16 Pop Psychology and Self-Help Myths That Aren’t Helping You Win

As you probably have noticed by now, one of my side interests is psychology. Naturally, that means I love to delve into betting psychology, but one thing I have not delved into is betting pop psychology.

Pop psychology and self-help have been a big deal for decades, but today, they are arguably bigger than ever before.

Forbes reports, “According to one survey, 94% of Millennials reported making personal improvement commitments and said they’d be willing to spend nearly $300 a month on self-improvement.”

There are probably a lot of reasons for this. A few I can think of include:

  • Certain pop psychology concepts have now had decades to marinate in the public mind, and are accepted unthinkingly as truths.
  • The internet makes access to self-help materials effortless, including a huge amount of content generated by everyday people.
  • Modern life is crazy hard! A lot of us are struggling to pay the bills. Retirement is a pipe dream. Oh yeah—and now we’ve got a pandemic and other surreal stuff going on. It is hard not to engage in wishful thinking, so a lot of self-help and pop psychology ideas are appealing.

Yup. We love psychology and we’re jumping right back into the subject.

What is Pop Psychology?

Before we jump into our list of myths and how they can actually make your life harder and less profitable as a bettor and not better, we should probably define pop psychology and self-help.

So, what exactly is pop psychology?

Pop psychology is short for “popular psychology.”

Basically, if the public accepts something as true that does not have a lot of (or sometimes any) research weight behind it, it is a pop psychology theory or concept.

Some pop psychology beliefs were supported by research in the past, but have since then either been debunked, or enough conflicting evidence has come up so as to be inconclusive.

There are many different means through which pop psychology concepts are spread around. One of them is the self-help industry.

What is Self-Help?

Self-help is related to pop psychology, but not interchangeable with it. It also is called “self improvement.”

Self-help basically just refers to whatever a person does by themselves—or possibly with support from others pursuing similar paths—to improve themselves.

Obviously, nothing is wrong with this. We might say it is the duty of every person for their own well-being.

While that is a broad definition, we usually are talking about the self-help industry when discussing self-help.

The industry of self-help is worth billions of dollars annually. It involves the making and marketing of a broad range of materials. Some of these include books, courses, videos, seminars, and so on. Life coaching falls into this pile as well. So, while a person may be following a self-administered course of study, it is not happening in a vacuum.

Is There Anything to Pop Psychology and Self-Help?

We’re sure not going to talk anyone out of some self help!

It might seem easy or even wise to completely dismiss pop psychology and self-help. Indeed, a lot of it is harmful—but that does not mean all of it is entirely useless or incorrect.

Some popular psychology materials are serious works written by well-educated, intelligent people. A prominent example is Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureate Daniel Kahneman. Obviously, this is a respectable book by a respectable author. Alas, it has problems involving studies that could not be replicated (Kahneman has become aware of this and has played a prominent role in drawing attention to it).

Pop psychology and self-help often put an emphasis on simplicity and practicality. That is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, even oversimplified models can be useful models in everyday life. Of course, we must keep in mind that they are only that – models.

Current science doesn’t always match what our experiences tell us and may be subject to change. Research evidence has flip-flopped in the past. In some cases, it might do so again in the future, especially since a lot of psych studies are not able to be replicated and/or have other issues. So, if an “outmoded” idea speaks to you, catch up on the research, but don’t ignore the evidence of your senses either. And do not forget that one person’s experiences may differ dramatically from another’s in some cases.

The placebo effect is transiently helpful for some people. A lot of the time, self-help methods “work” through people through the placebo effect. While such an effect may not last, it might still on occasion be useful during the short-term.

So, do you need to blow off all pop psychology and self help? No—but you should always do your own research.

16 Pop Psychology and Self-Help Myths That Are Making You Worse at Gambling

Now that we have given you some context, let’s go over a few myths from pop psychology and self-help that might be doing you more harm than good while you wager. Some of these are small, silly things—but others are a big deal.

  1. Listening to classical music will make you super smart.
  2. We’ll start with something silly and small. Do you turn on Mozart every day when you sit down to plan out your sports bets?

    If so, you probably heard at some point about the Mozart effect.” Basically, people who believe in this effect think that listening to classical music makes you smarter.

