The meaning of Zen can be summed up in a simple sentence; action with awareness, when we are aware, fully aware of our actions as we take on a task, whether it be riding a bike or trading on Betfair. When we do this we can be said to be in The Zone, the quality of our actions will be greatly improved upon and we can carry out that action without the fog of mental chatter that can cause doubt, anxiety and uncertainty.
In this article I am going to summarise how you can use Zen techniques of mindfulness and awareness to train your mind to react in positive ways to situations you’ll encounter on your journey to becoming a successful sports trader on Betfair. I have to some degree summarised the articles in the Zen Trading section of betfairtradingtips.com but I have added some general Zen tips that possibly are not covered in the other more specific articles.
Mind Over Matter
Let me give you an example of using the power of Zen to improve a learned action; I am a keen amateur golfer, I have been playing the game for around fourteen years now and for most of those years I've been terrible at it, I mean really terrible.
The amount of times I have given up on the game, usually after a terrible round of not being able to make the ball get off the ground, let alone hit it in a straight line. Before declaring myself out of the game for good; I’d usually have a shout and a moan, saying things like ‘What’s wrong with me?’ and ‘I'm so crap at this game!’ and so on and so on.
Hey guess what? I was right, there was something wrong with me and I was crap at the game, I used to hit one good shot in about thirty or forty shots, I would hit one great one every hundred to a hundred and fifty shots.
Last month I broke my personal best for nine holes and smashed my old pitch and putt record; I now regularly hit the ball high and straight. I hardly ever hit little dribblers from a nice lie and have cut down bad shots from the rough by about 80% and crucially, probably most importantly, my enjoyment of the game has soared to amazing heights.
So what happened? Did I get a new flash set of Ping clubs? Did I get down to my local driving range and book a thousand pounds worth of lessons? Did I watch endless YouTube videos on how to drive/putt/chip/pitch and get better?
Nope I did none of those things, instead I read a book and in that book, even though that book was about golf, there were hardly any actual golf tips in it. No tips on how to hold the club, or how to stand, or shaft angle or anything like that, the book was in fact all about the mental approach to golf; the inner game.
The book by the way is called Zen Golf: Mastering The Mental Game, I highly recommend it if you’re a golfer, it will change your life and that’s no understatement, click on the link above, it’ll open in a new tab, go to it after you've finished this article.
Right back to trading; so if I can dramatically improve my golf game and subsequently my scores in just about one of; if not, the most technical sports that us human beings have ever invented, by simply adjusting my mental approach, then doing so with something infinitely easier than golf should be a doddle.
Every successful trader on Betfair has the right mental attitude when it comes to trading; they have a mindset which doesn't allow them to get too emotionally involved in their trades and even when they make incorrect decisions they are able to move on to their next trade without getting angry or dwelling on past mistakes.
Some may knowingly be using Zen techniques or similar, others may simply have it in their nature to be a calm and collected Betfair Exchange trader, but the mindset they have will be the same and if you adopt that same mindset early on or if you’re already experienced change your mindset then you too can become successful on Betfair and actually make an income form sports trading.
The Power Of Now
The fact that you are or want to be a sports trader on Betfair indicates that you are into at least one sport, therefore you've no doubt heard sportsmen and women talking about being in the zone, that place where nothing can touch them, everything they do, every decision they make, just seems to go right.
The zone is a wonderful place to be in and it’s a magnificent thing to watch an athlete or collection of athletes operating in the zone.
Think about watching Messi or Ronaldo gliding their way through opponents on football pitches or Tiger Woods in his pomp or even Michael Jordan or Mike Tyson on a basketball court and in a boxing ring respectively.
Being in the zone is instantly recognisable in others and ourselves; it is a state of calm and even though it is fed by information from the past and motivation to reach a goal in the future the power of the zone comes from a place that is anchored solidly in the present and suffers from no interference, worry or doubt it is simple a state of being in the moment.
So is it only sports people that can access this magical place we call the zone?
Have you ever caught a glass a split second after you have knocked it from a table?
Have you ever thrown an object from across a room, from an impossible angle, straight into the bin?
Or maybe you've sat down to write a report or essay and the ideas have just flown out of you like a gushing waterfall.
Or maybe you have chatted up a girl or a guy in a club or pub and everything you said was just right and you seemed like the funniest most erudite person on earth.
I'm sure you have done something on a par with or excelling the examples above; being able to get into the zone is not the privilege of the few, like some uber-exclusive Mayfair club, whereby entry is denied if you’re not deemed part of the beautiful set.
No, getting into the zone is accessible to everyone all you have to do to get in is find it and walk right in, some people can naturally find it no matter what activity they’re engaging in, others were given a map and have learned how to find it, but whether through fluke or learned regimen, most of us at some time or another have been in that zone whereby we can do nothing wrong and we are truly in the moment, truly experiencing the power of now; it is this zone that we want to be in when we trade sports on Betfair.
Where Is This Betfair Trading Zone And How do I get there?
