FTS Betslip Mindset Series Episode 9 – Mental Environment

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FTS Betslip Mindset Series Episode 9 – Mental Environment

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06/10/2023

In this episode, I want to talk a bit about understanding ourselves and how we make money at this. I will introduce compounding and how we start to bring everything together so that we can begin to make money from gambling, betting, trading, whatever name we want to call it. I am not one of those who lingers on the names of what we call our activity. It can come under all three. Obviously, there’s a different stigma for different people depending on which one you use. For instance, if I go on holiday and say to somebody, I’m a gambler who’s dead against gambling, obviously, their perception of me is one thing. If I use the words, I’m a trader, they’re probably more inquisitive. What does that mean? What do you do? And if you didn’t mention sports and you talked about trading shares or gold, they’d probably be quite impressed with you. It is getting to that stage now of why we got into this, understanding ourselves, understanding the environment and starting to bring it all together. So far, All the episodes we’ve done are about the basics and understanding yourself.

One of the critical elements to anybody’s success is understanding their own mental capacities, your whole mental environment, what you’re living in, your thought processes, and knowing what that is and being able to work on it, work on your strengths and weaknesses, as well as the financial aspects of what we do.

One of the reasons why all this is so difficult is because there is no course. There’s no teaching of it. There is no university course. There’s no manual. There is only your own experiences. A lot of people get scarred from betting and trading. That’s why they hang on to every result because the money becomes so important to them. Other people’s experiences, which quite often, as I’ve discussed with things like social media, are completely and utterly irrelevant. It all comes down to getting your mental thinking in place, getting your money management in place, and then doing what we talked about in the last episode, executing that plan. You need to make a list.  We’ve set our goals, and quite often they’re financial. But you need to make a list of your mental traits. What are your positive mental traits? Do they change when you are gambling, trading and betting? What are your negative mental traits? Again, do they change? Do they become more pronounced when gambling, betting, and trading? Do they become more apparent after a loser?

What are your general beliefs about what you’re doing? I think many people don’t believe they can do this, which is really important. What are your denials? If you look back over what you’ve done and everything where you want to get to. I have a lot of people who will say to me, I want to get here. They want to get to the peak of Everest with their betting trading. And then when you start to break down what they do, and you say to them, do you really think that you’ve put things in place to do that? You invariably end up with the answer no, but they kidded themselves along the way that they have. But again, once you get things down on paper, you can start to identify them again. You’ve got to be fully honest with yourself so you can begin to work on them, but until you identify those mental traits, it isn’t easy to work on them. If you are constantly living in denial, perhaps you’ve been racking up losses, or maybe you’ve been making bets you shouldn’t have. If we look at it in the trading world, whatever it may be, and you’ve constantly been pretending something doesn’t happen when you actually get it down on paper and look at it, hopefully, it acts as a trigger to say to you, I can’t do this anymore.

I try to get people to keep a trading journal, daily profits and losses, bets you have, why you have them, and you’ll start to see the stuff outside your plan. The minute you can stop that, and I think one of the good things we’ve done on FTS is we’ve got many people to stop having stupid bets in the way they trade because that temptation is there. So again, that’s another mental trait. I’m writing this week when there’s not much football on midweek. Are you then looking for something? That’s a mental trait. Are you off looking for something? What mental trigger makes you look for something to bet on? Once you understand all that, we can start to push it on because everything comes down to how you act with your money in the market, whether you’re placing a bet with a Fixed odds bookmaker or whether you’re using an exchange trading with planned entries, planned exits, just set plans.

Once you start to understand yourself and apply your own emotion and, intelligence, emotional energy to what you’re doing correctly, it is incredible how quickly your results improve. I talk about this stuff because I believe people don’t think of the mental side, which I believe to be the most important. I’m a great believer that anybody can win at this game. Anybody can do what I do, anybody can do what Steve Williamson does, or anybody can do what Andy or Peter does. You’ll do it differently, but anybody can do it. But there are two elements to it. One is the money management side and having a set plan, a set system that you will operate. But most of it will come down to, and I firmly believe, 80, 90 % plus to your mental environment, behaviour and how you act. For example, if you’re trading because you must win £100 to pay a bill. Mentally, you’re putting pressure on yourself. Mentally, that environment is completely different for somebody with a set plan. Perhaps they have a wage coming in, don’t need to worry about bills and can work themselves through it.