    The origin is a study by psychologist Frances Rauscher. It was a small study; the participants comprised 36 students in college split into three groups. They all performed spatial reasoning tasks, but one group listened to Mozart first, while another listened to a relaxation track, and the control group listened to nothing. The Mozart group had the superior performance.

    Here’s the thing: Even Rauscher feels the “Mozart effect” has been blown way out of proportion.

    Scientific American says, “Rauscher—whose work, unlike most scientists, is sometimes cited on the liner notes of CDs—remains puzzled as to how this narrow effect of classical music extended from a paper-folding task to general intelligence.”

    Is listening to Mozart going to harm your intelligence while you bet? Of course not. But if it is stopping you from listening to whatever is going to really pump you up, maybe you are missing out.

    Of course, if that happens to be Mozart, awesome!

    Key Point:
    You can listen to whatever music you want when you are studying how to bet or making wagers. You do not need to just listen to classical music to perform your best on tasks.

  3. Stressing about your gambling career is giving you an ulcer.
  4. “If you keep stressing like that, you’re going to get an ulcer!” So a well-meaning friend or family member may have told you more than a few times as they walked into your study to find you pulling your hair out with frustration at your most recent lost bet.

    Stress can have some very bad health effects. But as it turns out, it is not going to give you an ulcer.

    WebMD says, “There is no clear evidence to suggest that the stress of modern life or a steady diet of fast food causes ulcers in the stomach and small intestine.”

    This doesn’t mean you should not be doing what you can to keep your stress levels down, but hey, at least you can stop stressing that your stress will give you an ulcer.

    And you can also finally let that well-meaning person in your life stop scaring you away from the hard work of becoming a sharp.

    Key Point:
    Stress will not give you an ulcer, so worrying about ulcers should not stop you from engaging in activities that are sometimes stressful (like trying to become a sharp).

  5. Smiling will make you happy.
  6. I don’t know. He looks pretty happy to us!

    “You should smile more,” someone may have told you at some point in your life (especially if you are a woman). “Smiling more automatically makes you happier.”

    The origin of this belief is a study from 1998. Students had to either grip a pen with their lips or their teeth. The former activity forced a frown, and the latter a smile. They then watched cartoons.

    The researchers reported that the cartoons were funnier to the participants that they’d forced to smile. Since the release of that study, people have been citing it as proof ever since that if you just smile, you’ll feel awesome.

    But it turns out this is yet another study that produced results no one has yet been able to replicate.

    Plus, there are studies that show the opposite effect—that being forced to smile actually can damage mood, rather than improve it.

    NPR writes, “For example, still another study published this year found that service workers who felt compelled to slap on a smile for customers all day had a higher risk of heavy drinking after work. That may be because disgruntled employees forced to provide service with a smile are unlikely to be wearing genuine, joyful grins, the researchers say.”

    So, if you currently attempt to cheer yourself up after you lose a bet by forcing yourself to smile, you can just stop doing that.

    You might actually be less likely to go on tilt if you stop forcing yourself to smile than if you continue to do it.

    The last thing you need is to go on a drinking binge and blow your bankroll all because of misguided attempts to cope through pop psychology.

    Key Point:
    Smiling to try and cheer yourself up after a loss will not necessarily cheer you up. In fact, it might put you in an even worse mood, and could push you toward destructive behaviors like tilting.

  7. Your first instinct is always right.
  8. Perhaps one of the most prevalent pop psychology myths with respect to gambling is this one: “Your first instinct is always right.”

    There are plenty of variations on this theme, like “Go with your gut.”

    There may be a lot of moments when you are gambling that you find yourself debating alternatives:

    Should you take this wager or not? Your first instinct was “yes,” so…

    Should you double up or not? Your first instinct was “yes,” so…

    Should you send money to this tipster who says he can sell you a lock? Your first instinct was “yes,” so…

    If you also play casino games, you’ll encounter many similar crossroads:

    Should you bet on red or black? Your first instinct was “red,” so…

    Should you take another spin at this slot? Your first instinct was “yes,” so…

    Should you play this hand or fold? Your first instinct was “fold,” so…

    The reason I ended all of these sentences by drifting off is because that is how these thoughts tend to go for us. We don’t really feel confident when we go with our instincts after a hard debate. We cannot just fill in the blank with “obviously, I should do this.” But we tend to follow through anyway, despite the ellipses of uncertainty in our minds.

