Friday, March 30, 2007

Mind games

I came across this article today: Mental strength - When you can manage your emotions, you can perform at your best and it struck a chord. I especially related to the part about how your perception of the way other people see you influences your view of yourself. And of course, we can’t possibly know what other people are thinking – all we know is what WE are thinking and feeling about a certain situation.

Early experiences can really have a profound impact on our lives. Constant negative reinforcement creates thought and behaviour patterns that are hard to break out of. For example, all my life, I thought I was bad at sport… I was always being told when I was a kid that I was clumsy, unco-ordinated, awkward. So of course, that became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Whenever I had to participate in a team sport at school like netball, I’d be certain that I’d drop the ball, not be able to shoot a goal and generally be crap at everything. So I’d go out there, already having failed in my own mind and I’d do badly. It was inevitable, but not for the reason I thought. I’d laugh and shrug my shoulders and pretend that I didn’t care. After all, I was great at pretty much everything else at school, who cares if I didn’t do well in PE? Now I’m quite sure that if I’d received some encouragement and had taken the opportunity to practice, I’d actually have been an OK player – maybe even a good player, who knows?

I still have to remind myself of this stuff every time I try something new. You have to expect to be uncomfortable when you first begin anything new, but you’re not incompetent, you just need practice.

One of the things I learned from my first Body for LIFE challenge was that you have to dream big and then have an unwavering belief that you will achieve it. Focus your mind clearly on that goal, do whatever planning and preparation you need to, and then go after it with your body, mind and soul and your success is assured. It’s a huge leap of faith, but it’s well worth it, and that goes for anything you want out of life. I used the same technique successfully when I went after a promotion a while back – I prepared, practised, made sure I knew my stuff and then did some visualising. I saw myself blitzing the interview. And guess what? I sailed through it – I’ve never felt so confident in a job interview in my life. And yes, I got the promotion.

Mind stuff is tricky, but just like physical training, you can train yourself to be stronger mentally, just as you can train your body physically.


SeLiNa said...

OMG! I'm sure we're long lost twins or something - well with our thought patterns at least. I was planning on posting but thought I'd do the rounds first, and lo and behold, you posted EXACTLY the same topic as I was going too!! I've had a few 'defining' moments this week, all related to my thought patterns. We all do it, don't we!!
U beat me :P
Have a aaaaaaaaawesome weekend

LizN said...

Great post Kek - you said it all :)

Liz ;)

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