Losing is winning, says guest writer Ron Regis.

I decided some time ago that I didn’t like losing, so I decided I wasn’t going to lose anymore.

This has nothing to do with Al Pacino’s voice in my head, or the pep talk in the locker room just before the big football game, screaming about how losing is not an option.

“Look at you, you are all winners. You deserve everything you worked for. Now go out there and take what’s yours!

pacinoThe words might reflect my outlook. The alpha-male type-A aggression does not.

You see, when I decided I was tired of losing, I didn’t try harder, I tried smarter: I changed my perspective.

When someone drinks from my glass, I used to think I lost some beverage. Actually, I gained space.

When I lost money, I recalibrated and thought to myself “I made a purchase.”

When I lost at a game, I gained a friend. When I made a mistake, I acquired new information.

When a flood wiped out half of everything my family owned – including my entire Marvel comic collection from the 70s onwards – I had to think that my clutter-issues just sorted themselves out.

Desensitization to loss is important, but a dangerous path that must be tread with accountability.

The Threshold

There is a phrase coined by poker guru Mike Caro called “The Threshold of Misery.”

rainWhen I am wearing a clean shirt and it gets wet, I might be bothered to change my shirt and improve my situation. The wetter I get, the closer I get to the Threshold of Misery. Once I cross into the state of Misery, I stop caring. This is when I am all wet, and I decide I simply won’t bother changing my shirt ever again.

Moral of the story: when I get wet, I don’t just change my shirt, I change where I am standing.

Crossing the Threshold of Misery is not the kind of desensitization that is healthy for us losers. The mindset that I adopt is a Professional Gamer’s attitude: a basic acceptance of Reality. Like common sense, this acceptance of Reality is not at all common.

Reality is, we have our moments, and most of the time, we are not having our moment because someone else is. Like the New York Knicks, we are doomed to lose more often than we will win. We miss more than we hit. The movie ends no matter how good it is. Your favorite Game of Thrones character will die.

Even a genius will eventually leave his keys in the car.

I have been trained to think this way not because I am a perennial loser rationalizing the merits of my continued existence, but because I was brought up believing that everything progresses me. My decisions dictate which road I take, and all roads move forward – even the ones that double back and circle round.

I play and coach Poker. I work in an industry where losing is the norm. In my chosen profession, I am surrounded by people who lose more times per hour than even the Knicks. No other activity makes people deal with losing on a daily – even on a per-five-minute – basis.

pokerOnce you enter a Gamer’s mindset, losing is not an option – it’s an eventuality. It is part of the upticks and downswings. You inhale, you exhale, you keep breathing. Sometimes you can hold your breath, but eventually you have to let it go. Breath is the same as The Game. Your needs will come to you, again and again. Just breathe.

When you let The Game come to you, and drop the notion that you have to work for every inch of it, the notion of losing disappears. You take what is yours because it is your turn to take. And whatever you work for, that is what is in front of you. You get exactly what you deserve – based on the series of decisions you make. Whatever is given, take it with you. Whatever you lose, leave it behind you – like a horse taking a crap while pulling a carriage. The choice to stop, pick it up and carry it with you will be entirely yours.

© Ron Regis.
The views and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the original author and do not necessarily represent those of Daniel Abbey and The Rave.