Men seldom claim to be emotional, yet they make no bones about making similar claims about being competitive. The truth is, it's hard to have one without the other.
Take the 2006 Soccer World Cup Final between France and Italy. It was the final game in a French shirt for one of France's greatest ever players, Zinedine Zidane. He was a calm and reflective midfield general with skill in abundance. The stage was set for Zidane to end his career clutching the World Cup in triumph. Instead, he ended it walking from the field of play, dismissed by the referee for, of all things, head-butting an Italian defender, Marco Materazzi. Just for one moment Zidane, normally the most level-headed of players, let the competitive nature of the fixture get to him and his discipline evaporated. The result – disaster. France lost and Zidane's golden career ended beneath a blackened cloud.
Stay Competitive – Stay Disciplined
The greatest talents in sports know how to maintain their discipline, even if it means they are perceived as boring. Take Ray Allen, for example, of the NBA's Miami Heat. He's perceived as a metronome of a player – reliable, solid and unspectacular. So dull in fact, he's the all-time NBA leader in three-pointers and a 10-time All-Star. Allen never lets emotion get the better of him.
Injuries can also influence an athlete psychologically. After facing a serious injury, it can be difficult to return to the same form as before getting hurt. For this reason, many athletes now work with physical therapists when rehabbing an injury, as this gives them the confidence to return as strong as ever. If you are recovering from a serious injury, remember to focus on what you can control. You have control over your own body, so you can take few risks while competing. By having this discipline, you can potentially avoid additional injuries in the future.
Sport Psychology is seen as a huge deal these days. It's not just about having the talent – it's also about having the mental strength to apply it.
You can use discipline to give yourself a competitive advantage in your own competitive endeavors. If you're not the sports type, why not give online poker a try?
Poker is a game of skill and managing probabilities with a little fortune thrown in. Here are a few tips that should help you maintain your competitive discipline whilst playing:
- Focus on what you can control, not on what you can't. In poker, this is your bankroll. Work out a monthly amount that you can afford to lose, and stick to it. Only ever gamble with ten percent of your bankroll at any one time. Never play with money you can't afford to lose.
- Stay relaxed. If you feel that your emotions are beginning to influence your decision-making, walk away from the table and do something else. Come back when you feel calmer.
- Develop routines. Play at the same time each day where you're likely to remain undisturbed. External annoyances will always threaten your concentration.
Developing focus takes time, effort and discipline. A disciplined mind will always make the least irrational decisions. Dedicating time to developing your focus and discipline will bring its own rewards, and help you in many walks of life, including some avenues you would not have previously thought of.