No matter how long you have been participating, you will always find new things to learn in your sport. Dr. Goldberg explains why a “beginner’s mind” is an important tool on the road to becoming a champion, and during your return to competition.
The really wonderful thing about sports is that it continually provides an arena for seemingly ordinary athletes to do the “impossible” on a regular basis. Roger Bannister breaks the 4:00 minute barrier in 1954 shattering a medically supported belief that the human body couldn’t withstand running that fast. Dick Fosbury, ridiculed by the experts, high jumps his way into Olympic history in 1968 with his unorthodox world record setting and gold medal winning “Fosbury Flop.” Rocky Bleier, picked by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 68 NFL draft, takes a detour through Vietnam and returns 40% disabled after a grenade blew off the bottom of his right foot. Not only does he make the team, but he becomes a key player in the Steeler’s rise to dominance in the 70’s. Wilma Rudolph overcomes childhood polio and paralysis to become one of the greatest female athletes of her time. Track star Gail Devers miraculously comes back from a debilitating disease that not only nearly ends her career, but also her life to win Olympic gold.
What do all these athletes have in common that allows them to overcome tremendous obstacles, defy the experts and do the impossible? What can they teach you about freeing up that super-performer inside of you? Each of these individuals has an uncompromising belief in themselves and their ability to reach their dream. Even though they are surrounded by “knowledgeable experts” and “naysayers”, they refuse to take in this negativity and be knocked off track.
Through all the rejections, failures and setbacks, these individuals never stop believing in themselves. Perhaps these athletes somehow understood this fact:
YOU ARE ALWAYS LIMITED MOST BY WHAT YOU BELIEVE IS POSSIBLE.
What you believe will always dictate your actions. That’s why they say, life is a self-fulfilling prophesy – you always get what you expect. If you believe that you can’t do something, then your efforts will be half-hearted. Your inner doubts will prevent you from going all out. They will undercut your ability to persist when you fail. They will erode your determination. Negative beliefs will ultimately lead you to failure.
However, positive beliefs will do the opposite. They will encourage you to go all out. They will feed your persistence and determination. They will inspire you to get back up each and every time that you get knocked down. They will ultimately lead you to success. If you tend to be a negative believer is it really possible to turn those nasty beliefs around? Absolutely…as long as you’re willing to be patient and persistent in your attempts. Negative beliefs do not simply change overnight. You have to work at them.
How? Start by gradually getting rid of all the negativity that you tend to feed yourself. For example, eliminate the “can’ts”, “nevers” and “impossibles” from your head. Rip them out of the dictionary in your mind. These limiting words do not exist in successful athletes.
Furthermore, surround yourself with coaches, friends and teammates who support you and your beliefs. Don’t hang out with people who poke fun at or ridicule your beliefs and dreams. Spend quiet time every day focusing on your goal or dream. Imagine it in vivid detail. “Experience” yourself reaching this goal.
This kind of goal imagery feeds your positive beliefs. Finally, do the “impossible” every day. Move towards and challenge your limiting beliefs. Get in the habit of ignoring that little voice in your head that says “you can’t.” In small ways push yourself every day to do just a little more than you think you can. Remember: If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re absolutely right!
You hold both the lock and key to your success.
It’s the belief you have in yourself