The impact of any card can be favorable or hit us like a devastating blow. It is a powerful force and it lasts a long time, especially when we lose.
Some people control anger internally; others explode externally with verbal and physical releases. It's a matter of demeanor and circumstance. Anger management is as varying as the people who use it.
Common to most, however, is that devastating losses (from a statistical anomaly) are far more memorable in the long run than several positive outcomes which are statistically "expected." Poker is the perfect example to illustrate this.
In a situation where two players are down to the river card and no more betting is to occur (i.e. players are all-in), assume you are a 95% to 5% favourite. If you repeat this hand 100 times, mathematically the underdog should win 5 times.
In the 95 times that your hand holds up, temperaments remain even keel. When, on the other hand, the suck out does occur, things flip. The loser feels like he just got kicked in the ... stomach. Suck outs are called suck outs for a reason: they suck.
When expectations are met we derive minimal amounts of long-term satisfaction. It feels good but the sentiment tends to fade. On the contrary, emotional displacement from unexpected outcomes (statistical anomalies) that are negative have long-lasting impact.
Rare outcomes truly shake us, and since we naturally magnify the negative relative to positive, we find that our memories stay very fresh when it comes to incidences of our own bad luck. The player who loses a 95:5 race will recall the circumstance much more vividly in the long term than the player who sucked out.
Many people live their lives experiencing events from moment to moment believing their emotional response to the day is reactively dependent on what is happening around them (+ve, -ve, neutral). In a poker sense, it is like responding to each occurrence as if it were another card exposed on the board (of life).
Let's view an example. While late for a meeting you rush to the elevator but find that it just began ascending before you got there.
Bad beat. Variance. You become upset. You respond as if you've just seen the one turn card you dreaded seeing. Subsequently your overall disposition leans toward the negative as it would when a bad card hits.
Let's rewind. You are late for a meeting and you run to the elevator. Guess what, it's completely vacant and waiting patiently for its next passenger. Hey, that's you! Your lucky day. Or is it? Not really.
Why? Simply put, it is because this good fortune is not absorbed as such. Instead it is seen as "how it should be".
An elevator is expected to be waiting for us when we need it just as a 95:5 lead is expected to hold on the river.
Instead of taking away a positive and affirming response to this (unnoticed) circumstance, the situation is viewed as neutral.
If something as mundane as waiting on an elevator yields either a neutral or a negative outcome then clearly something is imbalanced. Where is the positive? Where is the appreciation for things that happen as we expect them to?
If a simple daily occurrence either offers us nothing or adds to our irritability then the choices are bad and blah. In this case blah>bad but it still seems like an overall losing proposition. -EV if you ask me.
On the bright side, it doesn't have to be this way. It comes down to choice and effort.
If we choose to view as many things as possible with a proactive mental state (i.e. we consistently monitor our environment and disposition) we will find that eventually our responses to mundane events will become positive>neutral>negative.
Over an extended period of time, with practice and objective observation, the negative tends to diminish in magnitude and the results of our daily routine become positive>neutral.
We learn to view our bad beats and missed elevators as events that are, as mathematical variance shows, purely components of our life's destiny. Learning to deal with things that one cannot control in life, such as variance, leads to a life of understanding and patience.
To appreciate the small victories while eliminating the disdain associated with uncontrollable bad luck is the best medicine for handling life and poker's bad beats.