Ever since I started playing pool I've been a player who has put in a lot of hours around the table. Those hours have not only given me a lot of time for physical practice, they have given me a lot of time to reflect. Sometimes when I'm sitting in the chair watching my opponent run out, I get to thinking about how much pool is a metaphor for life. The lessons that I've learned from pool over the years will not only make you a more balanced player, but a more balanced person.

1. Keep an open mind. There is always more to learn, and if you think you know everything there is to know, you will cease growing.

2. Stay positive. No one wants to interact with a whiner, but more importantly, people who focus on the positive have a better general outlook, and are more well equipped to deal with the ups and downs that come.

3. Live in the moment. Sometimes people are so focused on the prize it clouds judgement on what needs to be done to get it. Enjoy the sights, smells and sounds around you. Enjoy all of the small tasks in front of you, and suddenly the prize is within view.

4. Work hard. No one gets anything great in life without working for it. It's not just going to fall in your lap.

5. Don't compare yourself to others. It's easy to think that things come easy to someone else, or that someone else is more fortunate, but none of that is going to improve your situation. Keep your focus on what you need to do.

6. Allow mistakes. No one is perfect, so you will make mistakes along the way. Analyze them and allow yourself to learn from them instead of just blindly self flagellating.

7. Forgive and forget. Others and especially yourself. Harboring hatred and negative emotions only hurts you.

8. Take pride in yourself. Dress and act like a professional and those around you will see you as one.

9. When you don't feel it, fake it. Confidence, that is. Don't let your body language show weakness. The wolves around you will pounce. Even if you're not feeling it, puff out your chest, pick your chin up and do it like you mean it.

10. Help others. One of the best ways to learn and grow is to teach others what you know. Just the process of explaining makes your understanding of the subject deeper, and you may consider things you've never thought about before.