Handling fear, the biggest obstacle to success

Tensed sporty woman sitting on the running track

A golf student of mine was fearful of many things in life. Amongst them, he was terribly scared of stray dogs and though he was a tall, handsome fellow, he was scared if any girl was near him. However, being a teenager he was very attracted to them. This fear of dogs, girls etc. used to make him tentative in life as also in his golf game.

All sportspersons have to first understand that Sports Mind Training starts off the court (Outside Field of Play) and all those aspects of your personality like fear, anger, frustration, dejection etc., that you are able to master off the court, will you be able to master on the court (Field of Play).

All sportspersons confirm that they all carry some fear or the other. Some common fears amongst sportspersons are:

1. When my family is watching me play, I can’t perform out of fear.

2. I drew to play the World champion in the first round.

3. On the back nine during the last few holes I start getting fearful and putted badly.

4. My favourite clothes didn’t get washed and I have to play in something else.

5. I fear facing a particular bowler.

6. My past results cause me fear.

7. Whenever I am drawn in the same group, I know I will loose.

Sports persons have to keep in mind that their fears are a result of their impressions. These impressions are implanted in the mind by our actions. Every day we perform all types of actions, from these actions an outcome or result is created. This result is stored in the form of impressions, and when the impressions a rise in the mind, they create a thought. In fact the situations that we confront daily in our lives, as well as the thoughts that occur in our mind, are a result of our actions. These daily thoughts are coming from all our past actions starting from very early childhood.

It is no wonder that the mind becomes agitated and unfocused amidst all the thought processes that goes on inside it. We have unfortunately from early childhood picked up a lot of fears.

When we were in nursery, when our uncles and aunts used to visit us, our parents would proudly show us off and would ask us to recite a poem, count 1,2,3,4, say A,B,C,D or just dance. Most of us were very scared of performing, though we knew that we could do those things that our parents were requesting us to do.

However, from this stage onwards, our fears started to grow and grow and grow in various fields of activity. Very small or large fears started accumulating within us. In teenage life we liked someone from the opposite sex, however we found an inability to express our emotions. There was a fear of rejection and such emotions got bottled up inside us.

In all spheres of activity, we saw ourselves fearful of situations we couldn’t confront or

didn’t want to confront. All sportspersons would have realized in their journey towards excellence that fear is one of the biggest obstacles they face.

Overcoming fears of all types is one of the ingredients towards improving your sports performance. The million dollar question is HOW?

The “Laws of Life” concepts assist in making the mind fearless.

Stilling or quietening the mind doesn’t mean we want it to stop thinking. We do not want to shut out the mind, but rather enable it to be unaffected by its constant turnings and twisting that cause us to become fearful.

Once the mind is able to focus upon it’s strengths there will be clarity in perception, clarity towards our fears and also how to engage and destroy them. However, the mind will constantly put obstacles in the path of your journey to that goal.

We cannot order ourselves to be fearless. It has to happen. Our commitment can be to do things that are conducive to make us fearless. We can perform those actions that need to be performed to become fearless.

When we find that a certain thought keeps occurring over and over in our mind, we know that it causes us fear in a given situation, we can however use our freewill to change the thought process.We start by performing deliberate actions making our mind think of those thoughts that are conducive to removing the fear we have.

This process of deliberately inducing thoughts through the technique of guided meditation allows the sportsperson to conquer his or her fear and in fact become fearless in areas that trouble them.

Guided meditation allows us to slowly discharge our fears. It’s a slow and steady process, however if worked upon diligently allows sports persons to be fearless of an upcoming tournament, higher ranked opponents, playing in venue’s where there past performance is not good, or any array of issues that cause fear in the minds of sportspersons.

Another method that works well to reduce fear is to become a contributor. Becoming a contributor to society (in any small way) benefits that sportspersons and they recognise how their becoming contributors has as if reduced or stopped their fear, which were actually only impressions that got ejected from their minds leading to them becoming fearless.

An example to illustrate this contribution method of becoming fearless can be seen in the cow. All of us have seen the humble cow sitting in the middle of busy metropolitan streets in India. Have you ever wondered why it is fearless and nonchalantly sitting in the middle of the road cud chewing. Would any other animal, a lion, a dog, a cat, anyone at all display such fearless qualities? The simple answer is NO. She imbibes that fearlessness, because she is a net contributor. She consumes a little fodder, some water and in return gives humongous amounts of effort ploughing the fields in the countryside, gives milk that we all enjoy and many other countless benefits while alive and even in death. She simply takes less gives more. She is a net contributor.

All sportspersons who work on the principle of taking less and giving more to society become fearless!

The Golf student was made to do guided meditation daily for 10 minutes a day. Just before retiring for the day, he started throwing away the daily thoughts that had been troubling him. As we throw the garbage out of our home, similarly, we learn to throw away the thoughts that trouble us. He also worked upon becoming a contributor. He chose a plan that was very close to his heart but he hadn’t been able to express it till we started the mind training sessions.

What I learnt that though he was afraid of street dogs, yet he loved them. He somehow lived with this predicament for years. Through a little pushing from my side and self effort from his side, he got around to feeding the street dogs and befriended them within a month. This changed his attitude towards many aspects in his life, especially towards his golf. Today he is on his way and his Golf results have astonished him, and more so, his parents. They never could have believed that their son would have achieved such results just by improving his mental strength.

“Once you become fearless, life becomes limitless”

Should you have any questions regarding handling fear, do write to me at smbhambhani7@gmail.com.