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Date Posted: May 29th, 2009 (3:27pm)

We all prioritize and focus on different elements of our time line.  I think there are many people who tend to fall in one of the three camps.  Some people focus on their past.  They recount stories of their past.  They maintain relationships with all the people and things of their childhood and earlier life.  They are more likely to be collectors.  They attend every reunion. They cherish or bemoan their memories.  The past shapes their present and future decisions.

Others are focused on the future.  Regardless of what has come before, it can always be a brighter day.  They dream of what is possible.  Their anticipation of the future greatly influences them.  They dream of what might come.  They plan.  They are constantly redirecting themselves towards some imagined future. 

The third option is an attention to the here and now.  A focus on living in the moment.  Of the three options, I find myself most comfortably one who lives in the present.  While the other times influence me, I tend to concentrate on the moment.  The past doesn't seem to have a tremendous hold on me.  I don't spend much energy planning or dreaming of some particular future. I'm more directed in processing and living that day, that hour, that moment.  The anticipation for upcoming events doesn't stir me until I actually reach that event.

In the poker world, I find these three perspectives also influence players.  Some players have an active memory for every step of their career.  They hold onto their successes and failures.  They can recount all the details.  When they make current decisions at the table, it is in reaction to what has come before.  This can be to their benefit if they have a recalled history of playing players before.  Some top players have great memories and can recall all hands played.  It can also be a detriment if they hold onto some bad beat or injustice at the hands of another.  They are more likely to hold onto the feelings associated with a downswing, or the euphoria and confidence from past success.

The future oriented players have a constant optimism.  They have a tremendous self confidence, earned or not.  Despite past frustrations, they feel they will always prosper in the future.  They may have busted their roll half a dozen times, but they can always make it back and more.  They feel destined for success.  They get excited for the WSOP months in advance and dream of their positive futures. They can work hard on their game in an attempt to achieve their greatness.

Those focused on the present don't worry as much about past results or some nebulous future.  I think they are more likely to be grinders.  The past is used as a guideline but doesn't bog them down.  They focus their energy on playing in the moment.  They don't know what may come, but feel if they work hard in the moment, it is likely to be positive.  Some who focus too much on the present can be prone to tilt when things go bad.  They can't reference the history necessary to understand that variance and bad beats exist.  On the other hand, many present focused players can direct all their energies on optimal play.  They aren't influenced by what happened before or some future agenda.

While no one falls 100% fully in one category, it is interesting to see how their different focus affects their approach to the game and their life.

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JackDogWelch Added 5/29/09 5:38pm
My memory has always been weak, so my own past is somewhat mystery. I am in my 60's, so future focus seems ill advised. Yesterday's gone, tomorrow isn't here yet - there is only this day to live. And, yes, I am a grinder. You can go far one step at a time.
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