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    Mike Sowers
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    StaffMikeJ [Supervisor]: Sowerss, we're shipping a
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    Self development and self awareness
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    Any game where I can learn and be stimulated by the challenge.
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    WSOP and EPT events.

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  1. What do we have today? Let us ask this question, what do we have to be grateful for today? All of us are at different places or points in our life where self reflection is vital, especially with the coming holiday season. We have a journey. That is all we have and all we are guaranteed. It is the beauty of life and of poker. The journey is a truly exciting, uncertain adventure leading us to some outcome... be it money won or lost, or a possible failure of goals we might want accomplished. The outcomes are just byproducts of our beautiful journey and somewhere along the way society has placed both positive and negative ideals on the outcome without our choosing. Be grateful for this journey of life. Half of the world lives on less than two dollars per day. Let us think about that very example with regards to our own ideas of success or failure. I will share an example, because in the past, I have been a selfish, ungrateful baby when it comes to this idea of success or failure. Too often, I focused on all the wrong things, whether there was success or failure and how this reflected upon me as a person. It was 2009, and I had just busted 3rd out of a WPT event in Los Angeles. I remember this moment like it was yesterday. There I stood, ready to collect my largest payday success I had ever had in poker, dejected and so disgruntled and angry at losing. It was the ultimate failure, I was the ultimate failure. These feelings raged inside... taking 3rd place was not good enough for me and I had just failed to achieve what I knew I was capable of. After all, to others, taking that kind of money and 3rd place on a televised poker tournament is a dream, and it was one of my dreams as well. Yet in retrospect today, I realize that the disappointment was not from a sense of failure or a reflection that I was a failure. The overwhelming realization that hit me just this week was that instantly my journey, my uncertainty, my struggle was over all in an instant. That game, much like the game of life, motivates my every being with a struggle, and a challenge offers me a natural high. It is the journey, that enjoyment of the struggle and the psychology of outwitting not only others but yourself and most of all the rapid growth required of you to continue onward. We humans do best when under pressure, perhaps the thing I love most also is being under pressure. We can not truly be grateful for the life adventure without facing challenges and experiencing them. Truly every experience I've had in poker and in life now has a lasting impact that I can say makes me cherish the experience much more than any outcome, a truly enlightening idea especially in the realm of poker. Now I look back at that experience among other experiences in real life with a bit of awareness of who I was then, and who I am today. All we really have is today, ladies and gentlemen, and that includes a constant beautiful struggle. This struggle is what we should be forever grateful for. That struggle to always improve upon yesterday, without regretting the choices or ideas you had yesterday for those choices were things you needed to do to get you where you are in the present. That is the greatest thing I have learned recently, for all of my success and failure in the past nothing truly matters except things you can control today and in this present moment. Recently this year I was in Rome, a beautiful historic and angelic city. I stayed in a very nice hotel, toured the Roman Colosseum, visited the Vatican and did other tourist attractions that I had dreamed about since I was a child. I love the history of our civilization and viewing historic centers of the world is a truly valuable experience. All of that including the company i had was amazing, but the thing I will remember most about Rome was the journey to arrive there. There was a volcano erupting in Ireland or Iceland or somewhere in north Europe preventing air flights so we were forced to train almost 9 hours if we hoped to visit Rome. Quite the journey it turned out to be : lugging overweight suitcases up and down long staircases, following road and train maps in unknown cities from San Remo to Rome, and catching trains by running with suitcases in hand. All of these events put me under pressure, not only physically carrying and hustling but mentally to coordinate and plan all of these events. I will always remember that long journey, the excitement and uncertainty of things to come. It was just a shorter equivalent of my super long sessions, days spent studying both my own and other poker hand histories, and the mistakes I became most frustrated about that posed a challenge to my goals. The entirety of our lives are just these journeys, struggles, and drives and I'm sure you've had many different journeys and will continue everyday on your path of life. I hope you truly are grateful for that opportunity. It is never the outcome of our goals which give us that amazing feeling or natural high that is experienced during the uncertainty and the situation that we are under pressure. It is only that long road, that large challenge and the constant battling that really exhilerates and moves us. Thanksgiving is almost here for those who live in the United States, and after 24 years, I have just recently grasped the idea or the true meaning of the holiday. It is a very simple concept, be grateful. Our struggles, our valleys of emotion and challenges are something we should be more grateful for than our triumphs and successes. For that is the time we not only find out who we truly are, but where under pressure we truly are forced to grow and achieve a higher awareness in order to move our present state closer to where we envision our goal. Be thankful for that bad beat you just received, that person who just insulted your core being, or that relationship you failed to live up to. Without all of these past struggles how would our present person and state grow? Often I have thought about this very thanksgiving, having lost both my grandmother recently and my grandfather by marriage last year. In the past it had reminded me with a state of anxiousness, knowing it may be tough to be with family without the ones we have held so dear and truly loved. I was living in the past, not the present. Although there are many lessons in our past struggles, the only thing we control today are our choices of what to focus on and for me that is being grateful for having known these special people along the way. In order to live in the present, I focus on the idea that I will let these people who have helped shape me live through my actions, my sharing of love and passion for others. One example of a truly grateful and extraordinary man that touched my life was Sherill Morris. This man touched my life in ways that language can do no justice in explaining or conveying. Offering unconditional love to a new grandson by marriage when I was a teenager, this man showed me an example of a person who was not only grateful for the journey of life, but the other people and places that he encompassed. This man offered open arms and an open heart to a young boy he had never met, and unconditional love not only for me but every person who has shared a conversation or moment with him. A true example of what a loving person can and should be. Both his kids adopted, a prior service to his country, a loyalty to both wife and family, it is no wonder this man will have such a lasting impact on my life. Never a moment passed I didn't feel both his gratefulness for me, for others, but most of all for the beauty of life. He often explained his journey through stories as a child hunting, wartime stories in Africa, and the loving human interactions he both shared and received in his life. He was grateful for the journey until the very last day, and I am most grateful for knowing and learning from this man. Today, not only will I not harp on the void that might be at the dinner table with lively conversation and compassion, I will cherish the lessons that I learned from his actions and try to accomplish the true lesson of being a great person not only for my family but the family that is our entire world. More importantly I will try to incorporate his generosity, compassion, and truly gratefulness and appreciation for this day and moment. The true gift that we are given is that you and I both can be a Sherill Morris. We must show grace, contribution, generosity and most importantly love through our actions and language. Let us be thankful for the opportunity of today, let us be thankful for the stepping stones of yesterday, and let us truly embark tomorrow with a true appreciation of the people, places, and events that shape our journey. Be grateful for this journey of life. SowersUNCC - Mike Sowers *The opinions expressed in this article and all member-submitted content belong solely to the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of PocketFives.

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