re: Poker & Backing into the money
I similarly had a long run of cold cards in my last tournament - fortunately it was a freeroll, so I didn't lose anything on it... literally half an hour went by without a decent hand... I ended up having to play looser to not just get eaten up by the blinds.
I think the right way of looking at it is making the best of things. If you have a fraction of the chips anyone else has, then it is possible to work your way up again, just unlikely. If you're only a couple of places from the money and well away from the blinds, then with a severe short-stack it makes sense to sit tight for a premium hand. If you have only a slight chip deficit, then you should continue to play more aggressively. It's a question of risk vs. reward.
Besides, if you then play tight for a while, when you do play your table image will be stronger, and you'll be more likely to steal, so you may not harm you chance of doing better than placing anyway.