Industrial Psychology

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“Doing things that scare you actually makes you more confident. If you have the courage to take action, your confidence will follow. Every time you push yourself to speak when you’re nervous, act when you’re afraid, or get to the gym when you don’t feel like it, you realize that you can rely on yourself to get anything done.” – Mel Robbins

Bullhead City, Arizona

Jarrod Dyson walks into Kauffman Stadium to a standing ovation. Though he plays for the opposing team, they remember. Once a champion, always a champion.

As long as you keep the demeanor. As long as you keep your edge.

Conquer within the city walls once, and the city is yours forever.

Scrappy as ever, Jarrod waves his hand. He looks perplexed by the welcome.

He chokes up on the bat, squares up, and scores another hit.

***

I find myself in a Mexican restaurant in Laughlin, Nevada. Bone sober. Standing in the bar.

The UFC event tonight broadcasts live from Mexico City. A hundred Mexicans waffling around me couldn’t care less.

You can smell the desert in here somehow. Even with the air conditioner on.

The fight is tepid, the food worse.

“I’m ignoring it,” the bartender barks at me while wiping the counter.

“What?” I ask.

“I’m ignoring it. Got it recorded at home.”

“Oh,” I say.

***

The pantry: Peanut butter. Cashews. Sunflower seeds. Raisins. Rice. Beans. Steel cut oats. Ambiance coffee tin.

The refrigerator: Zucchini. Blueberries. Apples. Bananas. Kale. Spinach. Carrots. Hummus. Bottled water.

Sadly, I’ve never looked better.

Tragically, I’ve never felt this little anxiety.

***

“Sadly, some of my patients do go on to take their own life,” my bookish psychiatrist says across the desk, peering over her glasses.

God help her. She really cares.

“That’s why,” she continues, “you have to promise me…”

“You can give me the prescription. I’ve been taking these meds for five years. I’ve never felt better.”

“Okay,” she says assured. “You’re not doing drugs, drinking, anything?”

“No. Don’t get me wrong. After the divorce it was tough. But I’m fine now. I’m happier than I’ve ever been.”

“Your generation is different,” she says. “You don’t see mental illness as anything to be ashamed of. Some of my clients come in here…they’re on their fifth marriage. They’re in and out of prison. They don’t want to take their meds because they don’t know what normal feels like. They’re scared.”

***

 

A packed Laughlin arcade. The average age is six-years-old. It’s 10:00 PM at night.

I came here to kill time on the Jurassic World machine before the 11:20 showing of Dunkirk, but there’s a line. When was the last time you saw a line in an arcade?

There was a time I cut class to go to Kenmore Lanes to play 1942. A new arcade cabinet being installed was a banner event. I still remember the first time I played Crisis Zone. 

Now, I can’t wait four minutes.

***

Down inside the Riverside Casino, a bumping cardroom overlooks the river.

I walk inside, looking for a Cardplayer magazine I can get pissed off at.

There are multiple tables going. They’re actually playing Limit. Look over there!

Look over there! It’s a game other than Hold’em!

…I have the money to play. But it feels too much like work. This is the only time I get off the whole week.

I used to run out of my high school to play limit. Now, it’s a job. I don’t want to go into the office on my night off.

***

I go past the bowling alley and pool tables till I’m sitting on a bench at the river walk.

Sometimes, I miss the old days. I miss raising hell with my friends. Batting cages, pool at the bubble tea shop, volleyball, chasing girls in Chinatown, limit Hold’em, bowling, and drinking till we vomited.

It seems like all fun and games in retrospect, but there were some awful times. Being broke in dump apartments was not fun.

This moment. I didn’t get this moment when I was a kid.

The night heat coming off the Colorado River calms me. Rust colored street light shines off the wake as small ferries paddle by. I hear parsed Spanish as Latino families walk behind me. Their accent sounds so different now that I’m no longer in San Jose.

60 hours of work this week. I spent $28 on an Uber ride just to look out from this outpost.

There’s an actual post office on the water.

Sometimes, I miss the old days. Not because they were carefree. I never felt that way. But I did feel like anything was possible.

Now, I know I’m never going to be a great poker player.

Don’t get me wrong. You don’t want me at your poker table. Not now. Not ever. I’m a damn fine cardplayer, but I don’t love this enough to ever be one of the greats.

And that’s. Just. Fine.

It feels good to look at the Colorado River. “I lived in Arizona for six months,” I’ll get to tell people now. “I lived in Seattle, Seoul, St. Julians, and San Jose. I lived in the mountains. I lived in a metropolis. I lived on the beaches. I lived in condos. I lived in mansions. I lived in rat-infested dumps. I lived in the desert.”

I lived.

I don’t care about being a great player. I’m going to be the best tournament poker coach who’s ever lived.

As far as I can tell, I’m a shoe-in. Mostly because no else is going after the position.

I get a little giddy putting together a new book, another article, a finished video, or a new promotion. I love running my own business. Grilling my students every morning makes me a better player. I love waking up knowing no one else can do my job.

