It’s Mindset Month for Raise Your Edge and today ‘bencb’ shares three ways to stop being so fixated on results at the poker table.
Let’s face it, most of us by default are very results oriented. We want to see quick gains in the gym, quick success with our careers, and the journey is often less important to us than the destination. This disconnect in our brains makes playing poker (especially for a living) over a long period of time somewhat tricky, because poker is a very fickle game over the short term. Even if you do everything absolutely perfectly you’ll still have losing days – many of them in fact. Being able to deal with these downswings and separate yourself from the results (win or lose), is vital to your long term success, so let’s talk about a few ways you can avoid being results oriented in poker.
Build a strong foundation
Some people handle swings (in life and in poker) better than others. Just naturally, due to the differences in the chemicals inside each of our brains, we’ll all have differences in ability when it comes to dealing with variance and breaking away from being results oriented. There are, however, some very foundational steps you can take day to day to separate yourself from your poker results and maintain a healthy perspective.
Sleep is incredibly important when it comes to dealing with stress. If you are not getting enough sleep every night, you will likely not be able to deal with the pressure of a downswing and will be more inclined to attach yourself to the results you’re getting. Because your basic needs aren’t being met and that healthy foundation is not in place, your mood will fluctuate drastically and will often be attached to the results you’re getting in poker. The same can be said for other vital foundational habits such as exercise and diet, improving these three areas will increase happiness and allow you to have a broader perspective and avoid reactionary impulses.
Be kinder to yourself
Don’t be a toxic friend to yourself
If a person was to follow you around all day, talking to you in the same manner that you talk to yourself every day, would you be friends with them? For a lot of us, that answer would probably be a strong NO! Many of us tend to give ourselves way too hard of a time, such that if someone else said half of the things we say to ourselves we would probably cut all ties with them – who would want to be around such a toxic person? The problem is often that we can’t seem to get this negative voice out of our head.
Instead of immediately trying to fix a million different things and become the perfect, optimal version of yourself, start by focusing on the dialogue you have with yourself on a daily basis. Practice intentionally talking to yourself in a more positive, compassionate and loving way, while still being assertive with your goals. Don’t start letting yourself off the hook when it comes to your passions and dreams, but instead talk to yourself in the way that a dear friend would – being loving and truthful with yourself.
Work on giving yourself more props when you accomplish something (even if it’s as small as making a healthy meal, studying for an hour, etc). By attaching yourself to your own personal development and internal work you separate yourself more and more from the external results. You’ll find eventually that the daily actions you take will become more important than the destination, and that you’ll naturally separate yourself quite a bit from your results.
What has changed?
Did that bad session really change anything?
If you are still in a situation where your mindset is still very results oriented, go a little deeper and start asking yourself why you’re feeling this way. If you’ve just had a terrible session, or had a really bad month even, just take a second and ask yourself-
“Did what just happened actually change anything?”
Assuming of course that you’re playing with a proper bankroll and are financially and mentally capable of playing winning poker, the answer will likely be no! As humans we tend to blow our issues out of proportion, and sometimes a simple question like this can help bring some perspective to the issue. In life you choose the problems you want to face every day. By playing poker you’re choosing to deal with issues like bad sessions, losing days and months, internet connection issues, casino commutes, and a host of other problems. If you were to switch career paths you’d inevitably encounter other issues as well. If being results oriented is an issue for you, recognize it as such and work to improve on your outlook a little every day. You signed up for this when you became a poker player, now it’s time to work on it!
Set aside some time today and think about one way you could build a better foundation for yourself, and remember that sometimes the most toxic voice in your life is your own inner voice.
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Benjamin ‘bencb’ Rolle is a professional poker player and the founder of Raise Your Edge.