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Fear: How to Completely Eradicate it on the Golf Course

The definition of fear: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

Fear is caused by that outcome that you don’t want to happen being present in your mind. You are in a situation, and numerous outcomes go through your head. There are the ones that you would like to happen, and the ones that you wouldn’t. The very fact that there are unwanted outcomes in your mind will cause fear.

So the quickest way to eradicate fear: remove the presence of unwanted outcomes from your mind.

Well that’s pretty easy to say. But if you’ve ever tried telling yourself “don’t think about x, y, and z” what’s the first thing you do? You think about x, y, and z. So there’s got to be another way.

A big factor of fear is not knowing the future. Being unsure of the outcome is going to make you less confident in your actions. So what if you could tell the future? Even if it was a bad outcome, you would know what was going to happen, and you would try to do it as confidently as possible. But just like removing a thought from your head, predicting the future also doesn’t exist. There’s got to be another way.

The final way and the way that I believe is the best (and only) way to remove that belief about a bad outcome and therefore eradicate fear is to simply not care about the outcome. Now this is also like the other options: easier said than done. But unlike the others this option isn’t impossible.

So how does one not care?

One way is to replace your care about the result with caring about something else. And that something else is focusing on the process. Giving your care to your routine.

Think this through. If you shifted your focus onto your routine (pre- and post-shot), and this is all you cared about, then of course you would stop caring about the result. If you obsessed over the perfect execution of your routine and how you judged success or failure was on how well you performed your process, then fear of the uncertain outcome would disappear. You’d be too caught up with picking a target, letting it rip, and accepting the results to worry where the ball went.

So now that you’ve stopped caring about the result of the shot, then fear goes away. And that means you have removed fear of failure, fear of letting others down, fear of not living up to your own expectations, fear of shooting a bad score, and fear of not making it as far as you’d hoped. All that matters now is going through your routine.

Imagine what you would (and could) do without any fear. You might play better, but you don’t care. You might shoot lower scores, but who cares? You might win tournaments, but that doesn’t matter to you. All that matters anymore is picking a target, letting it rip, and accepting the results. And the rest is history.

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From The Mental Re-Grip 11/15/22 “…worrying about golf and caring about golf are not the same.” - Golf Beneath the Surface: The New Science of Golf Psychology (Pre-Release Draft for Reviewers) by Raym


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