    While the “first instinct” myth feels intuitive, it is actually a myth.

    The American Psychological Association (APA) writes, “Refuting the old saw that your first guess is always best, 33 studies over 70 years suggest sticking with your first instinct is not always a smart tack. But because getting an answer wrong after going against our first instinct is so frustrating, we tend to believe that changing answers is generally a foolish practice that will result in more wrong answers, according to recent studies by a research team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northern Arizona University and Stanford University.”

    So, keep that in mind the next time you are debating with yourself about whether or not to go with your first instinct while you are betting.

    Ask yourself if the reason you are leaning toward your first instinct is really because you will just be extra-frustrated if you go with the other decision and get it wrong.

    All things being equal, hey—it is as good a reason as any to go with your first instinct.

    But if you happen to have a rational reason to instead go with the other choice, you might want to consider doing so.

    Key Point:
    If you are vacillating between two decisions when betting, going with your first instinct is not always best. If you have a rational reason to go with one choice or the other, that is a better basis for a decision.

  9. Willpower is finite.
  10. Okay, I’ll be honest—despite the fact that current thinking supports the idea of infinite willpower, I don’t buy it. But let’s go over it anyway.

    Basically, a few years back, there was research showing that willpower might be a limited resource.

    Making a lot of decisions could deplete that resource. This was referred to as “ego depletion.”

    But later, researchers reviews published and unpublished studies on the topic.

    The British Psychological Society writes, “When Carter’s team analysed the evidence from the 68 relevant published and 48 relevant unpublished studies that they identified, they found very little overall support for the idea that willpower is a limited resource.”

    There are a lot of materials you can read on this topic, and while debate has not entirely ended, for the time being, at least, it has settled with the theory of ego depletion falling largely out of favor.

    Why do I not find this convincing? Well, frankly, it is because making decisions fatigues me, and after a while, my brain feels so scrambled that I just don’t feel I can continue. If I try, I just make stupid decisions I would never make otherwise—just as I would were I drunk or sleep-deprived.

    So, I don’t know what is going on there, but I am pretty sure it is a common experience. Maybe it isn’t actually my willpower that is draining, just my energy and focus (which in turn, saps my motivation, but maybe not everybody’s).

    Regardless, if you do not run into those type of hassles when betting, you may not need to worry about it. Maybe you do not experience ego depletion.

    If you want to do marathon betting sessions, and you do not feel your mental resources or judgement slipping, then by all means, go for it. There is no reason to hold yourself back from accomplishing all that you are capable of!

    Key Point:
    Current research does not support the belief that willpower is a limited resource. If you do not feel your willpower declining with long hours or many bets, maybe it is fine to keep going. Just make sure that sheer fatigue is not eroding your performance.

  11. There is only one best way for you to learn.
  12. A lot of us believe that we each have a different learning “style,” i.e.:

    • Auditory
    • Visual
    • Reading/writing
    • Kinesthetic

    For example, were you to ask me, I would tell you I learn best by doing, which makes me a kinesthetic learner.

    This is not just a theory among lay people; educators believe it as well. For example, Bay Atlantic University writes, “Every student has a strategy they use to remember information more efficiently while studying. Some of them take notes; some make diagrams; some prefer to listen to lectures, etc. Since no learning style fits all students, scientists have conducted research in order to understand the way students learn new information best.”

    But if you do your homework on this topic, you will discover there is a lack of scientific evidence to back the theory of “learning styles.”

    You can read on the matter. The authors assert, “Students have different interests, backgrounds, and abilities,” but say that this is not quite the same thing. Moreover, they point out that the presentation of information needs to be tailored not only to those, but also to the nature of the content.

    How does this impact you with respect to learning how to place profitable sports bets or play poker successfully?

    Well, if you have been having a hard time, consider whether it might be because you are taking a rigid approach to the task at hand based on the learning style theory.

