Conquer poker fears with trust, courage, intelligence
November 20, 2012 3:00 AM
by T. Dana Smith
Fear is like a cobweb in the attic of success. If you let it grow unchecked, its sticky threads will envelop all your better qualities in a debilitating latticework of anxiety, lethargy and depression. But courage can sweep the attic clean.
You can create the courage to conquer your fears by thinking of fear as an acronym for the steps to take in sweeping it out of your life: Face your fear. Educate yourself. Take Action. Reassess your progress.
1) Face Your Fear. Ask yourself, “Exactly what am I afraid of?” Most people fear loss more than anything else. Although the loss of money may be what many gamblers think they fear, it is more likely the loss of control that is their true nemesis, or even the loss of respect they believe will come with failure. The fear of failure is one of the reasons why some people never set goals. A few folks even fear success because of the burden of responsibility it often brings.
It takes courage to take a risk. Noted motivational speaker Brian Tracy suggests that if you haven’t yet attained the level of success you desire, it may be because you haven’t failed enough. Failure weaves the fabric of success. Each thread teaches a lesson in how to succeed. Ask yourself two questions: “Have I been willing to risk enough failures to guarantee success?” “Do I deserve to be rewarded for my efforts?”
The fear of exposure, called the “imposter syndrome,” is another problem: “What if they find out I’m not as good a player as I pretend to be?” Some folks also fear the future: “Wouldn’t it be awful if... “ For them, fear is an acronym for Future Events Appearing Real
2) Educate Yourself. After you have identified exactly what you fear, you can empower yourself with knowledge. Dreading a tax audit? Read the IRS website on audits; call an accountant. With education comes confidence; confidence generates courage. Then use the “worstcase” technique. Imagine the worst possible scenario. Ask yourself, “If I am audited, what is the worst possible outcome? What’s the most money I could be penalized? How much time would I have to pay it?” Then expect the best, but prepare for the worst.
3) Act! Education without action is like a book you own but never read. Do everything you can to avoid the worst possible scenario and ensure the best possible outcome. Build an emergency fund, organize your tax records, and learn the lingo of the IRS and how to negotiate.
It takes courage to take action. If you need more of it, try writing a “mission statement” for your lives – all of them. Something like, “As a gambler, my mission is to make money by doing what I love.” Or, “As a parent, my mission is to offer unconditional love and guidance to my children.” Or, “As a businessman, my mission is to offer the best products for the lowest price with excellent customer service.”
Then ask yourself, “What would it take for me to make money at gambling? What must I do to lovingly guide my kids? How do I give customer service and maintain quality with low prices?” When you know what you must do, you can act rather than vacillate between fear and inertia. Take Nike’s advice and “Just do it!”
4) Reassess, Recommit, Renew. Reassessing your course of action takes courage: the courage to admit your mistakes, write off your losses, and recommit to your goals. Sometimes you need to rest, look at where you’ve been, and give yourself a pat on the back for the progress you’ve made and the lessons you’ve learned.
Give thanks for your fears and your failures. Fear can be a motivating force in your life, propelling you out of lethargy into action. If you’ve failed at working for other people and you’re afraid you can’t lead a 9to5 schedule, that fear can motivate you to selfemployment, a business of your own, or a career as a professional handicapper.
Fear need not freeze you—if you have the courage that frees you to courageously move forward along your personal path to happiness and financial success. Create the courage to conquer your fears and you’ll have the gambler’s edge.
Contact Dana T. Smith at DanaSmith@GamingToday.com.