My essay today will be about my relative perception of "happiness" and what it means for the rising poker player. It is extremely relative in that people have vastly different ideas of what real happiness is, so what I'm writing isn't the end all for everybody, but what holds true for me.
This is my happiness meter. Yours may differ tremendously. On one hand I have the fish who are just regular people who may (or may not) play poker for fun and donk around. On the other side of the spectrum exists Cole "thuglife" South (I'm pretty sure that's what the T stands for) who I imagine to be the happiest person on earth. Your range may vary, but no matter what we all (inevitably) have a meter of our own.
The basis of this entry dwells on my belief that Money does buy happiness, but a material happiness and not an immaterial one. I think immaterial happiness refers to the genuine pleasure of doing things we absolutely love, being with people we love, and overall living a fulfilled life style. Material happiness is the happiness derived from spending money outside of what is necessary. I feel that immaterial happiness is superior, but as poker players we succumb to material happiness and our end goal (to be like cts) is to acquire both.
When we begin to start making serious money (anywhere between 100-400nl), we make a trade off between these two forms of happiness. Jurollo from the 2p2 forums said in regards to true happiness, "I think the job of online poker alone makes a lot of us unhappy. Its isolationist in its very essence and cuts us off from the outside world to an extent which contributes to [feelings of unhappiness]." btw anyone willing to pursue the topic further should really check that thread out: http://archives1.twoplustwo.com/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=8966677
So the main issue when it comes to SSNL/MSNL and higher grinders is that we neglect fundamental aspects of our lives (social interaction, priority of values, etc.) for the pursuit of money which we think will make us happy in the longrun. If anyone has played WoW (and you haven't, just bear with me), you'll know that as you go through the level 1-59 grind, you anticipate the lavish joys of being a level 60 and doing all the "fun end-game stuff" (btw this is an analogy only suitable for pre-TBC expansion WoW). But once you get there you realize holy shit, I still have to grind so much more just so I can get to a point where I can be satisfied with my character. The point of this analogy is that we set goals for ourselves, which at one moment we think we'd be satisfied at, but when we finally achieve it, we yearn for more. Poker players are inherently greedy, and so by definition we could never be satisfied. When I grinded out 25nl I just thought "man if I could get to 100nl, I'd be sooo happy with 1k/month". What a jokebook that turned out to be.
So the MSNL player leads an unhappy life. We definitely make enough to sit back and enjoy our lives, but we're also at that critical point of "well I'm making $X now, but I just need to get this much better and then I can finally start playing 1knl and making $Y..". In other words, The MSNL player is frustrated because we're really at that breaking point between someone who can make good money from poker, and someone who can make an extraordinary amount of money from poker. Therefore we keep grinding, we keep devoting time to improving ourselves, and the sad part is many of us end up committing ourselves to permanently staying at 200 and 400nl because the extra stride is just too much (which results in increased unhappiness - to fall short of your goals).
On the other sides of the spectrum are the fish and cts. I believe the fish are happy because they only have one concern, money. Contrast to msnl players who have more concerns: money (because what we make is not "enough" ), and particularly meaningful social interaction (back to "immaterial happiness" ). We feel that we lack in both forms of happiness simply because material happiness isn't good enough for us - whereas the fish have the immaterial happiness, and would simply like some material happiness.
CTS on the other hand has officially won life and, ideally, has both. Of course in reality he probably has his own issues and whatnot, but my perception of someone like cts is that he has enough money to not care about being mediocre, and that allows him to set aside time to really cultivate his immaterial happiness. Just look at his blog and those pictures of Thailand, my god, what a gangster. I think I'm in love.
Well that's it for this topic so far. It's a hugely extensive topic that I could go on forever about, but I think I was able to convey the crucial parts of my thought process (lol) without being overly extravagant. Like I mentioned before, if you're interested in the subject of "true happiness", refer to the thread above where a lot of high stakes ballers chime in.