What is the point of…?
Mental skills etc.
Most people would think, for example, “To get better at ______ (fill in the blank)” or “Improve ______ (fill in the blank)” or “To get _______(fill in the blank)” or address whatever it is they told you they want to address. You’d probably be right.
However, on my side of things I believe the real answer is so that they (the skills or concepts) become apart of you. I have witnessed many athletes that start using one or two skills and get great results, which is a good thing. Certainly I view that proficiency in some new skills is better than none. But once the mental block is removed or something improves they stop practicing skills, they have ceased to seek new skills or apply the ones they do have in new ways, and have therefore stunted their mastery of them. I want to say, this is merely an observation, not a judgment. Because I know that people have to BE ready when it comes to change, otherwise their “buy-in” only so goes so far and it is usually for some externally validating reason. Plus, I’m not going anywhere, so athletes know where to find me and know that they can contact me whenever they need something.
Then there are those people and athletes that drink it up like water. They are seeking, thirsty, and hungry to gain mastery. I am one of those people and I can honestly say it has been over my lifetime that I have gotten to the point of really making these ways of thinking, seeing, believing, choosing, and being apart of me. Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “When you change the way you see things, the things you see change.” How does one “change the way they see things?” Well it can start with these skills if they become apart of you. I state this with conviction because I have been there. I certainly would not recommend an approach that I did not believe it or see results from, either in my clinical life, personal, and/or sport life.
Honestly, life has presented me with many situations asking, “Are you going to face this head on? Or are you going to go back to the same old low-down-busted-and-disgusted patterns that result in negative thinking, poor decisions, lack of self-worth, and temporary fixes?” I have made it a habit to choose the former no matter how painful it initially was, and it has paid off. It has paid off in my internal world, to develop the ability to be acutely aware of my inner world for “what is within so without, as above so below.” When we gain mastery of our internal world amazing changes happen, not just in sport but in life too. We are more intentional, purposeful, meaningful, and powerful!
Currently, I am reading the book “Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off The Court. Coach John Wooden” I just started it but, I would highly recommend it to anyone! There are some profound sections but one I will highlight is “Make Each Day Your Masterpiece.” He states:
”Too often we get distracted by what is outside our control. You can’t do anything about yesterday. The door to the past has been shut and the key is thrown away. You can do nothing about tomorrow. It is yet to come. However, tomorrow is in large part determined by what you do today. So make today a masterpiece. You have control over that.”
He continues to tell his UCLA basketball players that it means giving all you have at the present moment to improve what is within one’s control in the current moment.
We athletes (no matter what level you are) are gifted with the power to inspire through our physical bodies and performance. Many times we do not say a word. It is our action/performance that speaks to others. Are you showing the world your best self through shining from the inside out? In doing so your presence inspires, heals, empowers, and shine on all those whom come across your path in life and in sport.
So what is the point? The point is to strive towards being your best self in the current moment, to control what is within your control. The mental skills, tools, and strategies help open the internal doors of what, when, and how to control. In sport we continuously strive to improve to get the best performance out of ourselves, why not give ourselves the opportunity to mentally and emotionally improve our performance each day and each moment…for what can be applied to sport, can be applied life.