I have found that poker concepts often apply to life situations in addition to ones on the felt. Such poker analogies have been especially helpful in the past when having conversations with other poker players about life issues. I have always been one to apply concepts from one area of my life to another and generally I think this is pretty useful as it helps one think about situations in a way that they maybe hadn't before. Some times the hardest things to really see are the ones that are the most obvious, but are clouded by refusing (either consciously or not) to think about things in new and different ways.
I was thinking recently about life "bad beats" after hearing an Olympian on tv ask the perennial question: "Why do bad things happen to good people?" Yeah, bad things happen, a lot. But why does something bad happening in your life have anything to do with how good or bad you've been in your life up til then? I guess people who think these things are people who believe in fate, destiny, and other kinds of non-free will. I don't see the logic in thinking that no bad will ever come to you if you behave like Mother Theresa. I suppose maybe fewer bad things are likely to happen to you, from a probability standpoint, if you are making good decisions, but sometimes acting like Mother Theresa and making appropriately smart decisions aren't the same thing either. Certainly, however, luck, randomness, fate, destiny, or whatever plays some part in life as well. Not everything is within our control.
In poker, if you play a hand badly and lose your stack, it's probably not fair to call it a bad beat. It's certainly too bad that you lost your stack, but it's not really lady luck's fault. In some situations like these, it might even be "lucky" that you didn't lose more, if a scare card comes that slows you down when you otherwise wouldn't have, or if your opponent has a short stack.
Similarly, if you make poor decisions in life, even if you weren't necessarily aware of them being poor decisions at the time, it should not be unexpected when bad things happen.
This seems obvious, yes, but I think all of us (self included) have a tendency to blame bad things on luck and good things on behavior or skill (in life and at the table), when both have a role. The past ten months or so have certainly been some of the most continuously stressful months of my life, and it's been useful to me recently to think more honestly about the things that have been largely a result of my own actions and those that were largely out of my control. When things aren't going well (in life or at the tables) it's tempting to mostly pass it off as bad luck, when really, at least sometimes, different decisions could have been made. On the other hand, there are also times when things just suck, even though your actions wouldn't have changed the outcome one bit.
I've had a little bit of both over the past ten months, but it is helpful to me to try to acknowledge which issues were largely of my own making so that I can try not to repeat them, or at least handle similar situations better differently in the future.
And at the rate I'm going, right when I finally have this whole life thing figured out, I'll probably be on my deathbed. ;-) In poker, it is generally considered wise not to play when you are in an emotional tizzy, tired, preoccupied, or elsewise less likely to make good decisions. It would be nice if we could take a life time out for the same reasons.