Learn to look at things as a great opportunity rather than a pressure situation where you can make a mistake. – Jarmo Kekalainen (GM of Columbus Blue Jackets)
When you are facing a tough situation (or just any situation) and don’t believe that you can do it, you are blocking the road ahead. Or at least making the road a lot harder to travel than it has to be. Mindset that we hold plays a huge, and often ignored part in being able to achieve goals not only in training but in life.
When facing an uncomfortable situation I like to ask myself two questions:
- So give this a go and I bomb. What is the worst thing that can happen? Unless I am planning a trick a’la Evil The Knievel, the worst possible outcome is most likely not earth shattering.
- If I bomb, does any of this matter in 10 years? If the answer is a resounding no, why worry about it? Besides, there’s always a learning in a failure anyway.
That’s how mind works. The more you are able to rationalize the situation in your head, the more achievable that something becomes.
That being said, you will have to believe in what you set out to do. When you load up a heavy deadlift but think that there’s no chance of it leaving the ground, guess what? It probably won’t leave the ground. When you think that there is no chance you can go a week without drinking wine (why you would do that is way beyond my comprehension), you are probably right. It is more likely that you will fall flat on your face when you see yourself failing at something before even give it a proper go. Your physical action will gravitate towards what your mind believes.
The connection between the body and the mind is firm. If you doubt that being the truth I want you to hold the following hypothesis in your mind for just a second: We all know the nervous feeling in the bottom of the stomach when facing something we are uncomfortable with. Just think of how you’d feel about stepping on the podium to address a mob of ten thousand people to tell them how they all need to improve their poor state of personal hygiene.
This doesn’t mean that you should become overly optimistic about everything. I am not going to tell you that to swim for your country at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics all you have to do is practice and believe, hard (cue “I Believe I Can Fly” here). Neither do you grow rich or bend forks with your brainpower if you just believe it can happen. Believing, no matter how hard you you do it, doesn’t materialize in things that are utopistic at best. But you knew that already. What believing can do though is to get you a positive outcome in a tight situation.
So template for being successful with something is to prepare for it, keep practicing and learning while doing so and have a “yes, I can do this”– mindset. If one of those things is missing the road ahead is going to be hard(er) than it needs to be. Still hard, yes. But doable.
Take action, believe in what you do, rationalize the situation and get after it. Instead of leaving something only for hopes and believes. Because that’s just nuts.