''Adam says'' - Edition 5

Adam Carmichael
Reading time 2-3 minutes
I commonly hear poker players saying that a lack of discipline is one of the main things holding them back.

Before you learn how to develop more discipline, quickly answer yes or no to following questions:

1.Do you have clear priorities?
2.Do you have clear goals that you are aiming for?
3.Do you have a plan that’s going to take you to your goals?

Are you confidently able to answer yes to all three?

Without these in place, even the most disciplined people in the world will soon run out of steam - as you are relying on willpower which is a finite resource.

To achieve success in anything we often have to give up some short term gratification, to give up some of the instant pleasures for the long term reward. 

This is hard to do at the best of times, but it’s near impossible if we don’t have long term goals that we feel like we are making progress towards with our actions.

As humans we are master negotiators. We negotiate everything with ourselves.

Should I eat the salad or the cake? Should I have a few more drinks or call it a night? Should I grind or watch more youtube videos?

If we don’t link our short term sacrifices with long term rewards, we will always pick the option that gives us the most pleasure or satisfaction in the moment.

And that’s the way most people live their lives, jumping from one quick fix to the next.
We need to stop and consciously decide how we want our future to look, what’s important to us, what are our priorities, what are our standards of what we expect from ourselves now and in the future.

We get to decide.

Once we have our priorities in check, once we know where we want to take our lives and are willing to make the sacrifices needed to make it a reality - then discipline is everything.

Now, there’s good news and there’s bad news.

The good news is that by repeating certain behaviours we can cultivate good habits that don’t require much discipline to maintain.

The bad news is, you need enough discipline to stick to good behaviours until they become habits.

And you can just as easily form bad habits that hold you back as you can form good habits that propel you forward.

Some of the best habits you can form as a poker player are consistent playing hours and a studying schedule.

If you are consistently showing up to play, if you are consistently working on your game away from the tables on a daily basis, you will have more success than most.

So what’s stopping you?

This answer will be different for all of you, but it’s important you take the time to identify what prevents you from staying disciplined.

Is it boredom so you quit your session? Is it social media which distracts you and stops you getting started? Is it tilting after a few bad beats which leads you to take days off?

Identify what the main things are that prevent you from staying disciplined.
Then decide on an action you can take that will make your life easier the next time you are in that situation.

For example, if social media is distracting you then you can literally block yourself from using it during set hours using apps like Freedom or put your phone on airplane mode whilst grinding.

If it’s tilting after a few bad beats, try injecting logic and reminding yourself that you aren’t supposed to win every hand and every player loses from time to time.

Have a note on your desk reminding yourself it’s part of the game.

If you’re expecting to win every hand or game, don’t sit down to play.

If it’s boredom, chances are you aren’t focusing hard enough, try narrating the hands in your head as you play them and start trying to predict which cards are going to come next or what your opponent is going to do next. 

Curiosity is a great cure for boredom.

Set yourself little challenges. Have daily goals and targets that you push for and don’t allow yourself to fall short.

Don’t worry how far away you may be from your long term goals, just focus on putting in the effort each minute, each hour, each day.

Let yourself feel good about hitting your daily target. Celebrate the small wins.

Life is won one day at a time, you can’t jump too far ahead, you need to bring it back to what you can do in each moment.

Overtime you might fall off or mess up, don’t dwell on it, just get back to winning the next moment, the next hour the next day.

It’s a constant battle of you vs you, the more times you come out on top the more momentum you build and the easier it gets to stay disciplined.

There’s an old Chinese proverb that says,“ The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

So get the momentum moving in the right direction today and don’t look back.

Your mindset and performance coach,

Adam Carmichael
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