Master Moves


by: Don G / @lbdStreetFashion

You can never play the game of human chess and fear your opponent.

Fear is a natural response to the things we don’t know or don’t understand. It warns us that something bad is about to happen. It reminds us of the consequences of not following the rules and is essential to our survival — but fear isn’t always useful.

At times it can be down right debilitating hindering us from seeing the reality of our situation or causing us to second guess ourselves when making difficult choices or placing trust in other. To turn fear into an asset we must learn to conquer it. To conquer fear we must master the mental manipulation of fear itself.

Aristotle believed courage to be the most important quality in a man. “Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible,” he wrote, but how does courage nullify fear? It doesn’t. In spite of fear being present, courage convinces the mind to move forward anyway. Possessing a sufficient level of ruthlessness to reach objectives if necessary, plays a significant part in manipulating one’s emotions to accomplish an objective.

We each wrestle with fear daily. It may come from fear of failure, fear of success, fear of shame, fear of letting others down, fear of losing something or someone, fear of getting rejected, or fear of getting hurt. We live in a reality that everyday we wake up, there’s a possibility that something bad might happen to us or someone we care about.

But we just gotta do it anyways. Fear can be paralyzing, but we must learn to channel it into a positive mindset if we hope to overcome it. Our opponents won’t wait for us to be unafraid. They will use our fear as a weakness against us.



Elon Musk said he feels fear very strongly. But if it’s important enough, he forces himself to overcome fear.

It’s a myth that entrepreneurs or successful people don’t feel the fear of failure. Everyone absolutely feels fear of one type or another. What makes the difference is how that fear is managed.

It’s what you do with it that matters. When you feel fear you have two options:

  1. Stay still.
  2. Move forward.

You could do nothing and continue on living your normal life. Whatever’s troubling you will eventually pass.

If you choose to stay still, at least you’ll be safe and comfortable. Not terrible, right? Isn’t that a good life?

To look forward to a safe and comfortable life is truly the slowest of deaths to have. Life was not meant to be experienced that way. We live with moments of our lives that are not safe or comfortable.

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Fear is a major barrier to success, but it is also absolutely needed for life. Fear is a source of stress or anxiety that undermines peak performance, yet without it a person would not be able to properly assess risks, placing themselves and others in harms way. We need fear. Fear is very common among perfectionists, and for those who are highly motivated to compete at the highest level. The secret to mastering fear is in how and when we use it. When used properly it becomes a highly motivating force.

Your worry, anxiety or tension can come from several sources depending on your unique disposition. Most worries stem from thinking too much about outcomes, results, making mistakes, or thinking about how things should turnout.

Fear creates several mental toughness issues, such as low self-confidence, anxiety, tension, a lack of trust, worrying about making mistakes and even a genuine fear of letting others down.

For some, fear is a motivator to work harder. It motivates them to take the steps needed to prepare and overcome the obstacles they face.

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Types of Fear:

  1. Fear of the enormity of the event.
  2. Fear of embarrassment.
  3. Fear of letting others down, such as training partners, coaches, friends or family.
  4. Fear of not performing up to one’s potential.
  5. Fear of not meeting other’s expectations.

When you are focused on what you don’t want to happen, it’s nearly impossible to perform with high confidence, trust and composure. You must learn to move forward and overcome your assumptions that are not your true reality.

The way you begin to overcome fear is to redirect your focus. Instead of focusing on results or outcomes, focus on the moment at hand. Don’t let your opponent cause you to be upset when you don’t perform well, slow down and think instead about where your weakness was and what you can do to improve.

If you often feel like your self-esteem is threatened when you do not perform up to given expectations (e.g., you believe your value as a person is directly related to how well you perform). Find a different way to evaluate who you are. Find ways to care about yourself instead of about what others think about you.

To confront your fear, first uncover the irrational beliefs that sabotage your success. Then seek out ways to replace those beliefs with new perspectives.

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Begin adopting new beliefs that will help you perform with more freedom and trust. Have a systematic approach to deal with the fear.

Master Moves:

  1. Tap into what you fear is about.
  2. Rationalize. How does this fear help you?
  3. How can you take a better approach manipulating your fear?

Your fear will keep you trapped in a web of anxiety and low self-esteem if you don’t face it head on. Master it by evaluating how rational or irrational the source of your fear really is and then change your perspective or beliefs to turn that fear into a motivator. Create a new perspective that will allow you to manipulate fear in a way that causes you to focus on striving for success instead of failure.

Fear is a part of our survival instinct, but it can also create environments for irrational beliefs. All people have a tendency to harbor these irrational beliefs. Overcoming fear allows us to develop a more rational belief using our fear as an asset rather than allowing it to be a burden to our success.



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