Poker off the felt.
It's easy to play poker. Pay the buy-in sit down and play good hands, right? Anyone can be lucky and run hot and have a huge score, but poker doesn't work like that. Skill is involved, a lot of it. From positional awareness, pot odds, sizing, range construction... the list goes on and on of how much information there is to collect. So, we become obsessed with collecting as much as we can and hustle hard in "the lab" to gain an edge and increase our win-rate. We can spend hours a day analyzing spots and reviewing hands and sessions. Solving spots to never be "unsure" again in certain situations so the next time we sit down and pay the buy-in we aren't just expecting to get "lucky," we now have the skills to sit down and play poker!
This is all well and good and we can now call ourselves poker players. The problem is, how to be a poker player off the felt? This is SUPER important because no matter how much knowledge we acquire and how much we know about the game, it all is pointless if we are only a poker player when we play poker. Being a poker player off the felt, to me, means "being in control and aware of your actions and behavior." It's easy to obsess, but much harder to take a break and embrace life. Letting go of what we "can not" control and knowing what "we can" in every moment is a key ingredient in becoming a successful poker player, and even dare I say it, a successful individual in any aspect of life. I've found myself at times being obsessed with what I can't control and my behavior also becomes out of control to the point where I'm on the outside watching the spectacle unfold. Being more aware of behavior like this is really opening up my eyes to how childish I can act at times.
There is a silver lining, however. I can control how I feel towards myself. Do I tell myself I'm stupid and making the same mistakes again? Or do I forgive myself for having moments of weakness and recognizing what detrimental mental program is blocking my path to success? I think I'll choose the latter and keep working towards being in control and aware of all my actions on and off the felt.