Letter to a Student: Perspective
I responded to a question via pm today and figured this might help someone (This is crossposted from a post on TheMavenVT forums a little while ago):
It can definitely be tough sometimes. You just have to remember what you're getting yourself into when you sign up for a tournament. If you're playing a 1000 player tournament, and lets say, you stand to win it double as often as an average player... so you win it 1/500 times. 499 times you're losing and that's if you're absolutely killing that tournament by being double as good as average...
Losing tournaments is part of our winning formula, you should not play to avoid losing, rather play to maximize your profits, and the way to do that is to make the best decisions possible. Often times this will still result in you losing, however every now and then, things will come together and you will hit a nice score.
As a competitive person it can be hard, but you simply are fooling yourself if you expect to win each and every day. It's taken me a long time, and I still have a way to go. Imagine a baseball batter being upset batting 400 (which would be beyond world class) because he's getting out more often than he gets a hit. Anyone who knows baseball knows that would be crazy. The same thing applies to tournament poker.
I like to think of it in a long term way. For example: From an ev perspective, given how well he plays, how often, tilt factor etc. John Smith expects to make 365K in the next year. The way I look at it, John Smith makes 1K a day for the next year (assuming he plays each day). As long John shows up each day and makes decisions to the best of his abilities, he will get paid 1K for working that day, regardless of his actual results. Yes, some days he will lose 3K, and some days he will win 10K, but in my reality he simply makes 1K a day for showing up and performing at the level he should.