PA Principle

Don't let negativity and pain become a habit

We are what we repeatedly do and think. Most of your life right now, who you are, where you are in your poker career and what you have is the reflection of choices you have made in the past. Some of them lead to something good, and some of them lead to things that are not so great.

In order to improve our life and our poker career we need to make better choices. If we make the same choices, we will get the same results, whereas different choices lead to different results. As with everything, if we want to change something about our life and our career, we first need to become conscious of how things work.

For this decision-making process there are 5 steps.

1 - It all starts with something that happens: an event. By itself an event is often neutral, meaning neither good nor bad. For example, in poker this could be getting a bad beat or making a mistake.

2 - We give meaning to the event based on our perception. How do we perceive this event? We label, usually good/bad or pleasant/unpleasant. We don’t like the bad beat; we think it’s bad that we made the mistake. How we perceive events is often very much based on how we were conditioned throughout our life.

3 - Our perception generates thoughts. Based on how we perceived the event this can lead to “good” or “bad” thoughts. What you think about daily is a big contributor to the quality of your life and the energy you have. As thoughts make us focus on the event even more, they often compound. Bad thoughts lead to more focus on the bad event, which leads to more bad thoughts and good thoughts to more good thoughts, etc. You can start to think poker is not fair and focus and confirm that every time you get a bad beat. Or you are a failure because you keep on making mistakes and you will never get good at this game. It’s very important to become aware of this, because it can become either a good or bad habit.

4 - What you think about is how you feel. For example, you can’t think about happy things and feel bad, just as you can’t think about bad things and feel good. So, you get angry because poker is so unfair, or you start to feel insecure about yourself because you’re making mistakes.

5 - Then based on our feelings we take action; we make a choice. We throw our mouse through the room, punch our monitor, or move up to chase loses. Or we quit or move down as we don’t feel confident enough to continue playing.

Often players spend a lot of energy fighting actions they take. They set goals to not smash their mouse or move up chasing loses. This is a battle you can’t win!

Start reshaping the way you perceive certain events. It’s a choice. You can start looking at the glass half full rather than half empty.

Do this repeatedly to break negative habits and ultimately make better choices.

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