Another aspect of that is people. One of the things I was taught in school was money management. People don’t know in life how to manage their money. How basic this sounds, and a bit patronising, but spend less than you earn. Perhaps put some away every month from a young age. One of the things I was told as a kid was to get a pension in my 20s. You’re not thinking of that. We’re going out drinking, partying, whatever. The guy I knew well was older. He said, Ian, start putting some money in a pension as early as possible. And I paid into a pension from 21/22 years of age. It’s incredible, when you start earlier, for those of you younger listening to this, how much the power of compounding works and that it becomes worth it. I think that we’re not taught enough of this as a kid. It all goes together: managing yourself financially, managing your betting plan and trading plan.

When we’re looking at what we will do to manage your mental self, we’ll have goals and things we’re aiming for, but we need mental goals. I do top trump cards where I’ll rank things 1-10. And then I can see myself, areas I’m weak in, the areas I’m strong in, and I can look to improve them. If you’re dealing with fear, fear is an emotional feeling. It’s nothing else. It’s not pressure. There’s no such thing as pressure.

When people say, they perform under pressure. Such and such perform under pressure. What is pressure? What is it? When you look at it and define it, what is it? It is an entirely self-inflicted emotion. Nothing else. Nobody can put pressure on you. Not one person can put pressure on you. You can have a parent who says you’ve got to go out and play well. That’s not them putting pressure on you. That’s them being a bit of an idiot. The pressure is purely self-inflicted. For me, playing a lot of golf, many people talk about pressure on the first T. I could see people who would step on a first T, and they’re nervous. What are they nervous about? They’re nervous about hitting a bad shot. Why don’t they want to hit a bad shot? Because people are watching. They’re creating an environment. I used to say to a friend who struggled with it to the point it would freeze him on a first T. I told him, ‘They’re not interested’. It comes down to the same thing we need to learn: people aren’t interested in what others do. Some people want to spend their lives putting others down on social media, which allows that. Some people like to say, ‘Look at me.’ But for 99 % of the world, we are not interested in what other people do. But he used to get himself completely and utterly fixed, worrying what other people would think of the shot he was about to hit. It is all self-inflicted, and in sports like golf, and you see it in all the other sports, you’ll see it in athletics, people will develop a routine that switches them into what they’re doing, as opposed to what other people think they are doing. You then get into the habit of what you do, and then you can execute better. That’s precisely what I have with my betting.

I had a pre-shot routine in golf, and I’m the same in betting. I go through a process. I get up in the morning; I run a process.  This stops me from clouding all the other noise. All this is your mental environment, your mental emotion in how you handle yourself. And it’s a good drill for people to look at it.

I see it day in and day out just on our FTS site; in the FTS chat that goes on, I can see the people that, pardon the phrase, are mentally weak, and then you form an opinion, and you think they’ve got no chance until they can change that. It doesn’t matter what they bet until they can change that; they’ve got absolutely no chance because of that mental weakness; that mental emotion they’re putting on themselves will permanently inhibit them. It doesn’t matter what system they bet on or what they do. My mentor told me that you can give a winning method to multiple people, and you will get various results and plenty of losers. And I’ve repeatedly seen that play out over my life in the punting game.

A good friend of mine, Chris Jones, was an expert, excellent mentally, and that’s the key.  He had clear goals that he wanted to achieve, and Chris made five figures a month doing the bonuses and bonus bagging the other stuff. It’s not a field I ever went into. It didn’t interest me. But Chris went down that road, helped numerous people, and was in multiple groups. And he said. ‘You get people who still lose at this.’ You can’t lose this because all the EVs calculated are positive. You’ll have ups and downs but cannot lose at it. But people would lose not because they couldn’t do it but because of the mental approach to it as simple as that.

From this episode, listen to this, put it down, and write down your positive feelings and emotions. What are your negative ones? What are your mental goals and beliefs? Do you, and be honest, Do you deny yourself? Do you pretend perhaps that you’re something you’re not with certain parts of this game or comply with other aspects of your life? What’s your mental understanding of what you’re doing? Goals and aspirations, all that stuff, it all goes into the pot. Then mark yourself and say I need to work at this. You’ll soon see this is part of this is what inhibits me. I think that this works, and it doesn’t. The results show me it doesn’t, but that’s been my mental approach.

