How many times did you hear a true champion speak with doubt? How many times did you hear a boxer say, “It will be a tough fight, we will just have to wait until Saturday and see how it all works out”? Never, because doubt will knock you out before you even begin.
The athletes that are remembered are always those that performed memorably during times of pressure. I say memorably because they could be remembered for choking or rising to the occasion. Anyone who has played competitive sports knows that there is a different feeling during a play-off game, but as with all things in life, that by itself is not a bad thing, it is all in the way you handle it.
People are disturbed not by things but by the view they take of them– Epictetus 200AD
If you let self-doubt enter your mind, anxiety is sure to grow. Once you start to doubt whether you are capable of winning you’re on your way to disaster because the mind can only hold one thought at a time. You are either thinking of winning, and visualizing what winning will be like, or you are worrying about what happens if you don’t win. You can only hold one picture at a time. Sure some athletes waver back and forth, but at any given time you can only be holding one thought.
What the mind sees, feels, and thinks, it works towards. The mind needs to be given direction and then it works towards making that given destination a reality. The mind is constantly working towards results, the trouble is what directions are we giving the mind. When you learn how to control your mind, greatness is achievable. Learning how to think like a winner is the first step towards becoming a winner.
To Become a champion, you must first look and act like a champion. — Muhammad Ali
Some people say you cannot control what comes into your mind. I believe with the proper training… you can. Regardless of whether or not you can or cannot control what enters your mind, you can definitely control how long you hold any thought that does enter your mind. If a seagull decides to have a bowel movement while flying overhead, you cannot exactly control that… but you sure the heck can control how quickly you clean yourself off.
It is the same with your mind. When a negative thought enters, clean it out with a flood of positive images. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want. Focus on winning, not on not losing. Begin to daydream, make this daydream the ideal outcome. Not what you will settle for, but what would be perfect.
It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not. — Denis Waitley