Confidence is so important to our success I have decided to do at least a 3 part series.
What can we do to build Unstoppable Confidence?
A different approach to building confidence is taken from behavioral theorists (a major branch of psychology).
It may be common sense that the body listens to the mind. If we start to have thoughts like, “I am not good enough,” the body will probably start sweating, your heart will start racing etc. But what may not be such common sense is that the mind also listens to the body. Indeed, after seeing one’s body sweat and feeling one’s own heart race, the mind will look at this and decide, “I must be nervous because my body looks nervous.” This will make a person even more nervous than they were originally!
How do we stop the cycle?
We do not need to be Confident, we must simply ACT CONFIDENT! Muhammad Ali was the master of this. He said he was scared to death before every fight. He did not appear this way though because he ACTED CONFIDENT. He moved confident, he spoke confident, etc. When he or anyone else does this, your mind sees your body’s actions and decides, you must really be confident.
Can you be happy right now? Maybe, maybe not.
Can you think happy thoughts right now? Again, maybe, maybe not.
Can you smile? YES, anyone can smile. And studies show that we smile when we are happy and also WHEN WE SMILE- WE FEEL HAPPIER.
Apply this to Confidence. ACT AS IF, even if you do not feel this way. Fake it till you make it. Better still- fake it till you feel it!
Tony Robbins gives this exercise- Get yourself upset, or mad, or in some negative mood and then make a Big Smile and Look up in the air. You cannot stay mad, because you are sending your mind mixed signals. This will at very least break the cycle we spoke of earlier.
* Know in advance what Confidence looks like. What do you look like when you are confident? How do you move? How do you speak? How do you hold your head? What gestures go with your confident feeling? When you get this feeling of confidence remember how you look so you can make yourself do these same things when you need to be confident in the future. Practice doing this a lot before competition. As always, you do not want to practice for the first time before a competition. You want to get this look down.
* If you do not know how you look when you are confident, look at other people who you perceive as confident and watch how they move, walk, talk, hold their head, gestures, etc. and DO THAT. This will remind you of Confidence and you doing this will in turn make you feel confident. Your body moving around confidently will remind your mind to feel CONFIDENT.
*Add a gesture (or cue) every time you practice ACTING CONFIDENTLY. This will strengthen the connection between you mind and body so you will feel maximally confident when you need it most.
Author Wrestling Mindset "Go From Practice Wrestler to Gamer"
My high school wrestling coach, the great Steve Giordano (NJ State Champ & college All-American) would always tell us, “never give yourself an excuse to lose.” You do not want anything holding you back when you compete.
If you choose to compete, If you choose to do anything, you must eliminate all excuses.
In Sport Psychology, they call this “Self-handicapping.” When we know failure is a possibility, we will tell ourselves and others excuses or reasons why we are not at our best- we’re hurt, tired, went out last night, haven’t practiced often enough, etc. etc. We try to justify to ourselves and others that if the conditions were different, we would succeed. In essence, we blame the potential loss, on circumstances, not ourselves. We do this so if we do lose, we feel better about ourselves and so others do not look down on us.
In the great movie Peaceful Warrior, we hear- courage is not about protection, or victory, or invulnerability, but absolute vulnerability- that’s the only true courage.
Superman cannot be considered brave. This is because he is invulnerable. You can be considered brave, because you are vulnerable. Let this sink in. Your humanity, your imperfections, your mistakes, your infallibility, is what makes you brave. Because unlike superman, you can look at the possibility of failure, and proceed anyway.
Here is the key. Do not celebrate your vulnerability to yourself or others. Just move toward your goals. If you give yourself an excuse to lose, to yourself or others, you will always have the excuse in the back of your mind, and when the going gets tough, you may use it as an excuse to not give your full effort.
You want to give your full effort at all times. Since after all, giving your full effort will maximize your chances of success. If you lose, you lose. If you make a mistake, you make a mistake. You are human, just like anyone else. Nothing you or anyone can do can make you or anyone else subhuman, or superhuman. Remember this. You do not need to make excuses for yourself. You will not always be at your best. Give a full effort anyway. Ditch your excuses, and move toward your goals, period.
Author of Ebook: Wrestling Mindset- "Go From Practice Wrestler to Gamer"
Think back to the moments leading up to a big competition or performance. Think about the atmosphere in the locker room. Think about how people moved around. Before a competition or performance you tend to see a lot of nervous energy.
People fidget and pace. They develop idiosyncratic quirks and twitches. They develop a tunnel vision and their mind becomes very literal. Think back. It was very difficult to joke around with someone about to take center stage. As the focus of the mind narrows, movement becomes stiff and mechanical. This is why you often see simple mistakes in the very beginning of a competition. The athlete is tense and tight.
In essence, the performer loses control of their energy OR they did not control their energy from the beginning. As the competition continues, the athlete often settles in and energy is regained (hence, the reason athletes often leave wishing they performed in the beginning as they did at the end). Has this ever happened to you?
I am sure this has happened to every athlete and performer at one time or another. Luckily, there is hope to regain control of you energy. The answer is Deep Breathing.
Deep breathing is a practice of taking deep breaths in the abdomen; in though your nose, out through your mouth. Many studies show the effectiveness of deep breathing in reducing anxiety in many different settings. The idea of deep breathing is not a new one. It has been learned and modified from Eastern cultures and meditation.
Once you regain control of your breath, you begin to regain control of your body. You feel in control of your own energy. You become centered. Your movement becomes more fluid and decisive.
As a college wrestler, I began deep breathing and have seen immediate results. The athletes that I work with have been taught deep breathing and they have seen immediate results. And if you learn how to deep breathe, I can guarantee that you will see immediate results.
