I had the opportunity to interview mindset consultant Pat Bailouni (website PatBailouni.com) who is a trained Demartini Method Facilitator.
He’s also a financial market trader and he uses his understanding of human behavior and psychology to help traders, poker players, entrepreneurs and athletes sharpen their edge in their respective fields.
Check out his recent article: “How Emotions Can Destroy Your Poker”.
Listen to the interview as you follow along below:
Watch the interview on YouTube:
This quote came to mind after my talk with Pat:
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”~ Maya Angelou
Pat Bailouni Interview (begins at 2:10)
Pat lives in Melbourne, Australia.
Started hybrid-trading (mix between day trading and swing trading. i.e. Less positions and longer holding) in the financial markets 5 years ago. He really enjoys the psychological aspects of trading and it’s led him into the mindset coaching and consulting realm.
There are many similarities between trading and playing poker:
- Investing for yourself and playing on your own bankroll are similar mentally.
- Investing for clients is similar to playing with backers/financers in you’re all sharing in the emotional responsibility of your wins/losses.
- Traders, just like poker players, often feel resentment when things don’t go their way.
- Diversification: traders don’t put all their eggs in one basket and spread their investments in various directions. Poker players follow bankroll rules so they don’t have too much at risk at any given time.
- Failures and set backs are learning opportunities in both areas.
- The law of large numbers works in favor of both good/smart traders and poker players.
The Demartini Method – taken from drdemartini.com
- “The Demartini Method is a breakthrough discovery and cutting-edge personal transformation methodology that results in a new perspective and paradigm in thinking and feeling.”
- “Every emotion is a bi-product of your ratio of perceptions.”
- “When you perceive that an event has more benefits than drawbacks, you label it a beneficial event or situation.”
- “When it has more drawbacks than benefits in your perception, you label it a challenging event or situation.”
- “You have the power to transform how you perceive an event just by asking quality questions that bring balance to your awareness. This means that you see the up of the down and the down of the up. You see life as ‘on the way’ instead of ‘in the way’.”
Emotional responses to an event indicate that you have an incomplete awareness towards something. When you can analyze the situation and become fully aware of what happened and what you can take away or learn from it, the emotions will subside and you’ll be a stronger person/player/trader/etc. for it.
Getting Over My Resentment of Losing Big with TT (14:00)
Pat asks me a series of questions that force me to confront my perceptions and beliefs around a “bad” event. By the end of it, I learn that experiencing this event was good for my growth as a poker player.
The event we discuss is a LIVE game where I 3bet big preflop with TT, my opponent called with 92 and ended up taking my entire stack.
Questions/Details Pat elicits from me:
- Go to that specific moment where you perceived yourself displaying a trait, action or inaction that you dislike or resent in that moment.
- Are you resentful towards yourself or another individual? The other player.
- What trait, action or inaction from the other individual did you dislike or resent in that moment? Playing un-probabilistic hands in order to crack big pairs.
- Key idea – We only resent in other people parts that they’re reminding in ourselves that we feel shame about.
- Put yourself in a reverse situation, where you were making the same action of this individual you are resentful to. It’s a bit humbling seeing the same trait in yourself that you resent in others.
- Epictetus said:
“An ignorant person is inclined to blame others for his own misfortune. To blame oneself is proof of progress. But the wise man never has to blame another or himself.”
- Holding me accountable: how did his action (playing an un-probabilistic hand) serve me? He asks me this over and over again and it takes my thick skull a bit of time to get to some good answers (sorry 😕). It helps to reinforce my own strategies so I’m not making mathematically incorrect and losing plays. Also, losing is a great opportunity to learn and get beyond the emotions of the moment.
- If you had won instead, how would that be a disservice to you? Without the loss, I wouldn’t have learned anything from this win. Also, the winning of $200 in that hand wouldn’t have benefited me as a poker player as much as the lessons learned from losing have benefited me.
- Winning can lead to pride and giddiness and missing out on important information or lessons you could learn.
- “In that moment, you didn’t lose anything. You just paid (via your loss) to learn those lessons.” This is a great way to view the event of losing a hand. Losing this hand was simply the cost of my education in this moment to strengthen my game. Well worth the cost.
- The money won isn’t as scalable as the lessons you learn from losses.
We ultimately learn the most from our losses
If you dive into the moment and learn from your losses, you change the pathways in your brain and you put yourself in the best possible position to execute on your poker plan.
Lots of winnings blind you to the lessons you could learn and this stunts your growth.
Pat says that growth happens on the border of support and challenge.
Steps for Growth:
- Notice you’re blaming others.
- Bring it to yourself and see where you’ve taken similar actions. This lowers resentment.
- See how their actions ultimately served you. This will help even more to lower your resentment.
How do you get in the zone? (44:00)
Practicing meditation can help if you use it as a tool to get present and not as a tool for escape.
Being distracted at the table, and NOT in the zone, means you’re trying to avoid something or trying to seek something.
Beyond meditation, use the Steps for Growth process above. Crack the idea that winning is good and losing is bad. See the drawbacks to winning and the benefits of losing to level out these two events.
Try to see both as neutral events. This will remove you from outcome-based decision making. When you stop seeking winning or avoiding loss, you level the dynamic and get present in the moment. Now you’re in the zone.
Physiologically, when you see any event as neutral, your body responds and the blood glucose and oxygen is sent to the prefrontal cortex. This is the most executive and developed part of your brain responsible for strategy and decision making. And as a poker player, ideally we want to be in the executive part of our brain.
Learn more about Pat Bailouni and connect with him at PatBailouni.com.