March 12, 2011

Negativity

You know, it has struck me recently how negative as a species we are.  I mean, I know, I was that bear at one point but over the last few months or so I've managed to do a 180 and begin to look at things from a more objective viewpoint rather than my pre-preserved emo stance that many of you may be familiar with. 

It's not even that things have been easy recently.  I'm currently running an experiment to see if I can get to work via public transport which is causing me to have 13 hour work days, never mind the whole fact I have to get up at 5:30am and I still have to produce 3-4 vids a month and play poker and yadda yadda.  There has fortunately been no fallout from the car crash I had but that still left a burning hole in my wallet, which I'm sure the service will as well and, worst of all at least to me, the cat was once again seriously ill recently and is now on "rest of life" treatment for a hyper-active thyroid which, funnily enough, leaves me as the only member of the family who's not on some kind of thyroid treatment.

However, I haven't felt the need to bitch about any of this, at least not after the immediate shock has passed.  The whole thing may be experience, we've been through things, certainly financial, in the past which so-called "experts" have said we had no right to get through.  In fact the whole fact I'm alive is a blessing in itself as when I was born there were severe complications that 10 years prior would have killed both my mother and myself in childbirth.

But anyway...

It just strikes me that the only news people are interested in is bad news.  Unless it affects them directly the vast majority of people don't want to hear good news and thus there's very little perspective.  It all smacks of an insecure society on the whole who are so obsessed with their own self-image that they take any chance whatsoever to assign blame and ridicule to others in the hope it will shift from themselves and allow them to flourish in their own mind, or at least avoid looking in the mirror to see where things may have gone wrong.

The whole phenomenon of people trying to predict the end of mankind is one that's always struck me.  With 2012, the lastest fad the doomsayers have latched onto, approaching those who have watched a little too much X-Files are beginning to proclaim the end is night, y'know just like they did in 1999, and 1987...and 1697....and 1AD....and...well since pretty much always.  I mean the question I'd like to ask is "What if you are right?  Are you gonna stand on the nearest mountain yelling "I FUCKING CALLED IT"??  We just seem to be a species which is obsessed with our own destruction, be it the recent financial chaos, the wars in the Middle East or the recent spread of Natural Disasters someone is always trying to link them together to mean the end of everything and then shouting it from the rooftops which, in my opinion, is hugely disrespectful to those who are currently suffering these events.

For these naysayers, one small reminder.

"When a man is convinced he's going to die tomorrow, he'll probably find a way to make it happen"

Or

"Those obsessed with their own destruction pretty much guarantee it."

Personally I find it a lot more helpful to focus on what is real now.  The Natural Disaster in Japan is real and a genuine tragedy which, unfortunately, could very well get worse if they don't get those nuclear plants under control.  Thousands of people have lost their lives and thousands more have been left homeless.  That's something to be upset about and my best wishes go to everyone out there. 

And now onto something a little different...

How about some poker?  Well there's negativity there too.  You only need to look on 2+2 and other forums to see that.  A grinding upswing like someone such as WizardofAhhs or nanonoko put millions of hands into is nowhere near as exciting as a $5m crash and burn.  In fact when nanonoko had a downswing recently suddenly a ton of people jumped on it despite the fact it was probably less than 10% of his overall net worth.

Poker players on the whole, and don't get me wrong this doesn't apply to everyone so please don't think I'm lumping everyone in, tend to mirror society as a whole.  Downswings are luck and Upswings are skill.  Right?  You've heard that time and again.  There are even Youtube channels devoted to trying to prove Pokerstars is rigged usuing such stupd premises of "Only a few hundred people made $100k last year.  Stars made $500m profit...must be rigged".  The problem is people believe this because it gives them an outlet for their own frustration.  Poker is a game that very few people, it's single digits in terms of %, make any sort of money long term at.

Why?

Because it's hard and people think it's easy!!

In fact this came up recently when I was bold facedly told by someone that me playing poker, potentially for a living, and coaching etc was the "Easy way out"

EXCUSE ME?!!!!

At that point I felt obliged to point out that I have spent 4 years of my life reading, learning, watching videos, going through downswings, going through upswings, spending every single day involved in the game in some way, never mind the 3 years of mathematical and engineering education I've worked with which has helped me both in terms of presentation of ideas and solid numerical undertones, nor the 6 years of training in my accounting qualifications to get a job to form the groundwork of what I want to do.  There's nothing "easy" about what I, or what anyone else who's made anything of their poker life, has done.  But still that's the image, I'm apparently just one of the ones who've "got lucky".  I mean, they read a preflop chart once right?  How can they lose???

In a way it's true, I was in the right place at the right time when it came to the coaching gig, same as you have to be for almost any job, and I'm fortunate that the work I've put in during the past so far has paid off, which, for a lot of students going to university now, it actually doesn't.

But to say it's easy or to dismiss the achievements of people who've made something with their lives, be it poker or something like business, science or anything else as "got lucky" is, once again, just hugely disrespectful.

Since I do have a Classical Education, yes those 2000 year old languages really come in useful in the 2010's, I'll put down this marker:

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity".
 - Seneca

So I'm laying down the marker, hopefully, for myself for the future.  It's started somewhat by turning myself around, and trying to turn others around me around.  Yes you can look at life negatively, obsessed with the wrong and what could happen but it sure as hell isn't going to make you happy if you do.  Use that energy to create and to grow and things may just turn out right in the end...until teh next bad beat obviously :)

I understand this may have been long reading for you guys and thanks to those of you who made it :)

I'll just close and say take care and all the best

Also, watch The Leap, it's awesome and I'm pretty sure bellatrix's vids will be too when they come out.  Watch them too, in fact just watch everything....can't hurt :)



Posted By Boomer at 02:07 PM

3 Comments

3 Comments:

nawhead posted on March 12, 2011 at 18:17 PM

Luckbox

great post, Boomer. i've had the same kind of realizations recently after being the typical smartass cynical dude.

but i realize now there's a better way. it takes more thought and more effort to reign in those snap emotions, but i think we can all see the faults without hating the faults.

because "Cynicism is the only form in which base souls approach what is called honesty; and the higher man must open his ears to all the coarser or finer cynicism" (Nietzsche). and "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it" (Shaw).

so i think cynicism is more helpful than blind optimism in most cases. it's essential really in hostile environments. we're not evolved to be happy, we're evolved to survive, right?

but i think once we realize the world is not simply what's in our heads, we can take control of our own minds and choose to be observant without being hateful and fearful. i think that's enlightenment.


Boomer posted on March 12, 2011 at 18:42 PM

5618084

Nice Reply

It's actually quite funny how often I'm called a cynic at work because I genuinely just say things how I see them and that's not something a lot of people can handle very easily.

I don't think there's anything inherently wrong in being cynical to a degree, it simply, in my opinion, means you're not blindly optimistic about something when all the evidence points in the other direction, (i.e. Our problems will not be 100% solved because we vote in a new government)

However the danger comes when it goes too far and you can't see the good in things for the bad you predict.

Being objective is a hard thing, especially when you don't have all the facts available to you.


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