Aces Full of It: Self-HonestyFebruary 6th, 2017 by Justin Buchanan
The following article is rated O for Opinion. While it may be more serious than an Onion article, its purpose is to put forth statements of opinion or conjecture without advancing them as superior to other opinions. Take it or leave it.
I’m writing this because of an oversight in my last entry. I spoke of the importance of taking a truly honest assessment of your poker skills, and then proceeded to mostly gloss over my own negative points. I thought I’d take the opportunity to go into more detail on this important topic.
Self-honesty is important because the alternative is self-delusion. And frankly, I don’t think a single person on Earth is totally unaffected by self-delusion–yours truly included! The best we can really hope to do is to cull the influence of self-delusion out of what we consider the important aspects of our lives. For me, poker definitely qualifies for that! Because of that, I’m going to go ahead and deliver the second half of what I was saying last time–what I believe are my weaknesses.
As I touched on, my weaknesses as I’m aware of them are mostly psychological. Most of them stem from my putting pressure on myself to do well. When I am doing well, I tend to fall prey to overconfidence and greed–I push things too far and wind up losing big, which can lead directly into the other major half of my issues–when I’m NOT doing well I feel anxious to perform better and become reckless, wanting to win more pots and turn things around too badly to actually DO it. And if I make a mistake the effect compounds even more, kind of like a slippery slope of sucking. Really…I’ve never been sure how to just shrug things off, poker or otherwise.
So with that out of the way, I’d like to more directly discuss self-honesty and self-delusion. Because if one stops valuing self honesty ENTIRELY, well…
Of course, for most of us self-delusion isn’t exactly a virulent problem. It’s still incredibly pervasive and in large part in ways that are extremely difficult to be aware of in our own cases. After all, we wouldn’t be able to fool OURSELVES so effectively if we were aware that we’re doing it!
Let me ask you something, here. Have you ever heard reference to, or perhaps directly read about, some study or other that indicates people look only for information that confirms beliefs they already have and are much more likely to reject information to the contrary? When you did, did you say or think something like, “Wow, that must be what the deal is with all those stupid people on the internet I see every day that just refuse to see how WRONG they are! I’m glad I’m not like that!”
Because that, ladies and gentlemen, is Self-Delusion Ur-Exhibit A.) You ARE like that. What may well be the case is that you are just not like that as much or as much of the time as Those Stupid People On the Internet™ are. It’s SELF delusion, not just delusion, after all. It takes quite a lot of self-delusion for it to spill over to interactions with other people. And really, if you’re taking what I’m saying here even kind of seriously, I doubt you have much risk of being that self-dishonest.
So how can you be more self-honest? Well, one thing you could do is self-assess the next time you have a strong opinion on something. It could be anything–it could be about yourself, about current events, a general opinion about another person, anything. Ask yourself why you have this opinion and why you feel so strongly about it. Is it personal experience, or hearsay to you? Could you explain your opinion logically to someone else? Not someone who disagrees with you, just any old hypothetical not actually existing person?
That’s what I have off the top of my head, anyway. Now if you will excuse me, the Ace is hungry.