BeachBODThe end of 2013 and a good portion of 2014 was like the money bubble of a poker tournament for me.¬† Emotions were high, people were put to the test, and the only choice for me was to adapt in order to maintain and grow my stack…

I don’t really know how to start this blog/article/rant, or how I’ll end it, so I’m just gonna jump into it hope you feel my flow when it’s all over. ūüôā

I had a lot of family and friend stuff reach a boiling point, and in some of the instances the pot boiled over.¬† This is always tougher to deal with than most problems because of the emotional attachment, but it’s family and we all deal and get thru things together – so giving up on people is never an option for me.¬† The role I play in my family is kind of a mediator/motivator role I feel like.¬† This has “forced” me to be the one to pull my emotions away from situations and be the one to get everyone focusing on what matters the most, and it’s never what we are arguing about. ¬† I’m not gonna lie, there were definitely times along the way where I felt like I was slipping into a certain state of depression, but once I got to that point I realized that I needed to change the way I was thinking about something or it would consume me – this is not an option because I need to be strong, not only for me but for my family.¬† This thought process has always helped me thru tough times and helped me grow and learn so much in life, so I’m gonna continue to welcome it until a better thought process comes along that helps me maintain my main goal in life even better… BEING HAPPY.¬† I believe that energy is transferable and I think life is so much more fun, natural, and inviting if you can “infect” others with your happiness.¬† Being happy also allows for you to give your best to others… your best ear, your best advice, your best motivation, and maybe the most important your best love.¬† Just like everything else in life, everyone can have their own way of doing things and accomplishing the same goals, but understanding what makes you happy is key.¬† Past that point it’s up to you to do whatever it takes to maintain that true happiness.¬† So yeah, basically I learned that you can either let life bring you down, or let it lift you up and this is just some things I feel pretty strongly about after the last couple of years.

Also last year I lost my childhood puppy Fighto (a lil silky terrier), my Auntie Vie, and Brandy’s Gram. Just wanted to give them a shout out because they meant a lot to us.

Thru all this I feel like my mental game has grown leaps and bounds, not only in life but in poker.¬† I started reading more about the brain and how its effected by certain things, and how we can mold it to obtain higher levels of brain power and a greater understanding of things around us so they become easier to overcome or manipulate.¬† I’ve been consistently doing mental training, breathing exercises, and basically focusing a lot of my daily routine/habits to help set myself up for success later in the day.¬† I’ve also put a lot of hours in to listening to how other successful people (in all areas and aspects of life) think, and view things.¬† This is always very inspiring, educating, and motivating for me.¬† Thru all of this, I’d like to think I had a “rebirth” of my mindset and I’ve noticed an extreme increase in the clarity of what I’m actually trying to accomplish on the daily, my competitive nature has come back in full force, and I’m definitely playing my best poker yet.¬† Biggest thing I’ve learned is PREPARATION IS KEY AND FOCUSED EXECUTION IS A MUST.

Another big lesson I’ve learned is to NEVER LOSE HOPE.¬† Never lose hope in the game you love, never lose hope in the family and friends you love (even when it can become super easy to just walk away), never lose hope in humanity and others who might be still growing their character.¬† Providing support, not necessarily monetary support, but the type we all need deep down in our soul can be a huge boost to someones life.¬† I give support to everyone unconditionally, regardless of whether they are winning or losing at something.¬† We literally get one shot at this life thing and not enough people go after it and just end up settling for “whatever” (I’ve definitely just settled in the past).¬† Deep down they wanted more but they just didn’t get that push they needed… I feel like in a few ways, from a few people I’ve been on the unfavorable side of not getting the support I wanted/needed, but it hasn’t killed me so it’s only made me stronger – that said I can’t complain.¬† My dad (committed drinker) told me during the holidays that he doesn’t know how I came out the way I did and the thanks me so much for being an inspiration to my brother and sister and the whole family.¬† Although this is a great compliment and meant a lot to me, it did come from the source of a lot of anxiety for me, but I honestly just told him, “Well, its thanks to you and Mom.”¬† This just goes back to the thought that even tho my parent’s aren’t perfect, and like everyone else they have their own struggles and demons, but yet I still chose to support him and to make him feel good about his life, even tho I could have easily responded in a different way.¬† The fact is, he and the rest of my close family and friends have molded me into who I am today and I feel pretty good about that.¬† It’s just always been a matter of will I let this bring me down, or will I grow from each experience that I’ve been thru? JandBGrinding

I’m just thankful everyday that I choose to have the strength to see thru the negative shit, grow, and become better because of all the “bad” and “unfortunate” things that happen in life.¬† I mean if you look at it this way, and know that bad makes you better then how can you complain about anything?¬† Life has it’s agenda and you have yours.¬† It’s always your choice how you view things and how you decide to let the world see the character you hold within.

Another big thing I learned is that it’s not about finding the exact right way to play poker, or handle your life, but it’s more about finding the right way to think about it and view poker and life.¬† I do feel like the, perspective is your reality, holds a lot of truth and I’ll do my damn best to keep that in mind and to stay focused on what’s important to me in 2015 — growing as a person/boyfriend/poker player, being positive, passing on positive energy, inspiring, upholding admirable character, never trying to hold others down, always rooting for others doing their best to succeed, and understand that there is no darkness in this life and only the lack of ability or desire to see the light in things.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all realize the beauty of things in 2015!