Chapter 7: Fear.
Fear is amongst most of us and probably everyone who is reading this has some fears at the poker table as well as in their real lives. The problem with fear is, that it is capable of holding us back and therefore stopping us from realizing certain goals in our lives and poker careers. The main goal is to discover your fears and counter them as efficiently as possible. The endgame here would be to have no fears and to stop developing new ones.

7.1. Recognizing your fears.
Very often it is very easy to know what you fear. Maybe you fear spiders, heights, flying stinging insects and so on. I assume if you think for a minute you can state a few. However you might also have other fears which aren’t as easily spotted.

There are also fears at the poker table you might have realized yet. The same counts for everyday life situation. Try to find out all your fears, so you can step beyond them if you wish to. I’m in no way saying here that having fear is bad, it could well be for your own protection. However I do see fears as something holding certain potentials back. In the end you’ll have to decide whether you want that fear to be gone or stay.

Here I’ll state some fears of which you might not have thought yet or even faced.

Fear for being raised in a tough spot. Fear of poverty (Fear of going broke). Fear of getting sick. Fear of getting old. Fear of death. Fear of playing in too high stakes. Fear of dropping down stakes. Fear of the player next to you. Fear of a specific player or maniac. Fear of criticism.  Fear of being rejected. Fear of losing the love of someone.

I’ve mixed poker fears and potential real life fears in this list. Try to see of which you are afraid and whether you can lengthen the list yourself.

For every fear you will find symptoms. If the symptoms are negative, you should really consider countering the fear. If the symptoms of the fear are positive in your eyes, you don’t have to counter it.

7.2. Countering your fear.
“Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every single fear you have can be countered and eliminated. By approaching and eventually doing the things you fear in small steps you will be able to overcome the fear. It takes time and discipline but everyone is capable of getting there.

Fear is a state of mind. As you might know, we can control our state of mind if we want to. Therefore we can control our fears.

Challenge 11: Find a fear you want to get rid of. Do some research on the subject if that is required. Start by taking small steps towards conquering the fear until it is gone.

Example: If you fear dropping down stakes. Force yourself to drop down stakes regularly and play good there. After a while you won’t fear dropping down, as you have already done that so often and your state of mind accepts it as something normal and not negative.
If you fear of going up stakes as the amounts get bigger. Your fear here is a state of mind to the value of that money. As you go higher you might compare that money to the money in the real world and compare it with what you on day jobs. Also here you can approach this in small steps, if you won’t face the issue, you might be holding your potential back. I’ve read in books that you can just keep on playing your regular stake until you feel like you can go up and have no fear of losing the amounts. (as your bankroll grows in your regular stakes and so you’ll have ‘more’ money you can comfortably lose some more.) I see and understand the idea behind it, however this might take longer to actually conquer your fear. Because the amounts of money are still the same you lose compared to your real life. You still can lose X in one session.

What I want to say is: Think really hard about it and how it could work for you. After all it is you who has to conquer the fear. Think and then act. 

7.3. Protect yourself from getting influenced.
As we all know we can get influenced by people. Mostly we are influenced by persons we know. However if this person influences you in bad ways, you can basically start to fear things he fears.

Just remember that you have your own will-power, put that in constant use and make sure it was your idea to do something. Before you ever do a certain thing or someone suggests you to do that, analyze it and think about it before you do it. 

Keep your mind closed to everyone who depress or discourages you in any way.

When you ever do something:
Don’t expect troubles as they have a tendency not to disappoint.