Mindset Blog No.1 – My Journey

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Mindset Blog No.1 – My Journey

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04/05/2022

This is the start of a series of blogs mirroring the recent FTSBetslip podcasts on mindset where I hope to cover as much as possible to help people progress, as quickly as possible whilst accepting there are no short circuits and this game is bloody hard work and if you don’t accept that then you have simply no chance.

I did a podcast once on making a cup of tea and got ridiculed for it, absolutely hammered. I found it interesting, the reason being if I am doing something I like to try and do it properly, I don’t always succeed but by trying to I achieve more than most. That is not being big headed it is a fact. I watch people in all walks of life, I dismay at the way the world is going and two things are rally apparent, everyone wants everything immediately in double quick time (- cup of tea in 10 seconds as opposed to 5 mins, or profit in a week as opposed to a year), but it is the same with everything. The second element is everyone wants everything for nothing, be it a financial outlay to learn something or time invested to learn something, most people just do not have the stomach or mental set up for either scenario. As I say it applies to a lot of things, weight loss, self-help, hobbies, I see it everywhere and in everything people do. I love studying people. In the gambling world it is rife. There is only one guide in gambling – profit and loss. Unfortunately, many that you mix with will portray themselves as “knowing more than you” and wanting to as they feel it makes them superior.

It is a great arena for an ego – do not get me wrong you need some self-confidence, I have it myself and I know I can rub people up the wrong way but in the days of social media especially, you do need to ask yourself, is this person actually helping me. What is their true value? – the answer will surprise you and I would guess 80% – 90% of the time be – nothing at all.

I have a view on things, and I tend to keep them to myself, I speak and interact in the gambling community with who I want to interact with and give time to those I feel I should give time to, it is a varied group. I spend less and less time and have next to no interaction with people whose only output is detrimental to me. My daughter has an ego, she is not a stupid girl BUT she continually does stupid things. She is like a 32-year-old trapped in her 16-year-old self. She constantly gets in a mess in all sorts of ways, and we end up bailing her out and I realised over the last few years when I have had to pay more attention to such things that these issues stem from the people, she surrounds herself with and therefore speaks to and this affects her behaviour. She constantly mixes with people – she thinks she is better than, – she is not better than them, but she thinks she is, she likes to feel superior to people be it financially, mentally, or what she feels is intelligence. As such in that pursuit she does end up getting involved with some unsavoury people, she tends to seek them out to fuel her – I am better than you ego, I have a better job, I have a better education whatever it may be.

The social media gambling world is the same, there are people out there who offer nothing, they have an ego and portray themselves as something but actually everything they offer is negative and putting people down, not banter, a constant dig or snipe. Invariably such people have their own issues and I just distance myself from them. Life is too short.

Once you realise you are no better than anyone else, appreciate the conclusion that 8 billion people over the next 100 years are going to die, it’s a fact, you realise that you are pretty irrelevant, life is for living, your not special, your not that important, embrace life with a smile, live each day as its your last, accept we all make mistakes, everyone, give your little time on this earth its full and if you’re going to have a go at something try and do it properly and enjoy it, I am certain you, me, we would all be better. Spend your time with love, not hate, think before you speak to people and everyday try and offer help to someone, does not have to be financial you will find it is more rewarding tan this acidic life we are encouraging currently.

Of course, life has its struggles, we all have them, we all have our own physical/mental issues, and they can get in the way. Speak to people, tackle them with help not on your own.

Across this series obviously aimed at betting and football trading but I hope some can take it into other areas in their life I want to try and offer a structure covering many elements of the betting set up, what it is like to do this for a living, the skills you need and battles you will face. These are my thoughts based on my experience mostly through trading football successfully and of course some will disagree, some will snipe, hopefully some take something from it.

I think it is apt to start at the beginning and today I am going to go over my own journey quickly and mention the list of things I think people get wrong from the outset. It gives us a good base to proceed.

I do this full time, I have done for 15 years, I am I guess Marmite, people like me, or completely hate me. I am honest, loyal to the ones I need to be, been married for 25 years this year with my wife for 30 years, two kids, vastly different. I like a laugh, a beer, I flare up quick but do not hold grudges, I am generous and basically love a laugh. I try and live every day to the fullest.

BUT I have fought depression since I was sixteen, I have had a wealth of trouble in my life some self-inflicted, some forced on me, and life has not always been rosy. My mother mostly shaped the person I am today either in her ways or looking at how she lived her life and using that to drive me to achieve more.

