posted by Absinthe | 3:44 PM
There’s only one person who can put you on tilt. One single person, in all the world, out of all 6-billionish of us. No matter how foul-mouthed, reckless, and lucky your opponents are, no matter how many two-outers they catch, no matter how offensive their personal hygiene and table manners may be, they cannot put you on tilt. You are the only person who can put you on tilt.
I’ll say it again here in bold letters because, really, this is not a point that can be overbelabored.
You are the only person who can put you on tilt.
The monkey who raises every hand and always rivers two pair to crack your aces doesn’t put you on tilt. You put you on tilt.
The shortstacked flush chasers who have no regard for the odds and hit on you over and over again don’t put you on tilt. You put you on tilt.
The big stack to your left who outplays you time and again, bluffing you out when you’re good, milking you when you’re not, does not put you on tilt. You put you on tilt.
The set-over-set cooler in your battle of the blinds does not put you on tilt. You put you on tilt.
Getting AA on back-to-back hands and getting no action does not put you on tilt. You put you on tilt.
The guy who cuts you off on the freeway and causes you to miss your exit? You put you on tilt. Someone at the office snags the last cruller before you realize it’s breaktime? It’s all on you.
You are not a lizard. You have buttons, and they can be pushed, and a lot of good poker is figuring out where people’s buttons are and stabbing them repeatedly like some people do with the crosswalk patience buttons. But when someone’s pushing your buttons, often by accident, your job is to ignore it. Break those connections the same way you have to learn to divorce analysis of your play from your short-term results.
Kim and I were in Ireland some years ago on a family trip. Lovely country, and I can’t wait to get back there (though I’m going to have to). Friendly people, good food (really!), beautiful sights. Also, occasionally, some spectacularly bad service. Hands-over-the-head, please-bring-me-the-check-now-instead-of-45-minutes-from-now service. The first time it happened, I was wondering if our rented car would still be where we parked it, whether we’d be able to make it to where we were going before it got dark and the roads went from merely risky to downright suicidal, and I was quite probably visibly irked. Then Kim said six words that have become a mantra for me, a simple way of looking at the world that renders nearly any perceived difficulty practically irrelevant, and something that’s in the top three or four most brilliant things I’ve ever heard:
“I choose to find it charming.”
And that was it. Whatever stresses came our way, whatever minor culture-shock things might set us off kilter, she was going to find them charming. Quaint. Interesting. Instead of being bothered by them she was going to enjoy them. This struck me as a fantastically good idea. Once I accepted this new outlook I was free to stop wondering why something was happening to me and instead actually think about why it was happening to me, and whether or not it really mattered, in the grand scheme of things. Most of the time it didn’t. Truthfully, most of the time it doesn’t.
The odds are you can count the really important things in your life on two hands, if not one; the turn of a single card should never be one of them. And the turn of the card, whatever it is, isn’t nearly as important as your reaction to it. And your reaction is ultimately something that you choose, and since you can’t control the cards and they’re not that important anyway: Choose to find them charming. You’ll probably be richer; you’ll always be happier.
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