How to do it:
Find a quiet place and begin taking deep breaths (in through your nose, out through your mouth) through your stomach. In the beginning, place a hand on your abdomen to make sure you feel only your stomach moving in and out. Think of nothing but breathing. At this point in time, there is nothing else in the world that exists but your breath.
How to do it even better:
Follow the above directions and add a cue or anchor to deep breathing. In other words, physically perform a certain behavior while you begin deep breathing. Ie. I would place my hands on my thighs throughout my deep breaths.
How to do this best: Follow the above directions and add a symbol of serenity associated with your cue or anchor. Ie. Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid (In the Karate Kid, Miyagi places his hands on his thighs before he meditates-> this was an image that my imagination could relate with). Find your symbols
Finally, you must pair your anchor and symbol to your cue regularly. You must practice deep breathing many times before a competition before an actual competition. Practice deep breathing at least twice a week. You will see results. You will relax and regain control of your energy.
1) Thinking that wrestling is life and death and not realizing that wrestling is just an opportunity to do something great.
2) Focusing on defending what your opponent does well instead of making your opponent react to what you do well.
3) Wrestling not to lose and trying to hold on to a lead
4) Worrying about the crowd, the ref, the coaches when all you need to be focused on is beating the guy standing in front of you.
5) Letting a bad call distract you
6) Heading into any match thinking its going to be easy
7) Make things to complicated in your mind - Follow the K.I.S.S method - Keep it Simple Stupid
8) Not taking advantage of people around you that can help - sports med, coaches, etc.
9) Letting negative thoughts enter your mind. Don't think about what can go wrong think about what can go right.
10) Thinking about what your opponent is ranked or what he has accomplished. It doesn't matter what is written on a piece of paper when you are out on a wrestling mat.
3x NCAA All American
2009 U.S Nationals Champion
2010 U.S. World Team Member
1. Getting involved in the hype. Reading the papers and/or forum. Leave this to the spectators, after the season you can read your articles.
2. Associating with negative people and small-time thinkers. These people will only slow you down. Keep your distance from them, especially during the season.
3. Making any particular match or tournament “special.” Every match and practice is important, but nothing is ever special. Special adds pressure. Treat everything the same. Consistency!
4. Believing ANY opponent you face is unbeatable. David and Goliath, Rulon Gardner over Karelin, Gable and Owings, The Movie “Miracle”, etc. etc.
5. Focusing on the past or future instead of the present moment. Only worry about the present and how you can do your best at this moment.
6. Under any circumstances using the word CAN’T. Don’t ever say that word!
7. Dwelling on a setback or loss. Learn the lesson, then move on, period. Just let it go and do it better next time.
8. Focusing exclusively on winning or titles. Compete with yourself.
9. Competing not to lose. A coward dies 1,000 deaths before he dies. Always play to win. If you’re already winning: play to dominate.
10. Using extreme self-talk, that puts extra pressure on you: MUST, SHOULD, or NEED TO. Use “I want” and “I choose to” instead.
11! Not taking advantage of a Mindset Expert and being totally mentally prepared to achieve your goals.
Perfection is the enemy of good. When you were young, the adults taught you how to detect and delete mistakes. This makes sense. I order to achieve at a high level, mistakes must be reduced. The key thing to remember is that mistakes are never eliminated.
We have all heard that practice makes perfect. Then as we got older, we heard, perfect practice makes perfect. But the truth is, perfection is non-existent, so the best we can shoot for is mastery. The analysis of error and intense practice of new behavior makes for mastery. But yeah, practice makes perfect sounds a lot easier for you to remember and say in front of your friends.
It is easy to agree with the statement, no one is perfect. We all have an understanding of our all too fallible human nature. But when we make a mistake, we tend to heap coals of fire on ourselves.
We forget that making mistakes is part of the learning process. People who are not making mistakes, are usually not making very much of anything. We should strive to eliminate mistakes, but we should not assume that we will stop making them.
It is usually the start that stops most people. People tend to procrastinate indefinitely until, “the time is right.” Successful people know that the time is never right, but time is always RIGHT NOW.
If you love to write, don’t begin once you have written the great American novel. Begin right now. Your odds of writing the great American novel go up exponentially once you finally start writing on a consistent basis.
Get it started, then get it just right. If you wait until all lights are green and until all mistakes, shortcomings, and obstacles are non-existent, you will miss the boat.
Get started today.
You are a human, you make mistakes. There is a simple but effective way to deal with ALL loses, errors, mistakes, etc:
extract the lesson, commit the lesson to memory, forgive yourself, and move forward with confidence.
It is important that you do not repeat your mistakes, so you should note your shortcomings and downfalls. It is counterproductive to live in denial and suppression is almost never long term efficient. Recognize your flaw first and commit it to memory.
But after you recognize your mistake and commit it to memory you must, must, must forgive yourself. Successful people forgive themselves. Unsuccessful people do not.
Now I must draw a distinction here. Many successful people send the seemingly contradictory message- "never accept failure" or something similar to that.
It is important to note that these people are probably referring to not denying reality as we spoke about above. They are also telling you never to quit and to always keep moving forward and striving to get better.
To be successful, you must put mistakes behind you so you can proceed forward toward your goals. You cannot preoccupy yourself with "the last time you tried." Many athletes and teams have made this mistake of letting another team or individual, "beat them again."
Don't let someone beat you twice. Don't let a mistake cause another mistake. Recover. Forgive yourself and move forward confidently.
Do not let a mistake or loss end your effort. Do not let it hurt your confidence. Easier said than done, sure. But this is what you need to learn how to do.
Remember, successful people make more mistakes than unsuccessful people. Successful people go for it a lot. Unsuccessful people hide behind fear, excuses and past war stories.
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