My father went to prison when I was 16, it at the time turned my world upside down, we lived in a nice house in leafy suburbs of Surrey, like most kids do with their fathers I idolised him and it all fell apart that day. My education and university place went out the window, my mother ran away to Devon leaving me to live with one of my elder brothers who had just got married 2 months before and bought his first house and they did not want “their little brother living under their feet” so from 16, I was pretty much on my own. The true world of my father became exposed, alcoholism, violence, child abuse (not to me other than repeatedly telling me I’d never amount to anything which at the time I took for just what dads did), to the extent that I have not spoken a word to him now for 24 years after he told me he didn’t ever give a shit about any of us including my son who at that time was 2 years old, I walked out that day and never have gone back. I have hidden myself from him which has had its own battles and I know a day will come soon when I get a call saying he has died and I will have to deal with that and the last 24 years in whatever way it stirs up those emotions.

This might be seen as sharing too much but I think people see me sometimes and think I am arrogant and life is rosy, I am a normal person and life has been a lot of crap at many stages. BUT I used it to drive me on.

Without labouring the point, my father basically came out of prison, abused and abused my mum for a further 7/8 years and she would not for some reason leave, it was a pride thing with that generation and she didn’t want to be seen as divorced, he then met someone else, expected to move her in the family home and my mum to sleep in a spare room and put up with it ) I know messed up, and it engineered a divorce.

My mum worked 7 days a week, retired at 67 years of age and the day after she retired, he asked for a divorce, she was not earning money, so he had no use for her. It was horrific but I was glad she could get rid of him and live the rest of her life, I dreamed of taking her to the states, Australia, beach holidays with my then small kids – a life forward not back. The divorce went through in June 2004, my mum died of cancer 2 months later in August 2004, cancer, never drank, never smoked, worked tirelessly, only ever went abroad once for 3 days to Austria. I was told on my own by a doctor in the hospital that she had cancer on the Wednesday, she died on the Friday. Horrendous.

That changed my life and spurred me to live every day to the full, I was not gong to have that life, I decided my path pretty much that day – so let me tell you now, no matter how dark things can seem, no matter how much better people portray themselves than you, none of it really matters, all that matters is you, what you decide to do, how you get up off the floor. Spend less time on people unimportant, spend time on you most importantly, and then people who are important to you will then benefit, if you want to succeed at this game that is what will make it happen.

I don’t tell people this for a sob story, I tell them because its true, I know what a crap life is like, I know it does not have to be that way I know that people can be cruel, mean and pointless BUT I know if you dig in and apply yourself where you should, I know what can be done. Social media has made things ten times worse as the idiots have too many ways to access you quick and easily BUT you can choose all elements of your life, what you do and who you do it with, it may seem hard, but it can be done.

I used my experience to leave a job I hated, apply myself, seek good advice that I knew was good not from egomaniacs who offer nothing, I shared everything with my wife, and I started a multi-million-pound betting journey. I started lay the draw and did nothing else for 3 years solid until I knew I could win more than I could earn doing my job ( I think this really a key piece of information as everyone I deal with tries to be involved in too much), there are things to involve yourself in to learn and things you should bet and betting should  be confined to learning one thing really well to start in my opinion). From there I have applied the same principles to all my gambling, technology has enabled me to share things, maybe not always in the best way owing to my shortcomings on how to share that information but I believe I can help many of you do better and then you can take it where you may possibly believe you cannot currently.

There are many attributes to this game, it is a mental battle and involves money so it tests every single facet of yourself, I have had 5 figure wins and lost 5 figures in week, losses come and go, my biggest feat is staying in the game and not wavering from my own principles. We will get you to write your own principles down as part of this journey they may be different to mine but they are personal – yours, and if you stick to them you can succeed in what is not  a great space, jealousy, meanness, cluelessness it is a bit of a cesspit world, but you will find you way and identify the good guys some of which can steer you to and I believe I am one and certainly always try to be.

So let’s get to it  with as simple list of mistakes people make when betting/trading, you will identify with some and I want you to, we can then look over the course of these episodes to see help you fix them and improve.