So how do you find the door and walk right in?
Here's the secret:
Our natural state of being is The Zone; it is distraction that take’s us away from that place.
It can be said that being in the trading zone is just like being in any other, the zone is simply a place whereby you are fully focussed on the task at hand, without distracting thoughts from the past or anxieties about the future. Doing this enables you to make near perfect decisions when you need to act and staying calm and operating at a high level in times of high stress.
So in Zen it is when we let our intuitive (subconscious) mind take over the task once our thinking (conscious) mind has given the general instructions for the task.
Your ability to get to and stay in the zone, whether playing a sport, doing something academic or trading on Betfair, is largely down to how much practice you put in.
Can you practice being in the zone?
You can and if you do what I'm about to tell you for just the next 30 days, you really commit to it I guarantee you, that you will notice the difference. It maybe something small like you notice catching things as they're about to or have just fallen. Or if you play a sport you may notice an improvement in a certain area in that sport.
Basically you will find it easier to concentrate on one thing at a time and to carry out tasks perfectly without even realising how.
Step 1. The Body Scan
If we hold too much tension in any part of our bodies then I think we can all agree that whatever the task is, we will not perform it better than if we are completely relaxed. The same can be said of trading sports on the Betfair Exchange. If you have a headache or any kind of strain, especially in the neck and shoulders then a large part of your focus will be on the strain and not on trading sports, like it should be.
The best way to get rid of tension is the body scan.
First position yourself in front of your chair as if you're about to sit down. Then stand straight with your shoulders back and your arms hanging loosely by your side.
Then feel your neck extend as if someone is pulling you gently by a hair or an invisible strand if you're bald, right in the centre of your head. This will have the effect of stretching your neck whilst slightly tilting your chin forward.
When you are standing comfortably like this, place your hands on your thighs and slide them down as you slowly and deliberately sit down in your chair, keep the feeling of your elongated neck. Your hands will be on your thighs and your arms will be hanging loosely at the shoulder.
Once you have settled comfortably in this position, breath in and out deeply and focus entirely on your breathing. If you get distracted by a thought, don't stress it, just make a mental marker about whether the thought was a look at the past or a concern about the future, with the simple words; past or future.
After a short while turn your attention to the top of your skull and move down slowly through your neck and shoulders, down your arms and your trunk, right down through your hips down to your feet.
As your awareness touches each part of your body feel the muscles relax and the tension flow away. Take note of how much tension you need to hold yourself with the correct posture I described above, that way you can attain not too little or too much, but just right.
Go as quickly or as slowly as you want, though it is probably best to go slowly and really feel the tension flowing away, we tend to naturally hold a lot of tension in our jaws, shoulders and neck. Also use the body scan to correct posture where you feel yourself slipping.
There is a lot more to mindfulness training than I can go into in an article, I will do more articles if people want or you can search out other techniques, but this summary should give you the tools you need to practice being in the zone.
Once you have done a body scan or as many scans as you feel you need, spend 2 minutes concentrating on your breathing again. This time follow the breath into your lungs, feel it inflating your lungs lifting your chest and pulling your diaphram down.
Concentrate on the way your body moves in correspondance to your breathing, do this, to the best of your ability, without comment.
As before if you get distracting thoughts, acknowledge them only as past or future, then simply let them slide away as you turn your concentration back to your breathing.
After a while of this, start to take notice of how the soles of your feet are in contact with your shoes or the ground, feel the clothes on your skin, be aware of the pressure you are exerting on the chair you are sitting on.
While doing this you can combine it with tension releasing, as it is a form of body scan.
That's it, no mystery, no great secret, being in the zone is about being in the moment, being fully focussed on whatever it is you are doing.
You can practice being focussed by setting out just a few minutes a day (upping it by 30 seconds a day). The more you do this, the easier you will find it to concentrate on tasks, in fact tasks that you previously put off as they were boring, will get easier and easier, the more you practice being in the zone.
Put it this way, this site wouldn't exist without these techniques; all of the effort to crystalise my sports trading philosophies and to map Zen techniques onto Betfair trading has all been due to my practising of being in the zone.
Some people are naturally like this, they were born concentrators or at least picked up the skill early in life. I am not one of these people, if you are, then I envy you and I can only imagine that these techniques will turn you into some kind of zone super being.
However for the rest of us, these techniques will elevate us to the level of the natural Zoners
Betfair Trading Advice:
In order to make money trading sports on Betfair or Betdaq, you need to be organised and knowledgeable, even if that is just being knowledgable about the best tipsters out there and organising them into a coherent useable system.
The better organised and more knowledgable you are, the greater your chance that you will become a profitable sports trader on Betfair.
The best way to achieve the focus and concentration you need to organise and gather knowledge is by being in the zone.
Practice being in the zone and you will start to make more intuitive leaps in your sports trading and you will find before long, that the norm for you is to be In The Zone.
Good luck and happy trading.
The Zen Trader