Why do we shift responsibility to others? And how does this apply to poker players.

PBC Project
06 Mar 2024
06 Mar 2024

For individuals, maintaining a healthy level of self-esteem is crucial for stabilizing mood and motivation. Nevertheless, life often presents challenges that may hinder us from feeling like winners in every situation. In such cases, our psyche employs defense mechanisms.

The Psychology of Shifting Responsibility

One such mechanism is shifting responsibility.

It's much easier to blame someone else for our failures than to admit our own mistakes, especially when personal errors are seen as significant hits to self-esteem.

A poorly played hand where you made a lot of mistakes can have a significant emotional impact on an individual. It is a pure tilt trigger. In an effort to avoid these negative emotions, the brain employs a trick:

'I did not execute a bad bluff — that is my opponent made a bad call.'

This standpoint essentially shifts the impact on one's self-esteem away from oneself and onto an external factor.

Nevertheless, employing this defense mechanism comes with a price.

A person who consistently blames others and circumstances instead of taking responsibility loses the opportunity for self-improvement.

One can continue making the same mistake for years, ignoring it due to one's own arrogance, believing that someone else is to blame.

Shifting Blame in the Face of Poker Variance

In the context of poker, shifting responsibility can thrive because the game inherently involves variance.

Instead of acknowledging flaws and mistakes, individuals complain about their 'downswing' to everyone around them, all the while thinking:

"If luck were just neutral, I'd already be crushing NL1k!"

Transformative Power of Responsibility

Responsibility is a fundamental quality necessary for personal development and life control. By shifting it onto someone else, you risk maintaining a protected self-esteem but getting poor results. If growth and progress are your goals, prioritize maximum responsibility.

If you've been less responsible thus far shifting it onto external circumstances, it might be challenging to take full responsibility overnight. However, you can gradually increase the stakes.

Hiding or making up flaws doesn't make them disappear.

To make taking responsibility easier, understand that no one is perfect, and making mistakes is part of being human. Moreover, mistakes can be used to enhance self-esteem. If you acknowledge your mistake and work towards correcting it, you'll become stronger, feel better than before, and ultimately improve your quality of life.

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