Overtrading

Overtrading is one of the biggest pitfalls of trading. Do you have a favourite method which you prefer to trade whenever possible? When you have not taken a trade for a while, do you start to feel like you are not trading enough, and you will never make enough money if you do not start trading more?  Overtrading is the tendency to trade when you should not, because you feel you are failing to meet your profit margins. This typically results more often in lost trades however, and not in lost profit.

What should you do instead? Choose one method, build a daily list of games that apply and trade only those ignoring everything else, accept it will have good and bad days, but you will learn so much about yourself.

Changing entry criteria

Whenever you find yourself doing this, you are trying to justify a trade. The trade may or may not actually go on to lose, but you are not taking the best trade you could. The more you start compromising on your entry criteria, the worse trades you will end up taking, and the more money you will eventually lose. You may also start losing perspective on your own trading methodology, leading to confusion and a gradual lack of accountability. As your standards start to fall, you may forget what they are supposed to be.

Skipping testing when you make changes to your method.

You may think that a slight change to your method doesn’t require testing, if it makes sense based on what you have learned from past experiences.  In reality it is a particularly good idea to test any change.  If your method was already working all right, you can continue trading live with your system the way it was before. Simultaneously, you can test the changes in your method to see if they really did result in improvement in Profit and loss.  When you see the results, you want there, you can switch it to live

If you start getting lazy about testing, you are making the decision to leave the fate of your account up to chance. It is a bad idea, because when you start getting lazy about one thing, you will start letting that laziness leak into all things (back to my cup of tea). You will not only damage your trading system, but also your personal discipline. Discipline is a hard enough skill to master as it is

Ignoring the rest of life or not investing enough time.

Learning how to trade is a full-time job, and if you are already working another full-time job, balancing the two can almost impossible. Trying to then balance in the rest of your life may seem insurmountable. One of the worst habits of traders is to let other things go—like sleep, healthy meals, and social time. Be available for yourself, your family, and your friends.  Take care of your body and mind. Keep a regular schedule. Learning how to trade is important but remember why you are doing it. You are trading so you can make money and enjoy your life. If you trade away your life in the process, you will have nothing left to enjoy when you do become wealthy. Similarly, a fully automated route for me personally is not ideal, I like to be involved in the markets, they have changed hugely in 15 years, and I like to see what goes on. Personally, this world of” I just have a bot and do not do anything is not for me” – balance is so important

Becoming complacent.

If you are doing well with your trading, you may feel like you can rest on your laurels. After doing so much arduous work, it is hard not to be tempted to kick back and relax for a while.  But if you do, you may find your trading slipping away from you. You can never take anything for granted, and you must accept that the sports betting world is continuously changing. You will need to make periodic and regular changes and adaptations to your existing trading approach. This is unavoidable over time. If you become complacent, you will wonder one day why your trades have suddenly stopped winning, and you may panic, because you do not have your head together.

Resist the urge to become complacent. Instead, always be asking yourself, “How can I continue to improve my trading?”  That does not mean you should always be changing a system that works, but you should constantly be looking for ways to do what you are doing well even better. If you do find changes that might lead to improvements, you can test and implement them.  Otherwise, at least you are still learning, and you will be ready for change when it arrives at your doorstep.

Risking too much on certain trades.

Another bad habit of bettors/traders is the tendency to risk more money on some trades than on others. Have you ever looked at a certain trade opportunity and thought to yourself, “This one is a sure-fire winner? Why not invest 10% on it? After all, I am almost positive that it’s going to make it.”  The problem with this thinking is twofold. First off, 10% is just too much of your account to risk on any one trade, no matter how confident you are in it.  Losing is always a possibility. This is why it is called risk management.  You are managing risk, not certainty.

The other problem with this thinking is that you must be taking trades which you are not that confident in regularly if you are wagering less on some and more on others. You should only ever be taking trades like this one, which you are so sure is going to win. Why would you ever take on more risk than you have to? If you take only the best trades, you will win far more often than you would otherwise, and all your statistics will be better. You will get a much higher Return on Investment (ROI). Again, if you are not finding the best possible trades. Do not overtrade, and do not risk more on some trades and less on others. Always risk a consistent percentage or know that what you are having more on wins more often which will nearly always be dictated by the odds you bet at.

Freezing up on perfectly good trades.

Have you ever lost a trade or two, and then discovered you have become squeamish about trading altogether? Maybe you had a brief losing streak, and now you are starting to panic and think that your system is broken.  You may have a trading list and the first two lose, you stop, because you are so afraid of losing again. Then you watch the trade go on to win. You start missing trade after trade. Then one day you get fed up with this, and you randomly enter a trade, only to find yourself losing again. And because you have skipped so many good trades, your win percentage declines, and you lose even more confidence.

