Don’t be the Victim

By Samm Diep, PoolTipJar.com © June 2010

Samm Diep

I was recently directed to an April 26 article from The Huffington Post, The Internet Newspaper (huffingtonpost.com). “When Did We Become a Nation of Victims?” by Russell Bishop, shares an intimate victim story about W. Mitchell that brings perspective to an unlucky match or a bad roll. His story makes you realize that losing a pool game is nothing compared to the adversities of having 65% of your body burned off or being paralyzed for life.

Merriam-Webster defines ‘victim’ as:

1) one that is acted on and usually adversely affected by a force or agent

2) one that is injured, destroyed, or sacrificed under any of various conditions

3) one that is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment

4) one that is tricked or duped

Being the victim can be easy. You nudge open that perfect break out and just barely get hooked. Your opponent misses a shot so badly he completely snookers you behind his only remaining ball. And, don’t forget the perfect break that squats the cue ball dead center, only to have it kicked in the side pocket off three balls. Everyone gets hosed from time to time. It’s easy to feel victimized when these unfortunate events occur. The point it, ‘It’s Not What Happens to You, It’s What You Do about It’ (the title of the victim W. Mitchell’s book on taking responsibility for change). What you do about it is what separates the fighters from the victims.

In Bishop’s article, he explains, “Each of us has unfortunate circumstances to bear, many of which might qualify under any definition of being victimized. However, the cruelest form of victimization is that which we inflict upon ourselves.” This means that from this day forward we will accept responsibility for our mistakes at the table. We will not blame the equipment or our opponent for our losses. We will empower ourselves by being accountable for our actions and not being the victim of unfortunate outcomes.

No longer will we feel cheated from a “bad roll” that occurred during our matches due to poor equipment. Instead, we accept responsible for learning the nuances of how the table plays and adapt to them. Only you can determine how to interpret an event. There is no right or wrong answer. Use your mental energy to make good choices based on the facts, not your interpretation of the facts. Fact: The table rolls to the top left corner. Interpretation: I got screwed by the table roll. Fact: I got hooked because the rails are slower than I expected. Interpretation: I got a bad roll and got hooked.

Sometimes we say to ourselves and others tell us that we got unlucky or we got a bad roll because we don’t want to feel bad or we don’t want to have regret for the decision we made. The truth is that being aware of when we are feeling victimized and changing that though process can empower you to make better decisions moving forward. Accept responsibility and take control of your match. You are not the victim.