On happiness, confidence & gratitude
People always ask me on Twitch or YouTube how I can be so "happy," motivated, and confident starting a brand new poker session every day - especially after I have had a stretch of big losses, bad beats, or bad play of my own. The simple answer to this is: I may very well not be happy, or I may very well not have felt this way before picking up my work. But I try to reach the state of confidence, motivation, and happiness before I get going as a routine, because it is actually not that hard to accomplish. The simple secret I found to be working for me is: have gratitude.
For what you may ask? Getting sucked out on the river? Running bad? Making mistakes? To answer this question let me give you a funny but very instructive example of how someone can have gratitude in a situation that may look negative or frustrating on the outside. I once saw a video interview with a famous high-stakes poker player who lost insane amounts of money and was asked how he felt about it. His reply made me laugh:
"Well, the bad news is I lost a (insert huge amount of money)...the good news is I have (insert huge amount of money) to lose!"
After stopping my giggles, I started to think a little more in depth about this. I slowly felt how his answer gave me the option to open my eyes to see both poker and life in a whole new perspective of gratitude. I am actually able to put an amount of money X at risk to enjoy playing poker without the loss of it directly affecting my life. I have turned my hobby into a profession, I represent the poker site that basically enabled me to live this dream and I have so many ideas, projects and tasks to work on. I can do this in my cozy home on my computer, at the casino or home game with friends, in my office while streaming with a great community. I have health, resources, options, and a community of great people around me. And I am more than grateful for all of that!
This "good news, bad news" way of thinking is what I try to routinely do with all my negative experiences in life. Let me finish this blog entry with a simple example of how I oftentimes manage to condition my thoughts into positivity before a new session: My chronic stomach problems have struck me down plenty in my last 12 years, and every day before I start streaming, recording a video or #grindingitup at the tables I tell myself that even after the bad news of going through a losing stretch the good news is that I am feeling healthy enough to do what I enjoy. As soon as a negative thought or moment comes along, I will try to remember this.
Of course I do not need to mention that there will be technical aspects to your game that require improvement or work where gratitude alone will not help you, but as far as the mindset is concerned, I have found this method to be key in setting up the right tone or mood.
There are plenty of other ways to have gratitude for different things in your life too, so please take a moment to dig deeper into your thoughts and your heart - you will find those things! If you practice reminding yourself of the "good news" even whem there is bad news right now, you will be more likely to see the big picture again and regain happiness, motivation and confidence at the tables!
Felix "xflixx" Schneiders is a member of Team PokerStars Online