Reprinted from our member's forum and message board.
A while back, I was shooting at an uncrowded table. As is common, as my hand progressed, the table filled up. As more players bought in (during point cycles) and slowed the game, put bets and hands in my landing zone, I found myself getting angry and getting ready to blame them for the impending 7-Out. Then I had a small epiphany.
By getting annoyed with these clueless people, and thinking of how they were making it hard to shoot, I was preparing an excuse for myself to fail. By readying an excuse for the 7, I was predicting and enabling my own failure. I was creating a "self-fulfilling prophesy." I then realized that I did this all the time and in doing so sabotaging my own success in both the immediate situation and the long term.
Winning is (at least in part) overcoming, removing or bypassing barriers to success. As long as I expected the "fleas'" distractions to hamper my game, they would.
At that point and since then, I have seen increased success by shutting out everything but the way the dice feel in my hand, using a "quiet eye" gaze on the LZ, controlling my breathing (gentle exhale through the toss), and picturing what I want the dice to do in flight and after landing (visualization, not voodoo).
With the exception of actual physical interference with the shooter or moving dice, neither "fleas," nor crew, nor any other distraction can make you fail. Only you can do that.
I've also found that I have been able to do quite well under "bad" circumstances more often now, because when there is increased "noise" I am more aware that I must concentrate harder and conscientiously shut it out.
There are any number of ways you can make a situation work for you. But whatever they are it is just as important that you don't enable your own failure.
You'll never be a success at anything you try if you start with "I can't..."
"I can't shoot with all this noise." "I can't shoot right if I'm getting 'heat' about the back wall." "I can't stand that drunk at the end of the table." "I can't land my dice correctly with all those chips down there."
Yes, these things can be real obstacles to success, but how many times are we making them into more than they really are?
Shift your thinking in to winner's mode. Those "danger-close" chips force you to a higher level of finesse for a tighter LZ and bounce path. The bully-boy box who reads you the riot act after your first toss helps you make sure your shot beautifully kisses the back wall and finishes as top-face primaries. Laugh at the drunk, the clueless and the boors. Force a predator's smile onto your face and remember that you are the shark cruising this coral reef.