Topics we’ll discuss in the next lines are:
- Our brain and how it evolved;
- What are the processes that happen inside of it, our thoughts and emotions;
- How we can distinguish them;
- What’s the new neocortex function which is one very important part of our brain. It is responsible for our critical thinking, for the complex cognitive processes;
- We will also see why we tilt because we know that we do it, but we maybe don’t know why, exactly;
- And how we can use the neuroplasticity to overcome tilt?
2. "Every battle is won before it is fought" ~ Sun Tzu
It is a bit more complicated because it takes time and more effort. The brilliant Sun Tzu, the author of “The Art of War”, actually had pretty good advice on how to win any battle. I reread his book every year, at least once. Because his concepts are so profound and so applicable to you. I recommend you also check the book.
Every battle, according to Sun Tzu, is won before it is fought. If you try to reduce tilt, if you try to overcome tilt, it’s nearly impossible to do it while it happens. I mean, in a very emotionally tense situation, it’s not the best moment for you to approach it, reducing tilt.
The best moment to approach it and to solve it, to overcome tilt, to transform it into something else is before the game. And here I would like to challenge you to think about yourself not only as a player but as an athlete. You know that all professional athletes warm-up, right? They prepare their bodies for the physical activity they will have.
Well, it is the same here. If you see yourself, as an athlete, like the professional athletes that count a lot on their bodies, this will dramatically improve your performance.
Because the state of your physical state also affects your emotional state and your brain state. It may sound weird but that’s the truth.
If you don’t do your warm-up, it’s the same as skipping your warm-up if you are a singer or if you are a professional runner or any professional athlete of any kind. You can address tilt with the mindset strategy before the game, which means to spend several minutes before your session.
First of all, change your focus inward. Achieve that state of inner calmness and decide for yourself what you will do in case that a situation that normally triggers you occurs. If you decide that prior to the situation, you will have more willpower to apply rational thinking and rational decisions when the situation happens. The warm-up is a technique that you can design and I can also help you with it. At Mindset Design, we offer different tools for warm-ups. And we experiment a lot including AI-generated music for performance enhancement.
Your dedication determines your success
You can experiment and find your own way to do it. This is extremely important, Your performance and your professional career development in that area depend a lot on how you see yourself. If you see yourself as someone who randomly plays and you are okay with your results, then you will underestimate such things as warm-ups. You will underestimate your diet, you will underestimate the content even that you consume on the internet.
But if you approach poker as craftsmanship or as a master, you will put in the effort and the time to prepare yourself before the session. I will use the metaphor of the samurai that spent the time and meditate on every battle before the battle – they can put themselves in that state. Those of you, I know personally, have that warrior mindset. And I will encourage you to move into exploring even deeper.
On a side note, what you can do before a session is to take good care to be hydrated. Make sure that you drink enough water – approximately 4 litres per day. This is advice that may sound a little bit like “Wow! Wait a minute. How 4 litres?! That’s too much!”. Try to do it for 10 days. Just trust me on that. Do it only for 10 days, and then you will see how clear your mind will become even from that simple change. Make sure that you stay hydrated because your brain is a system that is trying to move information in your body. So water helps a lot here.
3. Identity transformation
We move on to the third strategy. That’s the deep sh*t. It will take effort, consistency, commitment from your side. This is the reason why we created Mindset Design. Because we believe that this is the most profound layer on which you can transform your mind and your mental game. And that’s an identity change, identity transformation.
If you want to overcome tilt, you have to work on deeper psychological layers. The questions you have to ask yourself:
- What are your perceptions?
- How do you perceive yourself as a player? The game? Your opponents?
F*uck your Ego!
You have to work on your Ego. And that’s more or less common sense. In the poker industry, you have to deal with your ego on a daily basis, if you want to progress. And of course, you have to build the habits that will support your performance. That strategy is the one that I love most. I recommend to all the players that I coach, this approach. We always try to reach that profound layer, we always try to unlock that potential, because that’s the only way for us to achieve sustainable change.
Otherwise, the previous two strategies you can apply for quick fixes. They will improve your game for sure. And that’s okay. But they will not give you the profound and sustainable long-term change that you want to have in your game.
I was curious in the last several years to build systems around the neuroscientific aspect of the mental game, around the development cycle of psychology and behavioural psychology. Use the three (development psychology, behavioural psychology and neuroscience) to come up with tools and strategies for players that will support them in the mindset transformation. A process they can perform by themselves. The third strategy is only for the bravest ones.
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