    If, for example, you consider reading and writing to be your learning style, you might want to try watching a video about playing poker or practicing placing sports bets with a given strategy instead of just reading about these topics. See if experimenting with different learning techniques and formats for materials helps you absorb more information and pick up skills more rapidly and effectively.

    Key Point:
    The best way to learn may have more to do with matching techniques or formats to content, interest, background, and abilities rather than “style.” Try not to limit yourself unnecessarily when you are learning how to wager.

    In case you missed our article, “How Transactional Analysis Can Help You Improve Your Gambling Psychology”, you can check it out here!
    You know what else could be good for your mental health? Telling them all to go to hell and hit up the slots for a bit! Right now you can get a $3000 Bonus for signing up over at the BetOnline Casino!
  13. Acting on your anger always makes sense.
  14. A lot of pop psychology and self help resources right now focus on letting your anger out.

    But Psychology Today says, “Punching your pillow, trashing the room, or screaming to your heart’s content doesn’t actually ‘release’ your pent up rage. In fact, research suggests that venting your anger in this way actually has the opposite effect: The more you vent, the worse you’ll feel.”

    The specific issue here doesn’t seem to be the expression of anger—it has to do with the aggressive expression of anger.

    The DHA explains, “research shows that people who express their anger aggressively simply get better at being angry. This is because behaviors that are repeated become habits. In other words, venting anger in an aggressive manner only increases later aggressive behavior. A better way to release tension is to exercise when things seem to be getting out of hand (walking, jogging, bicycling, gardening, etc.).”

    Note that this is not the same thing as denying you are angry or suppressing your emotion. It is also perfectly okay to say you are angry and why.

    Frankly, I suspect screaming or punching a pillow does probably make some people release their anger and relax afterwards. But if so, they are not screaming at someone else, and they do not actually want to damage their pillow (in other words, they are not actually behaving aggressively).

    Whether you are betting on sports or you are playing casino games, there are going to be points when you get angry.

    Maybe you will be upset that you lost a bet you were convinced you would win.

    Or perhaps you will be mad at yourself for having made a losing wager you knew deep down you shouldn’t.

    Either way, if you follow the common self-help advice that involves giving yourself permission to fully and aggressively express your anger, what do you think is going to happen?

    Well, there is a really good chance that you will immediately go on tilt, because doing so is an aggressive act. It is basically akin to screaming at yourself, tearing apart your own room, and breaking your own possessions.

    Of course, you might also decide to simply become aggressive at someone else. You could become abusive toward other players at the online poker table, and get yourself banned.

    Or you might yell at your spouse or kids, damaging your relationships with them. There is a good chance they will attribute your behavior to your “gambling problem” or your “anger problem.”

    But it would be more accurate to say that it was your aggressiveness problem that led to the issues.

    What are some better ways of dealing with your anger as you gamble?

    • Take responsibility for bad decisions (i.e. don’t blame someone else at the poker table for your bad play).
    • Focus on accountability, not blame (i.e. don’t try to punish yourself for a mistake; focus on how you can prevent it in the future).
    • Be alert for faulty logic that could be clouding your thoughts and dysregulating your emotions (i.e. “Of course I lost this bet; I’m me, and I always get ripped off. The sportsbook cheated me.” This may not be accurate, and if you realize that it isn’t, your anger might decrease).
    • Take responsibility for future actions (i.e. don’t think it is “okay” to go harming yourself by blowing your bankroll in a fit of aggression because your anger “made” you do it).
    • Take a break and do something that helps you get centered again (i.e. go on a walk, write in a journal, etc.).

    Key Point:
    It is easy to make bad decisions when you get angry while gambling. But following the self-help advice to always act on your anger—including aggressively—may actually cause you to lose more money and suffer other negative outcomes.

  15. You are only using 10% of your brain.
  16. Now, they say that it’s a myth, but I used to work with this guy Kyle, and I’m reasonably sure he only used 10% of his brain.

    If you are a fan of Limitless, you might be a believer in the 10% of your brain myth.

    According to this myth, we are all using only 10% of our brains at any given time. If we just had access to the remaining 90%, imagine how much smarter and more capable we would be.