Had you taken all the trades you were supposed to, your little losing streak might have been just variance, and things would have righted themselves. But by freezing up and losing confidence, you have turned the situation into something that is spiralling out of control. If you struggle with this problem, then we ned to look at your overall set up, what you are betting and staking

Chasing losses.

This is a habit which is the exact opposite of the one above. Instead of freezing up and deciding not to trade, you start trading like crazy because you want to get back at the market. This is a form of emotional trading. You are allowing your anger to drive you into making irrational decisions. You may not even realize you are doing it until you have been doing it for a while. Anytime you lose a trade, it can pay off to step back from your trading for a while and take a closer look at what you are doing and why you might have lost. Then you can move forward with confidence (or go back to testing if that is really necessary).  The market is not an entity you can get revenge on, and personifying it is never a good habit for any trader.

Relying too much on others.

Another common and foolhardy newbie habit is to lean too much on the expertise of more advanced traders. There is nothing wrong with good advice, but it is important that you learn how to do your own analysis and make your own trading decisions. Likewise, if you buy a system, learn how and why it works to generate profits before you start using it yourself. The expertise of others can help you to get a foothold in the market, but that expertise can fail. Ultimately you need to learn how to rely on yourself.

Ignoring the reality of your account.

When you lose a bet/trade, do you turn around and simply deposit more money to compensate for the loss so that you can go on trading as usual? If so, take care to make sure that you are not ignoring the reality of what is happening to your trading account. Quickly depositing new money can easily trick your brain into skimming over your losses, because you do not have to see them reflected there in your balance, and you are not suddenly trading with less money and struggling to climb back up to break even. There is nothing wrong with replacing the money you lose if you can afford it. But it is essential that you come to terms losses so that you can make the appropriate changes necessary to start winning consistently. My first aim with everyone I coach is stop them losing first, only then can we focus on winning

Not being prepared and not expecting the unexpected.

I am constantly amazed by people who turn to this game and simply expect to turn the computer on ad win. It is madness. You need to be fully prepared in all faculties of the skills required. Similarly, as it is sport, we all have opinions and then are amazed when those opinions do not play out, expect the unexpected anything can happen Spurs can beat Man City then lose to Middlesboro, anything can happen. It is all mathematics, percentages portrayed as odds.

Understanding short term/long-term variance and perspective.

I cannot think of any other activity where people change like the wind. Mostly because they did not know what they were doing something in the first place but you need to understand this is ultimately a long term game and will have short term variance- Sometimes it just goes wrong for a while

Lack of self-belief, taking it personally

I firmly believe anyone can do this IF they apply themselves correctly and accept a willingness to learn. If you keep thinking it is always you, you can never do it, that you affect the results, and everything is negative, or you let others grind you down with their constant criticism your chance of success is severely diminished before you start. Be positive and focus on you, write out your path plan and from there we can work on the emotions of this game.

Sports trading betting should be fun, but it is bloody demanding work with ups and downs that cannot be avoided hopefully this series will plot you through some of the areas above with clarity.

5 Responses

  1. Brilliant one. So much to reflect first and set up before starting any journey. It is interesting how we should apply some aspects into our lives completely instead of only thinking about trading/betting. To avoid some of the mistakes, it’s important to find that balance elsewhere.

    One additional point I would bring is also understanding that success is relative and it comes after a good process design. Quick wins are good to build confidence but the process implementation and adjustment is the key to keep a good success rate.
    Thanks for this one and congrats for the pods! Cheers

  2. Nice write up Ian, although having listened to nearly all your podcasts its always good to read about a persons journey, the good and bad. I can confirm that to make this game pay you have to get your mindset correct and patience is needed in bundles, I have done all of the above, and it takes a lot of drilling into your head to get things right. These mindset podcasts/blog posts are excellent for learning the game correctly and making it pay in the long term, thank you Ian.

  3. very good read. Betting is not easy but it is possible to win a lot over time.

  4. So much truth in what you say there Ian. Betting/trading is a mirror of life in general, full of ups and downs that we have little control over, but have to overcome to be successful.

  5. Loved the Summer School. Love the pods. And I’m looking forward to reading more of your thoughts on trading in the weeks to come.

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