past week I was consumed with refinishing my aged deck. It involved
many hours and days power washing, sanding, extensive priming and two
coats of hand painted redwood finish. It looks great now, but as a
result of my long hours toiling I didn't find the time or energy for my
weekly blog. So here is this week's blog a bit early.
Parkinson mentioned on his @padraig888 Twitter feed recently "Those
contemplating suicide after a month in Vegas have been advised to do
nothing hasty until after they see how they do in main event."
experienced Irish poker pro is known for his witty, humorous and
sarcastic tweets. In this particular tweet he captured the ultimate
reality of poker. Most players will find disappointment, but as long as
there is another tournament they will hold out hope for that elusive big
year the World Series of Poker serves as a microcosm of society.
Roughly 95% of the poker players will either lose money or fall short of
their lofty goals. They all arrive with high hopes and grand plans. In
preparation, many worked hard on their games and sacrificed for the
opportunity to play. And yet most will face what I call the culture of
disappointment. Exerting time, energy and resources only to find a less
than satisfactory result. They aren't alone.
Throughout society, we encounter disappointment constantly.
- We don't get the score on a test we desired.
- We are disappointed in a relationship.
- We get cut by some sports team.
- We work for six months on a business project only for it to be shelved or negated.
Everywhere we turn our dreams are dashed. Whether it's justified or not, the disappointments keep coming.
cottage industries have been created to fight the perceptions of mass
disillusionment. Motivational speakers, inspirational quotes, highly
positive advertising and marketing, along with highly promoting the few
that enjoy high levels of success all go to combat the inevitable let
down of our disappointments.
- You can do anything you put your mind to. Study harder and you'll do better next time.
- It was them, not you. There are other fish in the sea. You will find someone better.
- There are other teams and coaches. Push harder. Strengthen your weaknesses.
- You can only control the quality of your work, not how it's received. Do your best and you will be rewarded.
is true that our reactions to these innumerable challenges and
disappointments defines our lives. Look around and you see the signs of
those who give up. They start settling. They stop taking risks. They
look to escape. They move on to other interests or occupations.
is no different for poker players. Facing the seemingly inevitable
culture of disappointment, poker players will lose the motivation to
keep working on their game. They will play less. Blame others more.
Their moods are more sullen and resigned. They might walk away
the lure of the WSOP and provided they can scare up the funds, they
will be back again next year to seek their fame and fortune. As long as
there are the elusive payoffs and glittery bracelets, they will chase
again and most likely be let down again. It's a familiar cycle.
limited advice I would offer would be to reframe your experiences so
they can be a positive for your no matter what. If you grow stronger in
each step of the journey you take, then it doesn't really matter that
you end up somewhere different than you initially planned.
Don't be afraid to feel. Keeping it all bottled up can do you a
disservice. Find ways to vent through exercise, punching bag, yelling in
a private space. Don't succumb to taking it out on others, whether you
think they deserve it or not (e.g @adzizzy's Twitter breakup rage)
No disappointment is a dead end. Scan to see how you can react best to
your temporary setback. Feeling sorry for yourself won't help you find a
solution to your current situation.
Learn to accept the inevitable. Most athletes don't go pro. Good
workers can be fired. Most people don't cash in poker tournaments.
Return to your core values. Who are you? What are your true priorities
in life? Does this disappointment really shake the foundation of your
being, or is it simply an opportunity to move in a new direction?
know of so many people who grew from their time in poker. Many have
leveraged that experience to new ventures and interests. In taking their
time in poker as seriously and productive as possible, they can now
apply that experience and increased skill set to new challenges. For
those fortunate enough to make their long term living from the game, I
applaud you. Whether by skill or good fortune, it can be a great ride.
For me, I would rather that you be true to yourself and respect the
people and world you live in than wish you any particular poker success.
That doesn't mean I won't be there virtually rooting for you next week
in the Main Event. I still subscribe to the notable quote, "To dream is
to live life's full potential."