4. Persistence

4.1. Introduction.
(This introduction will be covered about a story around Phil Ivey. This is my perception of this great man. I would love to know more about his past and his path towards success. I wish you a nice read and if you have things to add, or see a potential mistake. Do tell me and I’ll correct or delete it.)

Every single poker enthusiast reading this will know the man called Phil Ivey. He is and has been an icon for poker for many many years. Success and fame are his companions in the pokerworld and probably beyond that as well in his daily live. At least I would be amazed if he isn’t, because he is the guy always striving to become better even when he is already at the top. He isn’t only competing with the pokerworld and the players at his table. He is competing with himself every day to make himself better and better. He stated in an interview years ago that he never had a perfect session. He always found mistakes in his game and was willing to improve them.

I think it is fair to say that Phil Ivey is a very persistent person, even at the top. So far I have only covered him at ‘recent’ terms. But how was his pokerlife before all the success?

From 18 years on and probably way sooner Phil Ivey had a deep desire, an urge to become rich and be a great poker player. Every weekend he would go to Atlantic City and play and practice poker in the casinos. But as most of us, we don’t win in the start. This made Phil Ivey lose all his money over and over again in the casinos. Sometimes he even lost all his money at night that he had to sleep under the boardwalk. On poker days he would play poker 16 to 18 hours a day, every day. During the week he had to flip burgers in MC Donalds to earn some money.

Now let’s imagine this was a friend of yours. Would you see him as a successful person or rather an idiot and why? For most people this would seem as a ridiculous gambling, wasting lifestyle. Why would you go and lose your money in the weekends over and over again? However when you look closer and pay attention you will find the beauty of persistence in it.

* First you have to know, that poker isn’t a gambling game. He has proven to dedicate every weekend and spare time to poker, so variance is limited.
* Every day he was playing poker, he was looking to improve himself in poker, no matter the cost. Even today he is still improving his game.
* He didn’t have a backup plan, which might seem ridiculous to most. But by doing this he could only focus on his path ahead and that was 100% poker. He couldn’t go back, only forward in his mindset. When you burn the option of giving up, success is the only thing that can come towards you.

I have no way of knowing how long he lived the weekly lifestyle of going broke in the casinos. This makes it very interesting for us. He went on ‘failing’ most weekends moving himself closer to the success he desires. Let’s assume a ‘failing’ here is that you go broke back home to flip burgers again. I doubt Phil Ivey saw this as ‘failing’, he saw this necessary as a path towards the success he wanted and he would have kept ‘failing’ until he got there. As you only need to absorb an X amount of ‘failures’ before success is at hand.

Now the question arrives: How many ‘failures’ would you allow, before you stop? Most of us would stop after 1 or maybe a few ‘failures’. Others would be willing to fail some more before they give up. Only the rare and extraordinary would keep on going until. Until. Until. Until. That is the key word and only word you should use. Let me prove it to you. Have you succeeded in the bottom things?

I keep trying to ride my bicycle, until I succeed. (Was giving up an option here? Did you or your mother/father say. Oh well it doesn’t really matter now does it. NO! You had to keep trying UNTIL.)
I keep practice driving a car, until
I keep trying to pronounce a sentence, until
I keep ‘drawning’ in the pool until I can swim.
I keep  …

Challenge 8: Find yourself an UNTIL today about what you want to accomplish, which isn’t too hard. Start with something small you want to achieve. And promise yourself you will keep doing it UNTIL. Announce it to someone, to motivate you a little more. When you have succeeded, you can take another one or more at a time.

So the next time you see someone fail in something they are doing their best. Don’t laugh, don’t judge, don’t bully, BUT support him or her!

The person, who acquires never ending persistence, will grow to become a success in no matter what area he chooses. But remember:
“Everything is hard before it’s easy.” – J.W. Goethe

Hopefully I’ve already managed to create a spark within you that will make you more persistent every day. If not, I’ll now try to cover some idea’s or ways to improve your persistence.

4.2. Causes that improve persistence
If you have a desire to get somewhere, your persistence will grow accordingly! So the stronger your desire is, the more persistent you will be to get there.

If you know exactly what it is you want and the steps you have to undertake to get there. Your persistence will be a little higher, as you know what to do.

Believe in yourself when executing something. The more you believe you can, the longer you will keep doing it over and over again.

Make plans, like the daily goal settings. You know what you should do and the more you’ll do those on a day to day base. The more persistent you will be(come).

Don’t ever guess when you can know something. The power of knowing something accurately can put you miles ahead and will stimulate you to go there.

Many areas require you to cooperate with other people in order to advance better and faster. Be willing to work with other people to the best of your capabilities, this way you will automatically improve your own persistence as well.

Create and increase your will power. Force yourself to do one more every time. (You managed to play with complete concentration for 70minutes in a session. Make that 71 minutes this time.)

Being persistent is a direct result of habit and habit is self-discipline. And by reading and studying my chapter on Self-discipline you should know what to do and how to get there.

Your belief in yourself is measured by your persistence. So the more you persist the more you believe in yourself.

The test principle
This principle can make you become unstoppable. If you see everything in life as a test, you will start doing them.

For example: When you are getting mad or frustrated at the tables. You can say to yourself. “ Wait, wait, this is a test to see whether I can prosper or not. Can I keep my cool or not.” You’ll immediately shift your mindset towards persistence.

So every time you struggle and feel like stopping, say to yourself: “This is a test.”


... Isn’t everything in life a test?