The Art of Turning Fear into Power in Poker and Life

PBC Project
28 Feb 2024
28 Feb 2024

Unfortunately, there is no class in school where an experienced teacher would guide children on how to handle their emotions for their own benefit. Not all parents teach this, and even those who do are unlikely to provide all the necessary information.

The Purpose of Emotions: Insights from Evolution

Emotions are the result of our instincts.

Every human, by their nature, is a Great Fighter, constantly battling with obstacles in their path using various tools. Moreover, evolution has rewarded us with emotions!

"Evolution has rewarded us with emotions!"

So, what is the purpose of emotions?

Emotion is the result of encountering a life phenomenon and one of the mind's first responses in assessing the situation. Emotion is a special mode during which priority is given to strategies associated with that emotion. Fortunately, there are plenty of such strategies.

Understanding the Emotion of Fear

If our unconscious mind, based on the subtle details of a situation, perceives that there is a threat to our life, health, or some of our values, fear warns us about it and tunes the brain to seek the most effective way to achieve a safe resolution to the situation.

In a state of fear, our thinking works much faster than usual, and attention is primarily focused on potential dangers, overall threat assessment, and the search for counter-strategies.

While experiencing fear, you instantly gain access to your internal 'fear database,' and our internal 'Google' searches for situations most similar to the one that triggered the fear.

However, the diversity of strategies can be wide, depending on our preparation. The most crucial aspect is that during the emotion of fear, our subconscious records absolutely everything we do. When the situation is successfully resolved, our brain initiates a special discharge process, called relief (one form of pleasure). In the case of failure, it triggers the feelings of pain and suffering.

From early childhood, in our subconscious database, each strategy we employ when experiencing fear is connected (through neuronal connections) to the area responsible for the corresponding emotion. After linking with this area, the strategy is marked either as valid or defective (and synapses connect either with the pleasure or suffering area).

Constructive and Destructive Nature of Fear

So is fear a good thing or a bad thing?

Fear can be both constructive and destructive. It depends on how we assess the situation and our ways of personally interpreting sensory information that shapes our worldview.

Often, we tend to make a mountain out of a molehill early and then spend our entire lives fearing to climb that mountain​​​​

For instance, a person may have a fear of public speaking because in a past they stumbled or even froze, and everyone around laughed at them, triggering a sense of shame (a social emotion, a particular type of fear). Even long after childhood, as an adult, the person still fears speaking in public. If the primary strategy of fear is avoidance—attempting to foresee the future and avoid risks—then the person may miss out on numerous opportunities to speak publicly.

Technique for Handling Fears

We suggest a simple technique for handling fears:

  1. First, identify what you are afraid of. In other words, find the tilty triggers.
  2. After that, try asking questions like 'Why? For what purpose do you fear?' and write down the answers that come to mind. It's desirable to explore this process through 5-6 levels deep.
  3. And finally ask yourself a crucial question "What is the worst that can happen?". This question can also be explored at different levels.

And remember:

"Brave is not the one who is not afraid, brave is the one who acts despite fear!"

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