So far in our 8-part handicapping series, we have covered emotional control, expectations and game selection management. This time we'll cover faith and hope as integral factors to take note of.
In Part II of “Get out of your Head,” we talked about eliminating expectations to make yourself a winner. That chapter was met with critical acclaim and hailed as groundbreaking territory in the field of sports betting psychology. Though the response was overwhelmingly positive, I realized in ensuing discussions that I had not provided an alternative for the negative path that is traversed by unmet expectations. Forthwith is that positive opinion.
As you embark in the field of sports investing, you must understand the stark reality that “you are playing with real money.” It is easy to lose sight of that when you are placing a wager via telephone or on the internet. Just take a moment to think of the way you would feel if you actually had to finalize the transaction by physically transferring the money. Yet, because the funds are already secured in an account, or you are betting on credit, the actual physical transaction of funds rarely occurs. If it did, I surmise your sports investing career would have a much more conservative approach. There are few outlays of money in your life that you take less seriously.
The above scenario is the reason why respect and faith must become key elements in the investment process. You must have respect for the final selection process, whether that is your own handicapping process or by someone you enlist to perform that function. That involves a degree of homework on your part. You must feel confident that the methods used have earned your respect. Once you’re comfortable in that regard, it is imperative that you have faith in the process. That faith must be based not on a single day, game, or week result, but on a long term track record. The confidence you have based on this respect and faith are essential to the way in which you psychologically, emotionally, and mentally handle the results of your wagering.
However, that confidence must not translate into expectation. For when expectations are not met, the ensuing disappointment inevitably spirals you down a path of negative emotions including resentment, frustration, criticism, blame, and eventually anger. The mindset you should rather have is one of hope. The concept of hope is one that is essential to the positive human condition. Without hope we find despair. With despair, we can become awash in a wave of depression leading to an ultimate downward spiral to the nadir of our discontent. This is not unlike the spiral resulting from unmet expectations. The secret to emerging from these negative emotional states must be the ability to function in the present, in every now moment of your life, with the realization that now is the only moment in time that you control. With that comes the understanding that having guilt for what has preceded each moment, or anxiety for what may happen in the future become useless emotions. To replace these feelings of negativity, each current moment is filled with hope. The human mind, when focusing in our current moment, easily allows us to function with hope. That’s why it is often said “that hope springs eternal in the human breast.” It is also why it is essential to the positive human condition.
With the positive attribute of hope we are able to make a realistic assessment of our chances for success. In our example of sports investment, it translates into an understanding of our realistic chance to beat the betting odds. We enter our emotional relationship with the outcome understanding the random variances of turnovers. We are fully aware of the human element involved in the decision making of the players. We understand the bounce of the ball is often impacted by factors beyond our control. We understand it is a game of inches with the measurement often responsible for winning and losing. We understand that injuries to key players or multiple players are a realistic part of the game. In short, we do not expect to win. Rather we hope to win based upon the respect of the handicapping methodology and the faith in the handicapping selection process. Having hope implies that we can accept defeat, as well as victory, with the mental outlook being equally as strong for our next sports investment opportunity.
It should be clear to you from these last two segments involving expectation and hope, that although you may have lived your life in a downward emotional spiral resulting from unmet expectations, that the alternative of present moment thinking and the ability to live in a world with hope is your best option in achieving a healthy mental approach to not only your sports investment career, but to every aspect of your life.
Now that we have seen that hope can replace expectation for a healthier outlook on life, let's take a look at the way that we can eliminate fear as being one of the greatest motivators in out life. It will be the following segment.