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Throughout my life, I have been fortunate to have several mentors. These were individuals who had mastered their area of expertise and were willing to share their knowledge with me. In some instances, I sought them out, and in other instances, they came into my life just when I needed them.
I believe that the concept of “modeling” is one of the most powerful secrets to achieving success. Essentially, modeling is seeking out an individual that has achieved outstanding success in the field in which you are involved, and then modeling yourself after their success.
It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel. I can assure you that whatever you want to achieve, there is someone, somewhere, who has already achieve the same goal. All you need do is find that person, study their success, and do what they do. These people are Winners! Unfortunately, most Losers model themselves after other Losers.
ATTRACTING A TEACHER
You have undoubtedly heard the saying “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” What this really means is that when we are ready to accept something we truly desire, we will consciously and unconsciously attract the people, circumstances and conditions necessary to the fulfillment of that desire. It is the same principle that causes Winners to attract Winners and Losers to attract Losers.
While Losers may come in many varieties, the most common stereotypical image is that of the so-called “compulsive gambler.” This is a person who goes to a casino or racetrack armed with little knowledge and a “lucky” feeling that invariably causes him to lose his shirt.
Once I had decided to take up thoroughbred handicapping as a hobby and a serious form of investment, I immediately found myself questioning whether or not I was doing the “right” thing. Like so many others, I had been programmed to believe that all gamblers eventually LOSE. Also, because of my religious background, I had been programmed to believe that gambling is basically “evil,’ and at the very least, not a socially acceptable means of earning money.
The word “gamble” in itself is loaded with morality injunctions, except in the case of those who “gamble” on stocks, bonds, commodities, and real estate. Such people are not thought to be “gamblers” but “investors.”
No longer able to ignore the contradiction in this, I decided to reconsider the matter in a more realistic light.
I turned to Webster for a definition of terms. Here is what I found:
INVESTMENT: “To lay out money or capital in BUSINESS with the view of
obtaining an income or profit.”
GAMBLING: “To PLAY or game for money or other stakes.”
It is easy to see that, by definition, the only distinction between these two words is that one is considered work and the other is considered play.
The Role of Religion
Since most of us have been influenced by the religious Judeo-Christian “work ethic,” we are programmed to believe that only socially acceptable “work” occupations are “good.” “Thus, one who received income from “investing” in stocks, bonds, commodities or real estate is felt to be “working” and, because of this, is termed an “investor.”
The gambler, however, by arbitrary religious and moral definition, is “playing,” which is in direct opposition to the moral teaching of the Judeo-Christian work ethic. Therefore, the gambler’s activities must be “evil” or “bad.” If he wins, his unearned winnings are considered an instrument of the Devil. If he loses, he is getting what he deserves.
The teacher appears
At this point I was ready to meet my Teacher and, apparently, he was also ready for me! His name is Howard Sartin, Ph.D., a psychotherapist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of so-called “compulsive” or “pathological” gamblers. I first heard about him when I read an article about his unique approach to rehabilitating problem gamblers, which he called “Win Therapy.”
I wrote to Dr. Sartin to ask him if he would mind sharing some of his ideas behind the concept of Win Therapy. By way of professional introduction, I enclosed a copy of one of my books. A week or so later, I received a package in the mail along with a nice note that read as follows: “You are already quite popular around here. We keep your books in stock for our clients. In fact, I just purchased two dozen copies and only have six left?”
It’s interesting, if you look at the whole picture. Here was a man I had never met but was attracted to through reading a professional journal. By the same token, he had never met me and had no way of knowing that the author of the books he was recommending was also interested in professional handicapping. Coincidence? I think not!
I am sharing this with you because I think you will find Dr. Sartin’s work, and the basis of his Win Therapy, both interesting and supportive of the ideas discussed in previous chapters.
Since 1975, Dr. Sartin has assumed an adversary role towards the American Psychiatric Association in the diagnostic philosophy and treatment practices for treating so-called “compulsive” or “pathological” gamblers. It is important to note that after twelve years of successful
treatment, Dr. Sartin has proven that the terms “compulsive” or “pathological” are a gross misdiagnosis. Rather, he has correctly diagnosed “compulsive” or “pathological” gamblers as “Losing” gamblers, or L.G.’s.
His first experience with problem gamblers involved a group of truck drivers who had been convicted of gambling-related felonies and high misdemeanors. The court had granted them the use of provisional driver’s licenses so that they could continue to earn a living provided they also entered into psychotherapy or Gamblers Anonymous treatment programs.
