Coach Bob

Confidence in competition

Throughout our lives we’ve competed many times.  Our competitions may be different based on what we’ve tried to accomplish, but an underlying element that determined how it all ended up was the amount of confidence we had at the start.  When we compete and are not sure of our ability, failure is almost assured at some point.  Looking back at my successful competitions, no matter the area of life that was involved, I’ve found two fundamental concepts at play:

  • A lot of proper practiced
  • Then competed as often as I had to until I had successful results

The one thing I learned was how important it was to be practicing the ‘right’ stuff.  When we’re trying to get to the next level we need to understand there are things we don’t understand yet, and it will take some time until those new things are understood clearly and can be implemented comfortable.  So, researching your subject to make sure you’re practicing the ‘new’ methods properly can save years of hard effort.   

All competition produces pressure and the only way I know of learning to handle the pressure is by competing, because until you compete and win, you’ll never have the confidence to get where you’re going.  And winning doesn’t mean ‘first place’.  It means we’ve set realistic goals and accomplished them.  And the most fundamental goal is making sure we learn regardless of where we finish; it’s the learning that makes us do better the next time.  As long as we walk away from a competition learning more about ourselves and our subject matter, we’ve won, and winning in this regard is a surefire way of building our confidence.    

Being our best under pressure

What are the fundamental aspects of a great performance? Seems to me there are two concepts that come together whenever we experience the best we’ve got. Doesn’t matter if it’s a test in school, interviewing for a job, or dealing successfully with relationships. The two main fundamentals as I see it are: 

  • Having the information up in our brain that’s needed to do the performance 
  • Being in control of our state of mind so our brain can let it all come out in the best way possible. 

With 100 billion neurons connecting 100 trillion passageways, if we have the information stored, it will come out the best way possible if we keep our anger and fear at bay.  For me, I try and center on having fun learning from the competition knowing once it’s over I’ll have the information I need to know what to practice next.  However, if I’m fearful, all I’m learning for the millionth time is my fear always gets in my way.  How many more times to I need to learn that??  When you remind your brain by having fun and refusing to judge your performance you walk away with exactly what you need to know to improve.  Notice, it keeps getting back to what we’ve been practicing all along; making our wonderful energy primary, not the outcomes.  Making our energy primary will produce the quickest way to where we want to go.  The pressure that holds us back is our fear of not producing.  We’ll never climb over our fear until we forget about the outcome and have fun learning to be happy and successful.  

When random events shatter our life—dealing with big setbacks

What are the lessons to learn from our big losses or setbacks? When we’re informed of some really bad news what’s the way to get back into control so we can handle the damage?  It’s hard to concentrate on these important questions when we’re at ground zero.  What doesn’t change is the fact the sooner we can compose ourselves, the better off we are.  We’ve all heard these statements: “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and “this to will past”.  These well-worn statements/concepts have gotten a lot of us through the ‘hard times’. Once we get through the toughest part; ground zero, it’s time to take some quiet time to settle down and think through what happened. ‘Knee-jerk’ reactions to bad random events usually make matters worse.  Remember, acting out our natural feelings of anger or fear when ‘bad news’ finds us is a recipe for more trouble.  We need to be extra careful when life hits us hard.  Big losses or setbacks inflict pain, that’s true. But the event will pass and the quicker we get in control the less damage we’ll experience.

The benefit of understanding our Mix

Where do the thoughts and the emotions we have come from? They seem so natural because we’ve been allowing our thoughts and emotions to determine our actions our entire lifetime.  Until we took this program, most of us never consider the process that makes us do what we do. The reason we didn’t is our thoughts, emotions and the actions they produce come from our best ‘guess’ based on what we’ve been exposed to in our past. Tough not to follow the best we’ve got! But what happens when we want to do something new, something different? What do we do if we want to change from following our current thoughts and emotions? Pretty tough to talk down what we know based on our past. That’s why change is hard; we must go against our current wisdom to some extent. The courage it takes to go against our current wisdom comes from new knowledge that produces more successful experiences, rather than following our current wisdom. Change happens by being courageous!!

The importance of self-confidence and self-compassion

How we feel about ourselves is a big deal. All the disciplines dealing with mental health have as their goal in one way or another having people feel good about themselves. This ranges from self-confidence on one end to self-compassion on the other. We all have experienced what it feels like to feel on top of the world and at the bottom. Our opinions of ourselves are formed when our genetics and our memories mix with the situation we’re in. For example, if the situation is something we’re comfortable with, we feel fairly good about ourselves. On the other hand, when we’re afraid we have doubts about our ability to deliver what we want. And, as failures build up over our lives, the less confidence and compassion we have for ourselves.  One of the biggest benefits we get from managing our energy is the success and pride we feel within because of our efforts.  Managing our energy is a sure-fire way to build the self-confidence and self-compassion that makes us become happier and more successful! Keep up the effort!

A thought on mental illness

All alone. Not a good place to be when you’re depressed.  But a place we seem to find when we are depressed.  All of us suffer to some degree of depression and some of us are the lucky ones who don’t visit that city too often or too intensely. Suicides now out-number deaths by breast cancer and driving fatalities.  A prominent University is hanging nets under bridges that students are using to commit suicide.  I’d guess most of the mass shootings have separation and/or depression somewhere in the shadows.  It’s becoming clearer that mental health is becoming a major problem for our society. Hopefully, we’ll spend the resources to educate and reach out to those of us that perceive our lives as meaningless, instead of turning away in disgust when we see others acting like they’re crazy. I try and remember how lucky I am that I don’t have their genetics or past memories, because if I did, I’d be in the same place they are. Compassion and support seem to be in short supply for the mentally challenged.  Unfortunately, what we need the most in times of depression is what we withdraw from; social interaction.  When possible, when someone we know is feeling down, spending time with them might be a wonderful thing for both of us.  

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