    We love this idea because it gives us a rush of exhilaration. We imagine ourselves becoming almost superhuman if we could just reach our true potential.

    But there is no self-help book, supplement, diet, or technique that will help you do this for the simple reason that we are not just using 10% of our brains to begin with.

    Discover Magazine says, “Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) has shown that all parts of the brain are active during various activities. Not all at the same time, of course. But every part of the brain has a job to do.”

    So, if you have been downing supplements, spending hours a day playing brain games, paying for courses, or engaging in special meditations to try and “use more of your brain,” you can stop wasting time and money.

    You are already putting your full brain to use. You might as well focus on actually betting! The more time and effort you put into that, the better you can get at it.

    Key Point:
    It is simply not true that you are using only 10% of your brain. You are already harnessing your whole brain, so focus on learning to bet, not on tapping into hidden brain reserves.

  17. You should always be positive.
  18. For as long as many of us can remember, we have been told things like:

    • “Chin up!”
    • ”Stay positive!”
    • “Look for the bright side!”
    • “Life is good.”
    • “Smile more.”
    • “You can find your happiness within.”

    Basically, decades of this type of self-help advice has told us we should be relentlessly positive, no matter what is happening to us.

    That means we are supposed to be happy even if we are losing wager after wager, our bankroll is spiraling down the drain, and we do not understand what is happening.

    If you have ever had the sneaking suspicion you are actually making things worse for yourself when you try to be happy no matter what bad things are happening, you are right.

    This behavior is called “toxic positivity.”

    This post quotes clinical psychologist Dr. Jaime Zuckerman as explaining, “Toxic positivity, at its core, is an avoidance strategy used to push away and invalidate any internal discomfort … Avoidance or suppression of emotional discomfort leads to increased anxiety, depression, and overall worsening of mental health. Failure to effectively process emotions in a timely manner can lead to a myriad of psychological difficulties, including disrupted sleep, increased substance abuse, risk of an acute stress response, prolonged grief, or even PTSD.”

    None of those are things you want to be dealing with when you can avoid them by just being honest with yourself about how you feel.

    Plus, if we completely detach our internal states from external influences, what happens to our external lives?

    We cultivate indifference. If we can be happy even when we are losing money, what motivation do we have to become better punters and get back to winning? None.

    It is admirable to have an inner resilience, to be able to carry on in difficult situations.

    But there is nothing admirable about turning our backs on those situations, and believing we stand apart from the world. None of us lives in a vacuum. The “negative” emotions we sometimes deal with, fear, anger, anxiety, grief, are all there to help us recognize when we need to change something in our behavior or environments.

    So, let yourself feel upset when you are losing bets. Staying in touch with those emotions will keep you connected with your goals. Discontentment with your losses motivates you to win.

    Key Point:
    Most of us have been told repeatedly that it is best to stay positive through all circumstances. But this is scientifically bad for us. It is okay to feel negative emotions when you make mistakes that cost you money. Those emotions motivate you to improve and become more profitable. Being honest with yourself is also showing respect for yourself.

  19. If you do what other successful people are doing, you will succeed.
  20. In the self-help market, a common recommendation if you are struggling is, “Just copy a successful person.”

    This is not necessarily bad advice, though it is hazardously vague.

    It is a myth that copying any highly successful person in your niche is going to lead you to replicate their success.

    That is particularly true in a field like betting, where there is so much individual variation between betting styles.

    Trying to copy someone whose style is not a fit for yours, or who specializes in a different betting market, is going to waste both time and money.

    So, try and be discriminating about whom you choose to mimic—they need to not only be successful, but also be taking an approach that will fit your style and bankroll.

    And keep in mind that this also will not guarantee success. There are numerous factors at play.

    Key Point:
    Simply copying any successful sports bettor will not necessarily make you into one. Try and mimic bettors whose methods are a good fit for you individually, and pay attention to other factors that can also determine success or failure.

  21. Mirror neurons are responsible for empathy.
  22. A lot of people are really into the mirror neuron theory right now, and many believe that how empathetic you are depends on how blessed you are with functional mirror neurons.

    Indeed, when you are playing poker offline and you lose a hand, you might think, “Of course I missed my opponent’s tells. I just don’t have great mirror neurons.”

