Updated: Feb 24, 2021
What would you say is the most important trait for an athlete to become successful in his/her sport or field of work? Height? speed? strength? agility? Albeit very relevant in predicting athletic success, the mental aspect as it pertains to your outlook, perspective, and level of positivity and optimism do more to determine your success than the former. your perspective and mental approach [both of which can be controlled and improved upon] to the inevitable challenges and oppositions of life can have a much greater impact on your performance and success than natural talent & ability.
As a former athlete at the collegiate level not only have i seen and heard this, but i am guilty of this also: "if i were 6'6 I would be ....."; when the reality is, you'll never know. Those attributes such as height, speed, hand & feet size, and freak athleticism are in my opinion, for the most part, predetermined. Why is this significant? we as people spend an inordinate amount of time and energy focusing on things we cannot control; the former is one in which we can't get back or replenish. People who regularly do this tend to have an external locus of control, a belief that most things that happen in people's lives are out of their control, even a significant portion of their own decisions. they may attribute their own actions as a result of bad luck, fate, or powerful societal influences. This gives birth to a continued lack of self accountability & understanding one's self to begin growth. self-reflection Is imperative to making the
shift from an external locus of control to a more internal locus of control.
"Everything negative- pressure- challenges- is all an opportunity for me to rise." An exemplary quote from the late, great kobe bryant is the epitome of what it means to have an internal locus of control with unwavering optimism. To put it in proper context, regardless of the widely publicized obstacles and difficult situations kobe bryant had to face throughout his early life and 20 year illustrious nba career. whether it was not getting the playing time he thought he would in his first days with the lakers, the period of time after shaq and coach phil jackson left the team, or the rehabbing of his achilles, it was his mindset and approach to those situations that propelled him to greatness. He understood that unfortunate things do happen to everyone, but because that is already known, how we choose to respond is much more important to the outcome. We as people for the most part can control three things in our life: our attitude, our actions, and our effort; it is my belief that mastery of those three things, with a touch of good luck is the recipe for greatness. so how do you make that transition?
Positive affirmations work, plain in simple. whether it's writing yourself positive messages and sticking them on the wall, or speaking them to yourself throughout the course of each day, training your brain to understand, commit to, and live by that positivity has a proven effect on your mood, energy, and drive. Failures are lessons, yes you made some mistakes, and yes you may have done something wrong, but now you know what you should have done and if you focus your attitude, actions, and effort into correcting the mistake, there's your improvement. stop talking negative about yourself, your brain starts to believe you. If you slacked off throughout the week and didn't hit your PR on certain exercises, don't degrade yourself. Go back to the drawing board, recap, analyze your performance subjectively and honestly with an open mind, make the adjustments, be positive about the next session, and persist until something happens.