Mental Edge

The Knowledge-Action Gap

By August 13, 2019 No Comments
A common problem I’m seeing poker players facing is knowing what to do, but not being able to take action consistently.
I just had a coaching call yesterday, and the guy I was coaching basically said “I know what I need to be doing, but I’m getting angry at myself, and frustrated that I’m not able to act on what I know.” 
Now, this is very interesting in the current world. We live in an information economy where the information is out there. 
We generally know what we should be executing on, but taking action is another step. 
I like to call this the knowledge-action gap. Knowing what you should be doing versus what you actually execute on day-to-day.
So, what’s going on? What’s the problem? 
Why can’t you execute on what you know? It’s always to do with mindset. 
It’s always to do with the narrative you’re telling yourself. It’s the excuses you make. 
It’s the reasons why now is not a good time. It’s the reason why you procrastinate. 
It’s you’re getting distracted by social media, and bad habits. It’s all these little things around your framework of thinking that cause you not to be able to act on what you know is going to be most beneficial.
The framework I set up for the guys who I work with is always very much the same:
#1: Decide On Your Goals
  • What are the goals we’re working towards? What’s the outcomes that you’re working towards? 
#2: Map Out A Plan
  • What’s the plan? What are the action steps you need to take consistently to get you to those objectives?
#3: Develop Consistency
  • What do you need to overcome in your own mindset and your habits/routines in order to be able to consistently stay on track?
It’s always about breaking down old habits, forming new habits, breaking down old belief systems, and forming new ways of thinking. 
When you can’t take action, let’s say you want to be studying 15 hours a week, for example, and you’re only studying five. 
You know you should be doing 15, but you’re only doing five. 
How would you get around your kind of tendency to procrastinate and not execute on what you should be doing? 
The first thing is, obviously, plan you time. 
Plan those 15 hours. Block them in. 
You need to unravel the narrative you’re telling yourself of why you shouldn’t be doing it. Why do you procrastinate?
Every time we don’t take action on something that we know we should, it’s generally due to conditioning or thoughts and behaviors. 
Our thoughts lead to behaviors, which lead to outcomes, and it’s generally the way we’re framing things. 
Often we’ll say things like too tired today, too stressed out, or not feeling like it today.
We’ve got to realize that we’re always in life holding ourselves back from where we want to go. 
If you can’t get an outcome, it’s never circumstances. 
It’s never that you can’t do something, it’s that you have told yourself, for whatever reason, you can’t. 
You’ve got to overcome your limited belief system. 
The way you do this, is you take back control of what you can, and you forget about things that you can’t control. 
You control your thoughts, you control your habits, you control your behaviors, but you don’t control outcomes. 
You don’t control whether, when you play poker, whether you make money or not.
What you’ve got to do when you’ve got, basically, a gap in “I should be doing this, but I’m not.” 
The common problem of the knowledge-action gap.
So find ways to shorten that gap. 
This gap could be massive. You may be thinking “Okay, I need to be getting up early to grind and study, go to the gym, eat well,” and it’s just overwhelming. 
You think you should be doing all these things. You want to change everything, but you can’t. 
So what you do, is you need to start making commitments with yourself, and start really, really small. 
Let’s call these micro-commitments.
You make a micro-commitment with yourself, follow through with that and it builds confidence. 
So, when you’re holding yourself back, and your mindset’s the problem from getting where you want to be, you’ve got to rebuild that relationship with yourself.
That sounds a bit weird, but it’s pretty much what happens. 
So that might be, okay, I want to study 15 hours a week, and I’m only doing five. 
Micro-commitment:”All right, next week I’m going to set my goal, six hours studying “. 
Then you follow through on that six. You make it so easy for yourself, even though it feels like you’re far away from your goal, you make a micro-commitment. 
Then, you follow through on those six hours, and go “Oh, this is six hours. Wonder if I can do seven next week.” 
And then you work towards building that one. You build it up, build it up incrementally. 
What people generally do is they wait for a high stress in their life. Wait for the problem to get so big it causes pain, like a pain point. 
Then they go “Let’s change everything. Let’s change my whole life.” 
They then face too much resistance. If you try to make drastic changes, you best have a really, really drastic motivation, or a very big shift in your “why” to follow through, but most people can’t make massive changes and stick to them. 
You’ve got to make incremental changes. 
Small, small, small, small changes, and close that gap. 
Always imagine in life, you’ve got a place you want to be right now, and there’s a gap between what you know of, and what you’re able to act on, and you need to act on more, and more, and more, and more, until that gap becomes smaller.
There’s always going to be a gap there. You’re always going to know more than what you can execute on, but you’re job is to shorten that gap. 
If that gap’s huge, generally you’re going to be frustrated, angry with yourself. Feel like you’re life’s not going where you need to be.
If that gap’s getting shorter, and you’re making progress towards shortening that gap, all of a sudden your life feels a lot better.
Realise it’s a framework game, and also making micro-commitments. 
Follow through with them, day by day, week after week. Start with incremental improvements, and over time it’s amazing how much incremental improvements can get you to a crazy high goal, or a crazy big achievement. 
Commit to the process, realize it’s just a game of making micro-commitments, following through, and overcoming those mindset leaks that are holding you back.
I hope you guys get something valuable from this post, let me know in the comments below any mindset leaks you are currently having, or any areas that you’re struggling to take action on.
Thanks for reading.