    But we really do not have a solid understanding of mirror neurons and their role in our bodies and minds.

    The British Psychological Society says that based on a research review, “There is only weak evidence that mirror neurons underlie human empathy.”

    There is a popular theory that autistic people suffer from a “broken mirror” – that the social difficulties they experience result from deficits in mirror neurons.

    But this theory, as popular as it may be, is not backed by research evidence in any convincing way.

    So, if you have been worrying you will never be good at reading players at the poker table because of issues with your mirror neurons, you can set those fears aside.

    Consider studying human behavior closely, taking notes, and looking for patterns.

    Over time, you can train yourself to improve your cognitive empathy skills.

    Key Point: Research currently does not suggest that your empathy abilities depend on your mirror neurons. You are not a “broken mirror” if you have challenges reading others at the poker table.

  23. Everyone should be waking up early to do their best work.
  24. There is so much pressure on us to wake up early to maximize our productivity and performance.

    Are you currently waking up at the crack of dawn just to slog exhausted through your sports betting routine on the weekends?

    If so, you may not be doing yourself any favors, no matter how many self-help gurus have told you that the early bird gets the worm.

    The Guardian says based on research, “One start time doesn’t suit everyone. Too many people believe starting early is the sign of a good employee: up at 5am, gym at 5.30, work at 7.”

    The article continues, “But these early-rising ‘larks’ are extremely rare (and smug). And they’re welcome to catch – and eat – worms. Highly productive, creative workers sleep well and arrive later. Early starts leave almost everyone reaching for coffee to wake up and alcohol to go to sleep.”

    If you really do function at your best in the early morning, more power to you.

    But if you don’t, stop torturing yourself. It is not going to help you bet well to keep forcing yourself out of bed so early.

    You will probably find that your performance increases when you wake up at a time that feels natural for your body.

    You also may be less likely to overindulge in caffeine and alcohol, which will improve your health.

    Key Point:
    While many people take it for granted that early risers are most productive, research suggests it is usually not the case.

  25. If you do what you love, the money will follow.
  26. About sums it all up right there…

    One of the most popular catchphrases in the self-help world is “Do what you love and the money will follow.”

    Another variant would be the famous “If you build it, they will come” from Field of Dreams.

    It is not that this never happens. Sometimes, it does. And you certainly will not achieve your dreams if you do not attempt them.

    So doing what you love if you want to get paid for it is a prerequisite. But does it follow that you will get paid for it?

    Common sense can lend us an answer, if we are willing to look at it. Think how many people have tried their entire lives to earn money doing what they love, only to fail. There are no guarantees.

    You are not an exception to that rule. By itself, simply loving sports betting or playing casino games will not get you rich.

    You are going to need:

    • A starting bankroll.
    • A working strategy.
    • Time to practice and bet.
    • A money management plan.
    • The right mindset.

    Having a bit of luck on your side won’t hurt either.

    The bottom line is that you need to be prepared for a journey that entails uncertainty and requires patience. And it is wise to have a backup plan, like hanging onto your day job.

    Key Point:
    Doing what you love does not guarantee that you will earn a living from it. Don’t give up your day job until you are actually earning steady income from betting.

  27. The Law of Attraction/manifestation works.
  28. Closely related to the myth above is belief in the “Law of Attraction” or “manifestation.”

    Both of these refer to the same thing, which is believing that if you think about something hard enough or you focus your intent upon it, you can “attract” it into “manifesting” in your life.

    As with “do what you love and the money will follow,” manifestation is not entirely nonsensical.

    If you focus your thoughts and intent upon something you want, you probably are more likely to take relevant actions that might draw that thing into your life.

    You may make connections you would otherwise have missed, and pay closer attention to things that could help you out.

    You also might take risks you would otherwise avoid. Sometimes they might pay off.

    But it is very important to know that the “Law” of Attraction is not a law that the universe has to obey.

    Once again, there are no guarantees whatsoever!

    Most people focus a fair amount of attention and intent upon getting rich, being popular, attracting people they like, being in perfect health, and so on.

    Nonetheless, the world is full of people who are poor, lonely, unsuccessful, and unhealthy.

