“I went through the ‘Don’t do this’ syndrome at certain times in my career when facing certain batters. I told myself not to hang a curve ball. Sure enough, I did. Now I focus on ‘Do this.’ It’s a significant difference.” – Tom Glavine, former Atlanta Braves pitcher
What you think affects how you feel, and how you feel affects how you perform. Even if you’re telling yourself not to do something, you’re letting it take up room in your mind and affect your mental preparation, which can have the opposite effect. Listen to the positive coach, not the negative critic. If you’re always telling yourself to avoid doing something or saying “I’m never going to get this”, it’s impossible to stop thinking about it. Instead, focus on the positive coach. Instead of telling yourself that you have to abstain from ‘bad foods’, convincing yourself that you have low willpower, and being ashamed of your body, you’re more likely to be successful if you find healthy foods that you enjoy, allow yourself treats every once in awhile, and know that although your body may not be ‘perfect’, you are doing your best to treat it well so that it can continue to let it run, play, and work. It’s the same for anything in life – the mind works most effectively when you’re telling it what to do rather than what not to do.
Golfer Arnold Palmer kept this poem in his locker to remind himself of the power of the mind:
If you think you are beaten, you are
If you think that you dare not, you don’t
If you’d like to win, but you think you can’t,
It’s almost certain you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost
For out in the world you’ll find
Success begins with a fellow’s will.
It’s all in the state of mind.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.
Game Plan: Be the positive coach rather than the negative critic. When you hear that negative critic start talking, think about what you want to do or believe instead. I can handle this. I stay positively focused when faced with adversity, obstacles, and distractions. I move with speed and confidence. Either you control your attitude, or it controls you.
Quote source: Mind Gym, Gary Mack
The mind works most effectively when you’re telling it what to do rather than what not to do.