I love waking up knowing no one else can do my job.

And now I’m going to add the East Coast to my resume.

I’ve gotten down everything I need to a few bags. I can do my job anywhere on Earth where there is an internet connection, AC, and a desk.

That’s good too because that’s about all I’m going to have in New Jersey.

Oh, and my dogs.

But whatever man, I’m happy. I’m healthy. I’m doing what I love.

And the streetlight canopy off this water is something you have to see to believe.

This little Nevada town is exactly what you would hope it would be. And I got to live here.

***

“I think that’s called a Bottle Tree,” I say to myself.

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Another great part about getting older: I actually notice trees now. I want to know what they’re called.

The Mariners double header plays on my TV. It’s blistering hot outside, but I’m loving the AC inside.

I’m so calm in my recliner, reading, watching the sunset pour through the leaves into my living room. Is this what it feels like to not have anxiety?

***

I see a picture of me at my largest. Sadly, this was a couple of years ago. That means I remained at that weight until December of 2016.

“How in the world did you give me the time of day?” I ask my girlfriend.

“Packaging is just packaging,” she says.

For some reason, these four words blow me away.

Most women would say, “you were so sweet” or something along those lines.

But she didn’t think that way. She truly didn’t see any need to justify it.

No wonder it was so easy to lose weight.

***

“Why are you leaving Bullhead City?” my therapist asks.

“Honestly, I could stay here my whole life. I don’t know if this is Asperger’s or what, but all I really want to do is work on my projects. I really love my time alone. I like my sound system, my coffee, writing, working on my business, playing cards. I like my big screen, my Playstation, my MLB.TV package, and my books. But I can’t stay here. I’m stagnating. It scares me that I could stare here indefinitely. It’s never going to be the right time. I just have to go. I can do my job anywhere on Earth. So, it’s time to go.”

***

“And how are you going to challenge yourself once you’re on the East Coast?”

“I’m going to take cooking classes. I’m going to work with a trainer. I need to get going on my conditioning now that I’ve lost some weight. I’m going to take formal Spanish lessons for the first time.”

“Good, now what are you doing right now to get out of your comfort zone?”

“…”

Thoughts:

I just called the driving school. I downloaded a mock test from the DMV. If I’m really going to do this I’m going to have to do it soon.

Mel Robbin’s entire book The 5-Second Rule is about this. Once you get the thought to do something productive for yourself, you have five seconds to do something about it.

I was writing it down someplace I wouldn’t miss it, but eventually, even that irked me. I just force myself now to stop thinking and do the things I know I need to do.

The days are flying by now. So much is getting done. It’s insane.

The last two weeks have seen me working 60+ hour weeks. I’ve decided to roll that back to fifty this week.

My central worry is that I’m supposed to be strategic with the time I’m using. Instead, I seem to be on the phone at all hours, teaching.

Or perhaps I just don’t give myself enough credit. Over the last two weeks, I’ve gotten videos done for Tournament Poker Edge. I’ve finished Master The Flop. I got my new payment processor online. I put out a new Youtube video. I’ve published a number of articles. I’m doing three lessons a day. There’s a new podcast every week. I’ve created a number of hand history quizzes. I’ve got a new book in pre-production. I’m blogging regularly again. I’m playing regular poker sessions. I got my laundry done on Sunday.

It’s just that after the WSOP and my medical bills I feel like I have to focus on money. I hate focusing on money. It’s supposed to be about the quality of the product. It’s supposed to be about the students.

I guess I’ll just have to bite that bullet though.

Grind Music:

Tale Of The Tape:

 