Both Alcoholics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous base their rehabilitative practices on the concept of total ABSTINENCE. Although the members of this group had already been exposed to Gamblers Anonymous, their urge to gamble had not abated. If anything, they were becoming increasingly eager to “try their luck” again.
Personality testing has shown that gamblers generally have a higher- than-average IQ. This was proven out when this group began to sense that there were certain fallacies in the ABSTINENCE theory postulated by Gamblers Anonymous. Their suspicions were altogether correct. While many gamblers have joined Gamblers Anonymous hoping to “cure” their problem, the actual cure rate – successful abstinence – of Gamblers Anonymous is 3.5 percent. For other psychiatric treatment programs, the rate is LESS than 3 percent.
What Dr. Sartin has shown through his research and successful treatment procedures is that “compulsive” or “pathological” gamblers are not addicted to gambling. Rather, they are addicted to LOSING.
His most significant discovery was that the gambler’s true pathology is not gambling, but LOSING. This is characterized by a gambler’s inability to distinguish between positive and non-positive or negative expectancy events. Gamblers live in a fantasy world wherein they continue to visualize the “big score” without evaluating (through knowledge of the odds and probabilities) their actual chances of success.
According to Dr. Sartin, THE CURE FOR LOSING IS…WINNING! While, at first glance, this may appear overly simplistic; it has nonetheless proven to be the most effective treatment available today for treating problem gamblers.
The fact is, few psychiatrists, psychologists or health care professionals are equipped to treat the problem gambler. Along with Gamblers Anonymous, they tend to recommend immediate and total abstinence. While abstinence is certainly essential in the early stages of treatment, it need not be maintained once the client/patient is “cured.”
The “cure” lies not in abstaining from gambling, but rather in abstaining from any form of risk-taking that does not produce a positive expectancy. In this case, positive expectancy is defined as any form of investment that can be expected to produce a positive return if the odds are in the investor’s favor.
The goal of Win Therapy is to turn “compulsive” of “pathological” gamblers, which Dr. Sartin prefers to call “Losing Gamblers” (L.G.’s) into Winning Investors” (W.I.’s). The treatment program encompasses a twofold process, which includes both psychological reprogramming and education retraining. The educational aspect is concerned with the implementation of a methodical process for winning. This, of course, must be accompanied by a winning belief system. Both Dr. Sartin and I
have repeatedly proven that unless a person fully expects to win, there is no way that he will win in the long run. His thought processes will lead him to failure. (Sound familiar?)
Dr. Sartin began to study all aspects of gambling to develop a winning methodology. After extensive research, he came to the conclusion that thoroughbred horse racing, combined with pari-mutuel wagering, was the best and only form of gambling that could be expected to produce a positive expectancy outcome.
Under the pari-mutuel system, after the racetrack takes a given percentage of the day’s take, they return approximately 85 percent of the money taken in to the patrons. This is in direct contrast to casinos, which return less than 15 percent of the money wagered back to their patrons.
To further understand Dr. Sartin’s reasoning for choosing pari-mutuel wagering as part of his treatment procedure, we need to take a look at some interesting statistics. Since the inception of pari-mutuel wagering, daily statistics have consistently shown that 80 percent of those who wager at pari-mutuel racetracks will lose money, 15 percent will break even, and only 5 percent will win.
At a major track such as Santa Anita, where the DAILY handle is apt to exceed $6 million, 85 percent of that is redistributed to the 5 percent winners. This means that 5 percent of the total patrons split up approximately $5,100,000! The distribution process itself works out like this:
60% of the money goes to daily winners whose success is irregular and based on minimum skill.
25% goes to winners who win with some degree of frequency through a combination of skill and random chance.
15% goes to highly skilled handicappers who make comparable profits, consistently throughout the year.
While the professional handicapper’s profit is smaller, it is subject to only minor fluctuations and vagaries. The composition of the first two groups, however, changes daily.
Because the smaller group is more consistent, its annual earning potential based on forty weeks out of the year can be expected to exceed
$85,000 per year. In addition, the average professional handicapper’s
R.O.I. (Return On Investment) per year consistently outperforms the best mutual funds on the market.
Armed with this information and a thorough background in clinical psychology, Dr. Sartin set out to develop his controversial Win Therapy program.
His first group of problem gamblers entered into a clinical contract requiring that no wagers would be placed until Dr. Sartin and his group could consistently produce a minimum win factor of 45 percent, at an average mutuel payoff of $8 and $2 wager. This also included the use of money management process that assured them of a profit.
