And so the first day of my FPD Plan comes to a close. Things started really well. I completely ignored the Stosur v Vinci game. No solid opportunity arose. FP and D all 100%. Wawrinka v Fish - all good. Waited patiently until set 2, placed a trade and won. Simples. Radwanska v Petkovic - spot on. An opening occured very early on and I was focused and alert enough to get straight on it and hold on for a win. Thought momentarily about going back in for more but patience won the day and I left, deciding I would take a break as I was starting to feel a little tired. Just need to sort out my focus and I'll be back in an hour for the Tsonga match................then came the brain freeze.
I actually said to myself 'Leave the Tipsarevic game and take a break'. But I just couldn't resist. It was already well into the first set. I only watched one game and then decided to pile in on Berdych, completely against my strategy. Focus gone = patience gone. Once Tipsarevic broke, it was a matter of time before discipline went too. I could've taken a 25% red at that point but of course, I didn't. I put more money on Berdych, he lost in straights and I lost the whole stake. So that game, in a nutshell, is exactly where I am going wrong. No F, no P and no D. Even though I knew not to trade that game, I still did it. There were no issues afterwards, I didn't chase at all. Made two scratch trades and didn't trade the other two. So good focus and good patience. But just a moment of madness, lasting no more than a few minutes, and I turned a profitable day into an unprofitable day.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I managed to fail on all three sections of the plan within one match on the first day! But this shows just how deeply ingrained all my bad habits are. Even though my mind is saying the right things at the right times, my body is not reacting. But out of the cinders of yet another poor day on the ladders, I think I may have found some answers.
Clearly, I need to flick a switch somewhere in my subconscious, that eliminates these ingrained bad habits that cause me to do things automatically. I'm so used to playing every game and trying to get a win from every match and hoping to turn around every bad situation, that it has become a reflex action that I can't stop. In order to flick that switch, I need to get used to doing the right things over and over again.
I realise now that that first hit is the most important one. Once I take that first 25% red, leave the game and then continue onwards, get a couple of wins under my belt, things won't feel so bad. Especially if taking that hit managed to save me 75%. If that happens, all of a sudden, I'm positive and relieved. I will then remember this for the next time and so will be more likely to take the 25% red again. The more it happens, the more I will become comfortable taking the hit until one day, it will just become second nature - I won't even think about whether to take it or not, I'll just do it.
What I'm saying is that the best thing that can happen to me now is that I HAVE to take a 25% red. The only way to overcome this issue is to face it head-on. If I now go on a fantastic run, where I don't need to red-up for a week, it's possible that I will never confront the problem and so when the time comes again, I will revert to my natural bad habits. So instead of fearing a red-out situation, I now need to embrace it and look forward to it. I need to test myself, I need to do it a few times and to see the impact it will have on my P&L.
The same applies to not trading every game - the more I opt out of games and switch off the PC, the more I will get used to it. Behind my attempts to trade every game, there is a fear that I might miss out on profit. I need to face that fear and gain satisfaction from the fact I'm not losing money by not trading. If I had opted out of the Tipsarevic game, I would have re-charged my batteries for an hour, not lost any money and not had a losing trade all day. That satisfaction would have been immeasurable for my confidence and the old habit of trading every game would be well on the way to being banished.
So this now means that I will go into every game with a very different attitude. No longer will I be looking to avoid fearful situations, I will be expecting them and looking forward to the challenge of conquering them. Because that's the only way that switch is going to be flicked.