08/02/2017 00:00 08:00 Sleep
08/02/2017 08:00 08:30 Breakfast
08/02/2017 08:30 09:30 Meeting
08/02/2017 09:30 10:30 Grooming
08/02/2017 10:30 11:00 Buying New Jersey Air BnB
08/02/2017 11:00 12:00 Assistant Projects
08/02/2017 12:00 12:30 Lunch
08/02/2017 12:30 15:00 Exhaustion Sets In/Bible Reading/Bioshock/Tetris/Metal Playlist
08/02/2017 15:00 15:30 Literal Inability To Think Straight/Coffee/Baseball/Prong/Blogging
08/02/2017 15:30 18:00 Slack Chat/Blogging
08/02/2017 18:00 19:00 Dog Walking/Coffee And Grape Break
08/02/2017 19:00 21:30 Phone Calls With Family/Baseball
08/02/2017 21:30 00:30 Tournament Poker Edge Video Creation
08/03/2017 00:30 01:30 Watching Mariners/Listening To Podcasts
08/03/2017 01:30 09:30 Sleep
08/03/2017 09:30 10:00 Messages With Distraught Students/Breakfast/Sportscenter
08/03/2017 10:00 11:00 Teaching
08/03/2017 11:00 11:30 Preparing Tax Documents/Preparing Assistant/Concepting New Articles
08/03/2017 11:30 12:00 Family Matters/Emails/Calendaring
08/03/2017 12:00 12:15 Coffee/NFL Live Break
08/03/2017 12:15 13:00 Consulting On Cell Phone/Cleaning Dog Area
08/03/2017 13:00 13:15 Concepting Projects With Girlfriend
08/03/2017 13:15 13:45 Lunch
08/03/2017 13:45 16:15 Youtube Video Creation/Mailchimp Campaign Writing
08/03/2017 16:15 17:00 Dog Walking/NFL Live
08/03/2017 17:00 18:15 Teaching
08/03/2017 18:15 18:30 Break
08/03/2017 18:30 20:00 Coaching
08/03/2017 20:00 22:00 Phone Calls With Family/Dinner/Baseball/Bible/Blinkist Reading
08/03/2017 22:00 00:30 Emails,Phone Calls, Skype Messages, Chatroom Hand Histories
08/04/2017 00:30 02:30 Master The Flop Writing
08/04/2017 02:30 03:30 Inability To Fall Asleep, Listening To Podcasts, Night Eating
08/04/2017 03:30 11:30 Sleep
08/04/2017 11:30 12:00 Grooming
08/04/2017 12:00 12:30 Setting Up Assistant
08/04/2017 12:30 12:45 Breakfast
08/04/2017 12:45 15:00 Fixing Toilets/Working On Taxes/Master The Flop Webinar Creation
08/04/2017 15:00 15:15 Calling Drive School And Medical Center
08/04/2017 15:15 16:00 Reading Break
08/04/2017 16:00 18:00 Master The Flop Webinar Creation
08/04/2017 18:00 19:30 Talking With Girlfriend/Watching CFL Football
08/04/2017 19:30 21:00 Master The Flop Webinar Creation
08/04/2017 21:00 22:00 Family Calls/Watching CFL Football
08/04/2017 22:00 00:30 Master The Flop Webinar Creation
08/05/2017 00:30 01:30 Resting/Listening To Podcasts
08/05/2017 01:30 09:30 Sleep
08/05/2017 09:30 10:00 Breakfast
08/05/2017 10:00 11:00 Teaching
08/05/2017 11:00 11:30 Break
08/05/2017 11:30 12:00 Coaching
08/05/2017 12:00 13:00 Talking With Mom And Sister/Lunch
08/05/2017 13:00 17:00 Recording Master The Flop Episodes
08/05/2017 17:00 17:30 Grooming
08/05/2017 17:30 18:30 Mailchimp Campaigns/Chatroom Maintenance/Gumroad/Emails
08/05/2017 18:30 19:30 Reading Productivity Books
08/05/2017 19:30 20:45 Talking To Girlfriend
08/05/2017 20:45 02:00 Going To See Dunkirk In Laughlin
08/06/2017 02:00 10:00 Sleep
08/06/2017 10:00 12:30 Mariners Double Header/Game Of Thrones/Reading
08/07/2017 12:30 08:30 Sleep
08/07/2017 08:30 09:00 Breakfast
08/07/2017 09:00 15:30 Teaching
08/07/2017 15:30 16:45 Projects/Emails
08/07/2017 16:45 17:15 Grooming/Cleaning
08/07/2017 17:15 18:30 Mailchimp Campaigns/Emails/Consulting
08/07/2017 18:30 19:45 Coaching
08/07/2017 19:45 20:00 Posting Article
08/07/2017 20:00 20:30 Dog Walking
08/07/2017 20:30 24:00:00 Reading Books/Talking To Girlfriend/Playing Tetris
08/08/2017 00:00 09:00 Sleep
08/08/2017 09:00 10:00 Breakfast/Grooming/Transportation
08/08/2017 10:00 14:00 Doctor’s Visit
08/08/2017 14:00 14:30 Tetris Coffee Break
08/08/2017 14:30 15:30 Emails/Social Media Management
08/08/2017 15:30 17:00 Hand Quizzes/Calls About Bullhead City Residence
08/08/2017 17:00 18:00 Coaching For Myself
08/08/2017 18:00 20:00 Finishing Hand History Quizzes/Chatroom Videos/Mailchimp Campaigns
08/08/2017 20:00 20:30 Uploading Video Files
08/08/2017 20:30 22:00 Talking To Girlfriend
08/08/2017 22:00 22:30 Walking Dogs
08/08/2017 22:30 00:30 Watching Mariners/Reading
08/09/2017 00:30 01:30 Inability To Fall Asleep, Listening To Podcasts
08/09/2017 01:30 08:30 Sleep
08/09/2017 08:30 09:00 Breakfast
08/09/2017 09:00 10:15 Teaching
08/09/2017 10:15 11:00 Texting Too Damn Much/Sportscenter
08/09/2017 11:00 12:15 Teaching
08/09/2017 12:15 12:45 Emails
08/09/2017 12:45 13:00 Researching Driver’s Tests
08/09/2017 13:00 13:30 Catching Up With Business Contacts
08/09/2017 13:30 17:00 Complete Exhaustion/Watching Mariners Day Game/Reading
08/09/2017 17:00 Blogging