The sudden demise of a hardworking, smart, and intelligent actor has left us all heartbroken. It brings us back to the statistics, and how important one’s mental wellness is. Mental health issues affect at least one in four people; depression comes in stages, and sometimes the sharpest of the minds could give in because of external added pressure.
As poker players and human beings, it is our responsibility to address emotions, feelings, and reactions which may or may not be inherently unacceptable, and to express it without the fear of being judged. I think it’s high time for us as a community to take a stand by lending our ears to anyone who feels the need to be heard. We deal with swings of emotions and stress daily, and that’s the nature of the game. It’s about the overall state of our mindset.
I was battling severe depression after the sudden departure of my beloved mother – my soul mate. While grieving, I wore my poker face in front of my dad to give him strength as he got critically ill after losing the love of his life. We lost him last year. My parents are my world; for me, there’s nothing above them. Poker gave me a new love for life; my passion for the game gave me a reason to keep moving forward and stay sane in a world I was no longer able relate with.
My parents inculcated in us that success in life is through happiness and stability. Values of courage and kindness are more significant than superficial achievements. So, here I was in a strategic yet materialistic environment where money is intertwined with success.
The pain of losing them is something I cannot control, but there was something I could have done for my mental wellness long back, and I hope you do that for yourself soon enough.
Identify toxic people who surround you. Success is different for every individual, so sometimes in your environment, people who are results-oriented, insecure, or afraid of your potential will try to bring you down, and shift your focus by engaging you in unhealthy comparisons while take pleasure in your failures.
Failures are powerful and positive. It’s like a gift of lessons. Winning is never enough; wanting to win makes us who we are. Staying focused on evolving as a player should be our goal. We don’t fail until we quit. A champion is someone who gets up when they can’t.
Some people have to deal with professional rivalries. You could easily be a victim of such energy. In that situation, turn to people who lift you. SELF ACCEPTANCE will help you. Nothing worth having comes easy, so embrace your journey with hard work and discipline. Remind yourself that no matter how influential or well renowned your haters are, they will only make you stronger.
I would’ve quit long back if I gave in to the non-believers and doubters. They try to shake your self-confidence and career but in reality, they teach us valuable lessons. Thank you! You know who you are, and without you, I wouldn’t have realized how much I love poker or that my favourite part of the game is the opportunity to play. Most successful people in life are the ones that kept working while no one was watching. They keep working towards their goals despite the odds. Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievements!
If you feel like a target or an outsider, ask yourself, “Will you take the easy way out to join them for a false sense of appreciation, or will you stand tall and create your destiny?” It’s just a fake bubble created by your competitors to distract you from the greatness within you; do not let such people or hurtful comments get in your head, Such people take themselves too seriously, along with lacking sportsmanship and compassion for others. Instead, Focus on becoming the best version of yourself, for yourself.
Add more of this to your life:
Make sure never to lose touch with your loved ones. After all, we’re all friends first and competitors later. When I got into this industry, I only had only a few well-wishers who are still standing by me till today, I love you all, and that’s all I need, we tend to focus on the negative and forget the long list of people who support us. You’re not alone. Surround yourself with people who make you feel loved and safe. If you can’t find one, Be one.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Muskan Sethi is a professional poker player and a PokerStars Team Pro. Winner of the President’s ‘First Ladies’ Award, Muskan has done extensive research in mental health and brain training, also working with poker mind coach and hypnotherapist, Elliot Roe.