A Song For Our Fathers

The first two weeks have almost come and gone since we got here. Before I got to Las Vegas, I had been building it up in my mind for 6 months. It seemed so far away for so long, but now that I’m here, the days drift by and I find the sands of time slowly draining into the bottom of an imaginary hourglass.

While my results have been less than stellar since we arrived, seeing my friends and roommates taste some success has been equally as pleasing. It’s never easy going through stretches of poor luck or poor results, but it’s uplifting having a core of people around you that offer encouragement and insight when things aren’t going your way.

I cant say I’d would have had the same positive outlook a few years past. That was a very tumultuous time in my life…I’ve made so many improvements in character since then.

I enjoy and appreciate the gift of life much more. I learned to extract all possible positives from negative situations, namely death. I smile more, and rarely let stress be the outcome of trivial events that happen from day to day. I realized that it isn’t events themselves that hurt our psyche, but how we view and react to those particular happenings.

Christian Larson, a man many credit as the leader of the New Thought movement once said, “That a man can change himself…and master his own destiny is the conclusion of every mind who is wide-awake to the power of right thought.”

Anyone who knows me well would tell you I have always been extremely easy going on the surface, but inside I always felt tormented by something I couldn’t name or describe. It wasn’t until my father passed away I gained an increasing thirst for knowledge. A lot of this motivation in my quest to gain wisdom came from my desire to improve at poker. Since then, I’ve naturally sorted through any related book that seems appealing, if only by the look of the cover.

Over time I started devouring philosophy and self improvement books. Anything that seemed interesting or insightful. I read almost religiously now. There is something about making a conscious effort to improve your quality of life by learning from others that one can only help but to respect and admire.

I was never very studious in school. I got by solely based on my intelligence, memory, writing and test taking skills. Sometimes my peers would become agitated with my lack of enthusiasm when their hours of studying wouldn’t warrant them a higher grade than me on tests. Easy game.

Back then I had no idea what I wanted to obtain out of life on this planet. Chasing girls, partying, sports…what normal guy thinks of anything else in high school and even college? I wish I had focused on poker and improving the quality of my life more back then.

Looking back it would have been much easier to let my life crumble around me. Being negative and not caring is not nearly as difficult as reminding yourself to stay positive, even more so when life isn’t going your way. When you’re a kid, you dream of how you wish your life will be years down the road, and the thought never crosses your mind that things might not turn out that way.

I’ve come to the realization the only tool one needs to succeed is the right frame of mind. What you see everyday in the mirror is the residual outcome of all of your past thoughts and actions. Like Buddha said, “All we are is a result of what we have thought.”

From Neville Goddard’s The Pruning Shears of Revision I learned that the only thing holding you back is your own will, for your will is always under your control. I learned that happiness depends on three things; your will, your ideas concerning the events which you are involved, and the use you make of your ideas.

The Art of Living by the great Greek Stoic Epictetus, elaborates on this principle. “Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principal: Some things are under our control, and some are not.” He preaches that we cannot choose external circumstances, only how we respond to them and that when something transpires, the only thing in your power is your attitude towards it.

Mark Sanborn’s The Encore Effect is a book about remarkable performances. The two most important lessons he speaks on are that there is no such thing as failure, only feedback, and that (positive) results are merely the reflections of strategies that work.

A few months back while studying A+ at Barnes & Noble, I stumbled upon The 33 Strategies of War and The 48 Laws of Power, both by Robert Greene. From these two books I took away that emotion is strategically counterproductive, and that “…the moment of victory is often the moment of greatest peril.”

Every one of these principles can be directly applied to poker.

Beginning martial arts a few months back has only enhanced my understanding and drive to better my lifestyle. I keep a much healthier diet now, something I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to maintain here in LV…I still haven’t been to In N Out Burger yet, which I’m honestly pretty disappointed about lol.

I usually start my days off with a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of coffee, maybe a Cliff protein builder bar. For lunch I mostly go with a turkey, chicken or tuna wrap with spinach leaves on a whole wheat tortilla. For dinner is always some veggies and rice along with grilled chicken or fish. If I get hungry in between, a slice of bread with peanut butter and a banana usually holds me over. [note: I might be eating breakfast at noon, lunch at 5pm and dinner at 10pm. Standard]

I stretch, run and exercise more frequently. I’ve been drinking BSN’s N.O.-Xplode leading up to my workouts lately. It’s a performance igniter supplement that Master Reid turned me on to. It gives you a boost of energy, focus, strength and endurance. Great stuff. Right when you normally hit the wall, you catch a second, third, or fourth boost of power.

I’ve been meditating more. I try not to oversleep. I’ve gained much more confidence as a person. I’m more disciplined. More aware, more alert. More in tune with my surroundings.

I feel like every normal guy has the mentality that they could properly defend themselves if they were ever put in the situation. Call it machoness or arrogance, whatever you want to. I used to get into quite a few scuffles through grade school, and always considered myself a tough kid. However, only after learning proper striking techniques among other things did I realize that essentially everyone without training in some form of martial arts is so beyond ill-prepared if a dangerous situation or confrontation actually presented itself.

Anyway, it’s starting to get hot {as Hell} here. Last week the weather was perfect. The temperatures are starting to climb.

I’ve spent most of the past few days laying out and shooting pool. Cheffing up dinner for the crew every night; grilled some rib eyes yesterday after letting them soak in a New Orleans Cajun marinade, which was great. Also marinated a whole salmon fillet in a Hawaiian sauce that should be spectacular, whenever we decide we’re hungry enough to make it.

Other than that, just been reading, trying to get some business organized. Livin’ the dream.

I’ve said more than once now I’d present some type of explanation as to what I use for security on my PC. While I don’t exactly want to reveal all of my secrets for obvious reasons, I will offer a few pointers.

You can create a solid foundation, especially on a new computer, by using Norton’s Internet Security, BitDefender[can download free trials for Total Security, Internet Security and Antivirus here: http://www.bitdefender.com/%5D , AVG[free 30 day trial here: http://www.avg.com/download-trial%5D or PC Tools Spyware Doctor. I would opt for AVG, BitDefender or PCT-SD because the size of the programs themselves are smaller than Norton’s IS and use as much physical memory/ hamper the speed of the system quite as much.

There are a bunch of other free programs that are really effective, too. The best is Spybot Search and Destroy, which works best if you use it along with one of the programs listed above.

Other free programs that are less effective imo are AntiVir PE Classic, SuperAntiSpyware, Iobit Advanced System Care, and MalwareByte’s Anti-Malware. The only one I’d recommend is Iobit ASC, because the free version will clean up a lot of registry errors that would otherwise go unnoticed, and has several utilities that are pretty efficient in cleaning up your hard drive.

Certainly plan on getting a few more updates out this week. I’ll be playing more cash games and some smaller tournaments this week, as I was unable to play in Event #39 on Saturday.

Looking forward to more feedback. Keep it coming folks.

Zune Top 5:
1} Our Last Day As Children by Explosions In The Sky on Friday Night Lights Soundtrack
2} No Quarter by Led Zepplin on Houses Of The Holy
3} Get Your Money Right by Dr. Dre ft. Jay-Z & The Game
4} Me & My Drank by Lil Wayne ft. Short Dawg
5} A Song For Our Fathers by Explosions In The Sky on How Strange, Innocence

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~ by therealJWilliam on June 21, 2009.

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