it, (most people need drugs or a bottle of Jack Daniels) you get to release a lot of built up emotion. Telling Daniel all the things that were on my mind for so many years felt so invigorating. I actually felt lighter afterward.

All it took was this one opportunity for us to be open with another to create the road I believe to be a genuine friendship. Recently in Melbourne, we hung out almost every day and I had a blast with Daniel.  He is very smart, funny, witty, humble, kind, and speaks his mind. Not just to be politically correct but to really say how he feels about something. I really respect that about him. The thing that has touched me the most is his generosity. Every time I hear the word charity, I hear Daniel’s name. He has given so much money to different charities. On top of all that, he donated $2,500 to a friend of mine because of a terrible accident his mom got in. He had met him for one weekend and donated $2,500 toward her health rehabilitation. I was so touched by this gesture.  Besides being a damn vegan, the guy is amazing. But Daniel being great is not the point of this article. The point is that certain situations will come up in life that if not dealt with, could, and most definitely will, escalade into something bigger. This does not have to happen. I feel that I missed out on years of friendship because I could not take myself to that place. The place of vulnerability. Let Daniel and mine’s relationship be an inspiration next time you are in conflict. Find the COURAGE to go to that person and let them know truly how you feel. Why you feel the way you do. Maybe they take it personally but at least you tried. You didn’t just sprinkle it under the rug and let it eat away at you. You dealt with it.  Life is too short NOT to deal with it. It’s those moments that ACTUALLY matter. The most important thing is to get out of your head and tap into your heart. You cannot confront someone without that.

The moral of this whole story is not only about Daniel’s greatness, but about how we all go about closing ourselves off to the world inadvertently when we let warped judgments and past actions blind us to the beauty in others. Situations like my misunderstanding with Daniel occur to all of us that, if not dealt with, escalate into something bigger and we stick to our guns for ego’s sake

Do yourself a favor — call that one person that you have things that need to be said to. Get them on the phone (in person much better) and JUST SAY THEM. You will thank me after.

Until next time.

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November 2014