I’m amazed. Not shocked, but thoroughly impressed by what Phil Laak pulled off this week playing 115 hours straight of poker.
The subject of sleep deprivation is one that’s recently been on my mind since heading over to the Big Game with the intent of helping Dusty play 48 hours straight, so I know well the potential problems that can come from attempting something like this.
From a pure performance and achievement side of things, it reminds me that records are set knowing they’ll eventually be broken. The more amazing ones last longer, but the odds are more than likely to be broken rather than not. With so much attention on training and pushing people farther, faster, stronger, better, smarter, etc, it only makes sense that we’ll be capable of doing more.
The mental side of performance is obviously where my focus is, but I pay close attention to physical feats too because the mind plays by the same rules as the body when it comes to training, improvement, and performance. The only difference is the stuff – mental or physical – that’s being trained. They are also close linked of course – Phil’s feat is as much a physical accomplishment as it is a mental one. Being able to have enough energy to keep your head up, and to think over 115 hours is pretty incredible. I wonder if he used any performance enhancing drugs or other substances…
I don’t know Phil, or know the details of what he had to fight through mentally to do this, but it’s easy to imagine the effort that was needed at critical points in the 115 hour marathon. Those critical points, where he has the choice to stop or push forward are the same that we face in our own way everyday. Some times you can push farther, and others you back off. The important thing is that at the end of the day if you push forward just 1 more time than you backed off – you’ve accomplished something.
Then overtime all those tiny accomplishments grow into big ones and possibly to make BIG one day jumps. My guess is that Phil had a number of monster marathon sessions that were untended trainings. With all that experience, add in a little motivation, some excitement and he was ready to do something incredible.
*The one potential asterisk in all this is that he did get 5 minutes/hour as a break and he could bank the time to use later. Does anyone know if he used any of the time to sleep? He could have easily banked enough time for a few hours of sleep.
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