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Mental Game & Life Strategy

The ability to set goals and the discipline it takes to achieve those goals without letting the rest of your life suffer are two of the most important things you need to master in order to improve as a poker player and begin getting serious about becoming a pro. One of the best parts of playing poker is getting out into the real world, playing in person, meeting new people and going on crazy adventures. This is also the riskiest part of the game because it takes you away from your comfort zone, and leaves you playing without your safety net. The solid footing of any healthy lifestyle depends balance and control, and a thriving poker lifestyle is no exception. Set realistic goals and learn to govern yourself so that you’re always working towards achieving your goals without letting the other, more glamorous things hinder your success. 

Table strategy is great to know, but you'll also need to understand how to manage yourself off the table to maximize your edge - and here’s where things get personal. I invite you to keep up-to date on my life and times as a poker player, and learn from my experiences so that you can learn from my triumphs and avoid my mistakes.  Any pro poker player will tell you your  mind is your most powerful weapon. Sharpen it, nurture it, rest it and give it peace so you can take to the tables - and your life - with killer confidence. 

Empowerment Exercise #4: Attack the Issues

Evan Jarvis

This final empowerment exercise is by far the most powerful technique I've outlined so far. Essentially, you’re going to go beast-mode on your problems. However, before I get into how to do that, exactly, I want to review the first three exercises we’ve addressed so far:

1. Set An Intention

Make it clear to yourself and others what you're trying to achieve. Say it aloud. Write it down. Start making yourself accountable.

2. Track Your Progress

Closely monitor how you're doing so you can see what's working and what's not. Keep a journal and record how you feel throughout your everyday life. By recording and acknowledging your moods and behaviours, you'll be better equipped to make the changes you want to see. BIG changes don’t usually happen in some moment of surreal epiphany – they happen by making real, gritty and often tough changes in your mundane existence. 

3. Admitting Imperfection

Continue to grow your awareness by admitting to your weaknesses. Look your imperfections right in the face and call them what they are so you’ll have a realistic and solid ground zero from which to build your future success. You can't build a kingdom on quicksand, my friends! 

If you’re just tuning into my empowerment series now, read up on them here.

Now, for our last exercise...

4. Attacking the Issues

Attacking the issues involves educating yourself about your specific problem. So, for example, if you’re tired all the time and it’s taking a toll on your life on and off the tables, then you’re going to want to clean up your sleep hygiene. There are no shortages of articles on how to get a better night’s rest. Or, if you go on-tilt to easily, you’re going to want to do some research on anger management. If you’re making costly knee-jerk decisions, you could probably stand to look into impulse control. You get the idea. Knowledge is power!

The beauty of the internet is that there’s a butt-load of information floating around just waiting to be plucked and absorbed into your beautiful brain. The equal and opposing truth is that there is a lot of information out there - certainly too much to keep stored in your brain, and not all of it is quality information. 

We as humans are not equipped with an infinite capacity for memorization, no matter how big and beautiful our brains are. For best results, you only want to pluck the juiciest tidbits, which means you’re going to want to ensure you’re only getting the goods from the most reputable sources. 

The challenges of being ‘self-taught’...

I know that sometimes it can be overwhelming to try to educate yourself and find that quality information. This is where a coach in the field will be invaluable. They’ve already done that initial research and have the exact answers to the questions you’re asking or to the problems you’re seeking to solve. It takes energy to try and solve a problem or start something new, and enlisting some assistance can alleviate the challenge and free up a lot of energy for other things/areas. This is a large part of the reason I got into coaching. I had the knowledge, other people didn’t, and I wanted to help. I also had some amazing coaches along I way and I knew I could give back to the enrichment process. 

Regardless of whether you decide to go it alone, hire a coach, or both, you’re going to want to make sure you’re not trying to keep everything you’re learning in your head. Free up some mental space so you can address your issues without being weighed down by extraneous baggage. This is where writing stuff down is going to come in handy. Use your poker journal (or whatever you want to call it) and put your lessons to paper. Now you don't have to worry about remembering; it's safely recorded for you. 

So whether it's something you’ve recently read, or you've just finished an enlightening session, or you've had an interesting conversation with someone, jot down the main points.  Writing this stuff down will free your mind. You'll be able to absorb more when you're not stressing about committing everything to memory, as important (or unimportant) as it turns out to be. It's all about growing your arsenal so you have more resources to fall back on when you need support. 

The myth of being truly ‘self-taught’...

No one is a totally self-made success. We’re all resting on the shoulders of the giants to some degree, so don’t think you should be able to tackle your issues alone. Give yourself a fighting chance by surrounding yourself with as many positive resources as possible – and here’s some good news: you’re reading this, so you’re already off to a great start! If you want more help, contact one of our coaches. We’ve got a solid spread of professionals here to help you succeed at poker, and at life. 

Video version of this exercise below

View the rest of the series!