Okay, let’s get a show of hands. How many of you were taught when you were young that it’s okay to fail. Oh, maybe not in so many words, but failure is implied in more clichéd phrases than you can imagine. You’ve heard them all.
“You can’t win ’em all.”
“Don’t cry over spilled milk.”
“You can’t win for losing.”
“If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all.”
And maybe you really can’t win ’em all – but whose to say you can’t win most of ’em?
You see, most of us were programmed to lose by a well intentioned society. Our collective lack of self confidence, whether it has to do with meeting new people, completing a project on time at work, or locking up a profit at the casino, is a direct result of some “responsible” person telling them things like “second place is great” instead of “second place if first loser.”
Yes, the “first loser” line is brutally honest – you might not like to hear it. But I’d be willing to bet that the first loser would try much harder than the kid whose parents taught him “second place is great.”
Behold, the lowly slot player, who has just put $100 in the machine and played it down to $50 without getting any kind of hit. Some players will cash out of that machine and move on to another in hope of breaking the trend. We’ll call them “Get ‘er done” players. Others will continue to play, but change from betting max coin to one coin so they can last longer. Call them the “Hold on a second” players. Then there’s the guy in the corner who just sits there, pushing the button, never changing anything – running every dollar in the hopper through that one machine. We’ll call him the “Ain’t going nowhere” player. One takes aggressive action in an effort to win. One takes minor action. The other specializes in inaction.
So how do you move yourself from inaction to action? It all comes down to getting rid of what Zig Zigler used to call “stinkin’ thinkin’.
Vince Lombadi once said that “Winning is not a sometime thing, it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while. You do them right all the time.” If you do that – winning becomes a habit. Of course, losing can become a habit as well. Which gets us to the guy or gal in the mirror.
Are you in the habit of losing? Do you have a “loss limit” that gives you permission to feel “okay” about losing a little at the tables? To you have a “win goal” that you ignore – playing through a win then giving your winnings back again? Do you blame your losses on the dice, the table, the shooter, the other players, the casino, the economy, or your mother-in-law? Do I really need to tell you where the fault lies?
So how do you turn it around? Perhaps a few more losses are in order. You should lose the habits you’ve developed that have led you to be a consistent loser. Here are a suggestions few that come to mind:
• Lose your current strategy. Hey, if it were working you wouldn’t be reading this. If you are playing the same way every time you go to the tables your strategy is no longer a strategy – it’s a habit – or maybe it’s a rut! So put on the brakes and do something differently.
• Lose the idea that you are in control of things. You aren’t. Sure, you may be able to influence the dice. But there are way too many variables for you to be able to think you’re in control of anything.
• Lose your concern over what anyone else thinks. Anything anyone else thinks about you isn’t about you – it’s about them. And there’s nothing you can do about anyone’s thoughts or feelings.
• Lose second-guessing yourself. Really, what we’re talking about is gaining self-confidence. Coulda-shoulda-woulda doesn’t do anything for your self-confidence. Instead, it undermines it.
• Lose your fear. I like the idea of rituals. One you can use with your fears is to simply list those fears on a piece of paper. Re-read the list, then burn it, visualizing fear fleeing from your body as you symbolically send your them up in smoke.
• Lose hanging out with losers. Unfortunately, when you review your circle of friends you may find that they, too, are losers. If that’s the case you need to change your circle of friends and hang around with winners. One ofthe quickest jumpstarts to winning is to hang out with winners and emulate what they do.
• Lose self-centered greed. It’s one of the top reasons why players lose. Almost all of us get ahead at one point or another in every session. But instead of quitting while we’re ahead, we hang in hoping for a bigger score. And in doing so we risk losing – not only the chips we’ve one, but every chip in the rack.
• Lose the excuses. At the end of the day – you are the only one in charge of you. Take 100% responsibility for your life and your actions.
You’ve heard that old saw for years – gambling is a tough way to make an easy living. But really, it’s not that difficult at all. You just have to give yourself permission to win – then go out there and do it.