(This is today’s bit of advice from the book Safety Toolbox.)
The personality of your opponent can have an impact on your game, especially if you allow his individuality to control your playing style. If you find yourself playing differently than usual, you allowed him to infect your thinking.
Generally, this happens unconsciously. Reacting to people’s actions in public environments (work, business, family, etc.) is normal while participating in society. You do need to be sensitive to people’s feelings and attitudes.
In competition, if you let the actions or emotions of an opponent affect your attitude, you are handicapping yourself. Such unconscious reactions distract you from the goal of winning. If this happens, your decisions do not have the sharp clarity of careful calculations. Even more dangerous is that you stop figuring out all possibilities. When you only consider a small set of choices, you become less agile.
Note: This is not about intentional sharking efforts. Many individual habits could be considered sharking if you are overly sensitive, but are not intentional. Such individuals would be shocked if you accused them of sharking and attempting a cheap win.