Daily Quote and Reflection: What the Olympic Games teach us about choking and performing.

Daily Quote: As philosopher Kant said: “In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail.”

Reflection: Like many of you I have been watching the Olympic games. While watching I have being observing and listening to the athletes comments before and after performances. Most of the athlete’s before the event talk about being proud to represent their country and that they would like to win a Gold Medal” .  Of course “playing to win” a Gold Medal can be an excellent goal and  motivator for “doing your best” but it is also can be a distraction during a performance event because you start to focus on outcomes rather than just playing. Let’s take Roger Federer, of Switzerland  in his run-up to playing for the GOLD MEDAL medal against Andy Murray of GBR. Most interviewers kept asking Roger about never winning a gold in singles play or how important was it to be victorious in the games? The outcome of winning must of gotten to Roger because he lost in three sets to Andy Murray. Murray was relaxed and focused on just about every point and ended the match with three aces. On the other hand, Roger looked tight and tense throughout the match. He was asked after the match what happened? He said,  ” Andy was just the better player today and the disappointment of not winning was huge for him and his country.”   From that statement could we speculate that the pressure of winning and meeting other people’s expectations over took his mental thoughts rather than just playing and having fun.

Action Challenge: There is a cardinal rule in Mental Toughness training for performers  to NEVER focus on the outcome of your performance while you’re in the middle of it. By “outcome”, I mean whether you’re winning or losing when playing … So the next time you have to make an important presentation, a critical pitch to a client or impress someone at a job interview—just be yourself, focus on the here and now and be sure to have fun doing the activity. Because if you try to hard you will become anxious and probably will perform poorly. Remember, the bigger the event, the more you will be tempted to focus on outcome and lose your ability to perform at the Self 3 level. Luck and keep us informed how your next important event turns out.

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