As I mentioned in my last blog, I've been playing a good deal of pool lately. I've been doing a lot of reading and studying about the mental aspects of competition in an effort to improve my game. I've found a lot of what I'm reading is also applicable to poker. I thought I'd share one such thing I read from a book called, "Finding Your Zone" - it's a book I highly recommend to anyone in any form of mental competition (I'm reading it for the third time)
Here's a few paragraphs taken from the book:
"Process-oriented thinking is about doing the best you can; goal-oriented thinking is about beating someone or something. For example, if your goal in tennis is to beat your brother, then this result-oriented goal automatically narrows your chances for doing so. If the match is close, you will naturally start to think about the possibility of your pending victory. Your thoughts start to move to the future, and you start to feel that pit in your stomach. This emergence of additional anxiety causes your stroke to become tight and your balance awkward. Your chances for beating your brother lessen.
However, if your goal in playing your brother is to hit the smoothest shots and always maintain your balance, then beating him becomes an incidental consequence and not such a big deal. Your thoughts are much less likely to focus on the future, and you are less likely to choke. When you think strictly in terms of results, you open the possibility of doing everything perfectly and still losing. You may play impeccably and still lose to your competitor who scores better. However, if you focus on your effort or the quality of each shot, then you allow the possibility of winning even if your competitor beats you."