What stops us from winning?

Rowden Fullen 2010

Internal Restrictions

How many of us really believe we can get somewhere and are prepared to put in the effort to do this? In our modern society the single-minded specialist is not often thought of very highly. People who don’t conform, don’t fit in and are different from the rest are not popular. Even for those who start off being committed to a project it is all too easy to gradually drift, to procrastinate and to accept lesser levels of achievement. It’s very human to take the easy road.

Many players don’t seem to question where they are going -- they just drift. After a while the mind becomes frozen and they don’t even think any more. It’s very easy to limit yourself and to hamper your own progress!

  • Most of the time you are influenced by your own belief system – you can lift a matchbox, you can’t lift a car. But sometimes objects are deceptive; a huge bale of barley flake may only weigh a few pounds, a small bag of lead filings 25 to 30 kilos. Not only are objects sometimes deceptive, so are people, some of slight build are much more powerful than they look.
  • What happens when the belief system doesn’t work or seems to be over-ridden? When the skinny mother for example lifts a car off her 5 year old daughter, who is pinned under it? Or when the 12 year old boy carries an engine over two head-high fences without seeming to understand that it’s far too heavy for him to lift? Usually such things happen when there is a huge adrenaline rush or when the person concerned isn’t bound by a belief system at that time.
  • You have to believe you can succeed; you have to fool the belief system.

We all tend to perform within a certain ‘comfort zone’. Your self-image keeps you within the zone and makes you ‘act like you’. If you perform inadequately then the self-image turns up the power till you are back in the zone. But if you do too well the self-image cuts the power till you drop back into the zone again. If you are in the zone the self-image is content and does not interfere. All you have to do is to shift the self-image and the change will be permanent. This means that if you wish to perform better then you must change your self-image and raise the ‘comfort zone’ levels. You must ‘see’ yourself as you want to be!

This is the most important skill you will ever learn because you can only change and improve performance by changing your self-image. To do this however you must accomplish 4 important tasks –

  1. You must be willing to undergo change.
  2. You must identify the habits and attitudes you need to change.
  3. You must set up a new self-image which is in direct conflict with the old.
  4. You must exchange your old self-image for the desired new one.

If you turn your weaknesses into strengths, your performance will surely benefit. In this respect problems and frustrations are valuable keys to your success. For most athletes often their problems are negative attitudes and poor reinforcement. Each time you do something good, reinforce it – ‘Yes that’s good’. Each time you miss, forget it. Olympic athletes call this technique – feast or forget. Run a mental programme before each match. Reinforce success by recording details in your journal. The self-image cannot stand a conflict; if the old and the new are radically different then something has to go. If you continue to visualise your new self at some point the conflict will be resolved by the exchange of the old attitudes for the new.

External Restrictions

  • Also you need to surround yourself with the ‘right’ people. If you are working in a group with ‘losers’ or people of limited experience they will ‘bring you down’ to a level with which they are comfortable.

It’s all too easy to be limited by those around you, both coaches and players. How often do we hear the phrase: ‘But you must face up to reality!’ But what is reality? Ten players in your club will tell you it’s impossible to become a world champion. But if you talk to one or two world champions, they won’t laugh at you for thinking and aiming big, because they have already done it! It’s all a matter of perception: if you set limits in your own mind on what you expect to achieve, then you will indeed never exceed these limits. If you allow others around you to set your limits then you have even less chance of getting anywhere.

So to summarise:

  • You need the will and the motivation to succeed.
  • You need the belief in yourself and the awareness to change your self-image.
  • You need to surround yourself with the ‘right’ people who will support you in your endeavours.

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