Posts Tagged ‘Baldwin’
It’s been a slow start for me poker-wise in 2011. Although there is tons of luck and variance in poker, I’ve never been one to attribute a downswing to either of these. I just don’t see how that can be productive. Instead, I try to be honest with myself about if I’m truly playing my “A” game, and if I’m letting outside factors leak into my poker game. I recently caught myself not being focused at the table, and not having the feeling of inner peace that I have in the past. I decided it was time to take a step back and revisit some of the lessons that helped me get to where I am today.
In college, my main focus was on baseball. It took up a ton of my time, and after mixing in schoolwork and a social life, there really wasn’t time for much else. The majority of my goals centered on the sport. When my eligibility ran out, I found myself with a huge void in my life. I had 40-50 extra hours of time on my hand per week, and had no real goal or focus to put them towards. I’d always done a lot of thinking, being interested in subjects like Philosophy and Psychology. Well, having a ton of extra time on your hands can be pretty self-destructive if you tend to overanalyze things. I found myself falling into a nasty cycle of negative thoughts. I would think about thinking, try to solve life’s big questions, and convince myself that something was wrong with me. I would sit in Psychology class, and just because I had one of many symptoms of some disorder we were covering, I would say, “oh no! I’ve got x disorder!” It was a really vicious cycle, as I would then try to solve my problems by thinking even more about them. I would spend most of my time in my head, oblivious to the present moment and reality. My body’s reaction was to feel a lot of fear and anxiety.
One day, I was wandering aimlessly about a bookstore. For whatever reason, I picked up a book titled “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. The cover claimed it as “A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment”. This was not the type of book I would ever read. It’s about as far away from science or sports as you can get, but I guess I was so lost at the time I decided to open it. Upon reading the introduction, I saw that the author had gone through a lot of the things I currently was, so I skeptically decided to buy it and give it a shot. I’m glad I did. I won’t go into many details of the book, but I will tell you it taught me to find the ‘off button’ to my rambling thoughts and to find a priceless sense of inner peace. This was the most valuable book to my poker career and I highly doubt the author has ever played a hand. I highly recommend it. It’s not light reading, and I’ve given it to friends that weren’t able to get much out of it, but worst case scenario you’re out $ 7 and can think I’m a quack. Here’s a link to Amazon:
Back to 2011, I’ve had a lot of personal stuff going on that has been clouding my mind. Throw in the fact that I’ve made enough money the past couple years where I no longer need to immediately win to be financially secure, and it’s easy to fall into cruise control at the poker table. This isn’t who I want to be. I just started rereading “The Power of Now” and it’s apparent I’ve drifted pretty far from where I was when I was happiest and playing my best poker. Over the next couple weeks I’ll be working to get back to where I want to be. Look out for me come April, as there are tons of tournaments going on in my backyard of Las Vegas, my favorite place to play. I had a similar start to 2009, and that year ended up pretty damn good!