    It is not that these people do not “want it badly enough.” It is just that we mortal beings do not possess supernatural magic.

    If you find it easier to stay focused on your betting when you practice “manifestation,” then you should go ahead and do so.

    Maybe it is encouraging you and helping you to achieve your goals indirectly.

    But you should always remember that in the end, other factors such as your concrete hard work are going to be far more likely to determine whether you are successful or not.

    And luck, as ever, will play a part as well. Do not fall for the related myth that we “make our own luck.”

    Luck, by definition, is the part of our destiny which we do not make or control in any way.

    Key Point:
    While “manifestation” is a popular belief right now in self-help circles, we do not actually have the ability to magically summon what we want by thinking about it. Work hard on your betting, and stay with your day job until you have a proper income from betting that you can depend on.

  29. You can change your thoughts by just thinking different ones.
  30. I have noticed quite a few life coaches these days telling their clients that if they want to change their negative thoughts, all they have to do is replace them with positive ones.

    This seems intuitive, at first glance. Our thoughts are nothing more than what we create inside our heads, right?

    But human brains don’t really work this way. Let’s take a simple example. Let’s say that every time you lose a wager, you are plagued by self-doubt and self-loathing. You spend a week kicking yourself for your failure. You are then terrified to place another bet.

    So, your life coach says to just change your thoughts. So, you think, “I’m an okay person. I am no longer full of doubt. I like myself even if I lose.”

    You repeat this all the livelong day, but when your next big loss rolls around, chances are good you will still feel all that same doubt and loathing. You have, thankfully, cut back on the negative self-talk—but you can’t shake the feeling that you are a failure.

    Do not be surprised if before long, you find yourself once again kicking yourself and scared to bet.

    The reason it is so hard to shake deep-seated beliefs about ourselves and the world just by changing our thoughts is because our beliefs may not be fully examined.

    If you do not know why you feel you are not okay, no matter how many superficial adjustments you make, you will always have those unexamined assumptions, beliefs and experiences powering fresh self-doubt.

    But if you dig deeper, you may be able to find the roots of the negative self-talk.

    Maybe your parents set you up repeatedly to lose as a small child, and that became the “evidence” for your beliefs about your capabilities.

    After digging out the roots, you may find that the negative self-talk and emotions clear up largely on their own.

    You may then find it easier to handle mistakes and losses, and to “bounce back” and return to profitable betting.

    But none of that will happen if you keep trying to take unrealistic shortcuts.

    Key Point:
    If you want lasting change, you need to skip the shortcuts and instead go right to the source of your negative beliefs about yourself or the world.

  31. Change your thoughts, change your world.
  32. Finally, one more pervasive form of magical thinking right now in self-help is “Change your thoughts, change your world.”

    Changing your beliefs may be a starting point for changing your world, as discussed above. But it needs to go deeper than the sentences you say in your head.

    But is it an end point? Definitely not. There are many steps left to take after you change your beliefs.

    There are also some aspects of our lives that will always be resistant to new beliefs.

    You can believe as hard as you like, for instance, that you can bet successfully each day with only four nights of sleep.

    But eventually, reality is going to catch up with you, and you are going to be way too fatigued to bet effectively.

    Key Point:
    Changing your beliefs may be a step toward changing your life, but the world will not fall automatically in line with new thoughts. Plus, some realities will always hold sway over your life, no matter what your thoughts are.

They say we can all change the world, but nah man… You can only do your part!

Stop Investing in Beliefs That Are Holding You Back from Betting Success

We talk a lot in this blog about how proper betting psychology is a key component to success as a sports bettor.

But it is important to be able to distinguish the difference between research-backed psychology and pop psychology concepts you only think are true.

Incorrect beliefs about psychology don’t just fail to help you—sometimes, they can actually stand in the way of success.

So, bring research and critical thinking skills to bear at all times. Question your assumptions and fact-check what other people tell you.

In fact, that is solid advice not just for the psychology components of sports betting, but for conducting your analysis as you plan your wagers.

Good luck! Hopefully with these pop psychology myths in perspective, you will have some better results.

And We Thought These Articles Were Pretty Nifty as Well

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