They were also required to attend group-therapy sessions designed to reprogram their Losing life-script. Since handicapping is not the Losing Gambler’s primary problem, Dr. Sartin placed most of the emphasis upon psychological retraining. He has repeatedly proven that a mediocre
handicapper with a winning attitude will be more successful in the long run than an expert handicapper with a losing attitude.
Dr. Sartin is now retired from full-time practice, but the number of problem gamblers he has successfully treated attests to the success of his Win Therapy program. Since 1975, he has treated over eighteen hundred problem gamblers; most of who were diagnosed by other mental health professionals as “compulsive” or “pathological” gamblers. Of that number, 17 percent proved to be true recidivists who could not be cured. Another 25 percent stopped gambling on their own after they had been effectively treated and had seen it demonstrated that pari-mutuel events could be won a consistent basis. At this juncture, they no longer needed the emotional release of losing, or the pathological “thrill” that came from anticipating a “big score.”
This left about 850 patients who vowed to give up all gambling except thoroughbred handicapping, which they now saw in terms of “investing” rather than “gambling.” Once they were taught how to become pari- mutuel investors, the no longer lost money at gambling-related activities. In fact, their personal incomes increased dramatically.
At last count, 60 percent of them were making a substantial living at professional handicapping, 40 percent were making a part-time income and showing constant improvement. Overall, this amounts to an 83 percent success rate! It also proves that Losing Gamblers can be turned into Winning Investors!
Thoroughbred handicapping is not for everyone. The secret of success in this field is acquiring expert knowledge in handicapping, as well as the necessary psychological training to become a consistent Winner. If you
Putting it all together
The most significant part of the conversion from “Losing Gambler” to “Winning Investor” did not come from the handicapping methods alone. Its true essence lies within the psyche of the individual who learned to change his/her Loser self-image to that of a Winner.
According to Dr. Sartin, the initial process begins with the abandonment of all functional obstacles that obscure the path to winning. One of the primary obstacles if fear. Fear is the seed from which all losing is born. From the moment the second person watched the first person die, man was afraid. Even religion’s promise of everlasting life has not been enough to appease that fear.
The fact is all philosophical and scientific theories and advancements since the beginning of time have been created out of the impetus of fear. Fire was discovered to appease man’s fear of freezing. Weapons were invented to stave off man’s fear of his enemies. Medicine was created as a means of combating that frightened word – disease. In essence, all fear is based on the ultimate fear – the fear of death. Death represents loss – loss of personal possessions, loss of loved ones, loss of life.
Each day, we are subject to “little deaths.” These begin in the form of negative parental injunctions such as “You can’t do this,” “You can’t do that,” “You must look for security,” “You can’t win’” “NO!” etc. In the process of being subjected to these little deaths, a little piece of us dies with each injunction. And it gets worse, because we continue to add
some of our own personal injunctions – and so, the list continues to grow.
In order to survive, we have learned to adapt our negative programming. Psychological adaptation was IMPOSED upon us by well-meaning parents, teachers, religious leaders and other adult authority figures. It should be noted that this was not done for our personal benefit, but for the benefit of the IMPOSER, even as this person somehow convinced us that what they were doing was “for (our) own good.”
Once we have made our psychological adaptation, we tend to live out the life-script of our parents, teachers, religious leaders and other adult authority figures. The adaptation itself can result in a series of unsuccessful life experiences involving personal relationships, health, business, finance, etc.
But that isn’t necessarily where it ends. In time, many of us may take on an even more serious form of adaptation – that of the alcoholic, substance abuser, overeater, problem gambler, etc. The foregoing are ALL functions of the same disorder – an unhealthy adaptation of a losing life-script.
The primary purpose of this chapter has been to demonstrate how one form of negative adaptation – problem gambling – can be treated and even cured through the concept of Win Therapy, which centers on changing the Losing life-script into a Winning life-script. It encompasses a basic truth that can be applied to other areas of life as well – “THE CURE FOR LOSING…IS WINNING!”
If you have accepted a Losing life-script, rest assured it can be changed and rewritten from a Winner’s point of view. How? The answer can be
found in Chapter 10 – “Creating a Winning Life-Script.” In this chapter, a modified model will demonstrate how you can make those all-important changes in your life.
I am happy to say that I have become a Winner at the things I enjoy doing. What about you? Are you ready to create a Winning life script? If so, read on!