In the last episode, I talked about things like acting on a red card. It’s a sudden mental emotion. I don’t want to lose money. I’ve got an excuse. I’ve got a way to get out. I can blame the red card, whatever it may be. We’re seeing it now: we can blame injury time, we can blame referees, we can blame VAR. But all these are areas we can work on and sort out. When we look into making money, what we need to do, and as I said, we’ll do some stuff on staking, is to get into a compounding mentality.

Compounding is determined as the eighth wonder of the world. You look at people like Warren Buffett and Charlie Munga; people have been very successful in the financial world. They talk about the power of compounding. Warren Buffett famously said people don’t want to get rich slowly, which applies to what we’re trying to achieve here. You DO want to get rich slowly; you want to be able to manage your money, compound it as you go, and build your wealth in your bank over time. And with patience, you will get there. I get told the way I trade doesn’t suit many people because those people in their mind want to trade in one way. The way I trade is all about being slow, steady, unwavering, not putting myself under mental pressure, being able to move through and having a plan for my stakes to increase.  It is planned out, and as the stakes increase, you keep the win rate and your money increases.

We will talk about the power of compounding and how to go about it. We can daily compound. I’ve seen people try and compound after every single bet. That’s not something that I would do personally, but you’ll see people who daily compound. Let’s say they started with a bank of £1,000. At the end of day one, they got £1,100 and were betting 10% a bet. You wouldn’t but say on day one, they were betting £100, they won £100, so they’ve now got £1,100. On day two, they’re betting £110.  The problem with doing it daily is that you can have big ups and downs on any particular day. You need to make sure that that’s factored in.

I prefer a monthly compounding setup, which enables you to play out that month’s variance or financial-driven compounding. Let’s say I’ve got a bank of £5,000; I won’t increase things until I get to £7500. I know I will bet 1% of £5,000. Once I’ve got a bank up to £7,500, I will bet 1% of £7,500. We will talk about different ways to do that. I have slightly different staking and bank growth plans for how I do fixed odds compared to a trading bank. But it’s understanding that and understanding the pitfalls that come along. Again, many of your mental decisions will be determined by what’s happening with your bank and understanding that.

This can be a volatile and tumultuous game, and compounding, increasing stakes and then having a bad run will have a significant mental effect on people. But what we’re trying to do is build time in the markets. That’s what we want to do. If we just said we’re in markets as opposed to in sports events, and, as I’m writing this, people are talking about individual game results. I couldn’t tell you what happened in football matches this weekend. I don’t… I can’t go into that granular detail day by day of every single individual result. It just doesn’t interest me. But if we look at it and go, it’s about our time in the market. Suppose we have a solid plan and goals with a strategy, an excellent mental environment and emotions, and a good bank-building compounding strategy, and we put that time into the markets for an extended period. In that case, suddenly, we will start to build wealth.

People think there’s a mathematical genius, but there isn’t. We must have the patience to let the magic of what we do unfold. And that’s what I’ve done. That’s what other people I know who’ve been successful have done. I have a friend who bets on horses in a volatile environment that he works in. I admire him mentally. I admire the mental approach. I admire that he can get up the next day and do the same thing when he’s getting beaten up. He has gained over two million pounds in profit on a Betfair account. As well as God knows how much he’s won at bookmakers. But it’s his mental ability that’s enabled him to do that. He has had some shocking runs; I’ve had bad runs, but his are shocking. Of course, daily you’ll go, Jesus Christ. I’ll speak to him; he’ll say he’s having a terrible day. He’s done his brains this week. But it’s that mental understanding to get up and keep doing what you’re doing with a sensible staking strategy. When he is having a bad time, he doesn’t try and chase his money. He lets the natural path of what he does play out. That’s the same when you’re winning loads. You don’t want to start staking more and hit a bad run. All these things are mental emotions; overconfidence is a mental emotion.

Things to take away from today: Go away and write down your mental environment and emotions. Build a plan and strategies, and then mark yourself out of 10.

We are going to move into what is our staking setup like. Are we set up just to let this thing play out over time? And that is all it’s about over time. And if you are young and in your 20s, even if it’s only £10 a month, go and start a personal pension. You’ll thank me. Well, you won’t thank me because I probably won’t be around, but you will thank me in your 60s. You’ll look up and go; glad I did that and make sure your kids know about money. That’s one of the things. Just make sure you educate; it should be in schools. Absolutely 100% it should be in schools.

Go and look at those positive emotions, negative emotions, etc. And I’ll be back with another episode next week where we will look at examples of this compounding and staking and how we can apply it to what we do.

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