We’ve done everything right. We played our cards not only right, but righteously. We communicated, contributed, brought value to every interaction, dotted all the I’s and crossed every T.
We invested time, money, skill, and expertise into this, with a world of experience, far wider and deeper than the other players. Everything is going as it should. We have the strongest hand, We’re betting correctly, and responding perfectly.
Then … the final card is turned and out of nowhere, everything we built, established, worked on, and produced has suddenly crumbled.
In poker, this is called a bad beat and we’ve lost a lot of “chips”. In life, those chips are time, preparation, engagement, sacrifice, and care.
A bad beat can put us on “tilt”. Annoyance, irritation, anger, and disbelief flood our system. Adrenaline flows and skill and composure are impacted with emotion.
On the outside, we’re like, “Yeah no worries. That’s what’s up.” On the inside, we’re steaming; “Are you f*cking kidding me?!”
Bad beats happen to everybody. Sometimes we lose, even though we’ve done nothing wrong and everything right.
So, what do we do? How do we get off tilt?
Like most things, prevention goes a long way, but it’s tough to effectively pursue something with a grandiose sense of precaution. Safety third, if you want to achieve anything.
But, if I have any precautionary advice, it’s this: Never want something too much. This is when we lose all the power. We acquiesce, negotiate our values, and compromise our philosophy, beliefs, authenticity, and things we know to be true.
5 Precautionary Tips
1. Preparation and Avoidance: Sh*t happens. To minimize this, know where the bad areas are and don’t go there.
2. Awareness: Pay attention. Don’t just look at the shiny object. Focus on the process, not the result. Be present.
3. Intuition: It’s the knowing without knowing why. We’ve been on this planet for long time and have acquired a plethora of life and professional skills, knowledge, street smarts, wisdom, and confidence. If something starts to feel a bit off and our gut is talking to us, we must listen.
4. Acknowledgement: This is the hard part. We wanted this so much and everything looked and felt promising, but something’s not right. Through awareness, intuition, and recognition, we need to acknowledge that this has taken a bad turn and it’s time to act. Sometimes, when we look back on a bad beat, we should have known it was going to happen. But, also realize that acknowledgement and recognition do not equal control. We must keep our hands on the wheel.
5. Action: If we can train ourselves to see things in real time, we can act accordingly. We can either fold, call attention to it, or let it play out with full awareness. At least we’re making the decision.
But sometimes we get blindsided, no matter how much prevention we employ. The bad beat happened and we’re starting to tilt.
Yep, it hurts. All those emotions that come with it are natural and understandable. We should be pissed and disappointed! Step away from the table (metaphorically speaking), take some deep breaths, walk it off, and regroup.
Go to the parking lot and empty out a truckload of curse words. Literally, shake it off. Olympic swimmers, sprinters, and MMA fighters do this, just before the start. Shake it out through the fingertips and breathe.
And … let it go.
Let that sh*t go or it will destroy you.
Love what loves you.
Photo by Alexander Jawfox on Unsplash