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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 #3: Admit Imperfection

Evan Jarvis

“Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it.”  ― Salvador Dalí

Wise words from a truly wise, truly successful, and OK – truly strange dude. Strange, but also, visionary. Dali saw the world differently, but he also saw it quite clearly. Many of us grope towards perfection, usually blindly and often at the expense of our own happiness. Sounds counterintuitive, right? I mean, shouldn’t perfection necessarily entail happiness?

Well, theoretically, it should, but as Dali has astutely noted, it isn’t attainable. It’s an abstract concept, not a real state of being. Translation: Perfection doesn’t actually exist, so stop aiming for it. 

Instead, own your imperfections. Admit to them. You’ll never be perfect, but acknowledging your weaknesses will better equip you to be the best you possible. Not flawless, but better. This is the basis of our third empowerment exercise: admitting imperfection by putting them in the clear light of day. And by ‘clear light of day’, I mean in the comment section of this article.

I don’t want you to go crazy unloading your perceived imperfections. First off, many things you consider imperfections may be things you are unable to change (like genetics), and you can’t – and shouldn’t – obsess about changing things you can’t control. Instead, I want you to focus on things you do have the power to change. 

With this in mind, let’s get to the exercise.

Start by picking three things you'd like to improve upon, one in each of these categories:

  1. A general goal for your poker game.
  2. Something that encompasses your emotional mindset that's not directly related to poker.
  3. A specific area where you have difficulty at the tables. It could be playing three bet pots or four bet pots, or dealing with double floats - stuff like that.

Now I want you to post one of your points of improvement in the comments section below, and over the course of the next few days, post another and then the last one. If you're reading the thread and see that you’re a total rock star in an area where someone else needs help, give them some advice. The idea here is that in less than a week, you'll not only have some solid tactics to tackle your problem in your back pocket, but you'll also be able to take comfort in the fact that everyone has areas that need work, and some of those areas are exactly the same as yours. You’ll see that not only are you in control, but there are people who have your back – and this is an awesome place from which to be working.

If you feel like this is getting too deep, too fast, make sure you’ve warmed up with my first two Empowerment Exercises, which you can find here and here.

Video version of this exercise below!

View the rest of the series!