Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We are creatures of habit

This is a fact. Our lives are filled with mundane tasks we must complete every day. Our brains allow us to go into autodrive and handle these tasks without any effort. We put our pants on with the same leg first. We tie our shoes in the same way.

Even complex tasks are subject to this. Studies have shown that we learn to solve problems in set ways, and afterwards continue to attempt to reapply the solutions we have learned. It's referred to as the Einstellung Effect.

Poker is not exempt. If anything poker is the most susceptible to the affects of our habitual nature. It is a game of repeating situations. We will make similar choices again and again, and our success will depend on taking the correct actions. Every good habit that we have is a valuable asset. They will make money for us as we play the game. Every bad habit is an expense that will rob our profits. We literally pay to have them.

Consider this next time you find yourself tempted to take an action you know is wrong. Are you really making the call "just this one time"? Or are you reinforcing a habit that is costing you money?

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