A young athlete raised his hand and answered, “I want to be the best!”
The coach quickly responded, “Let ‘BEST’ be in the hands of history and let ‘BETTER’ be in the hands…of YOU.”
The young athlete erased his smile then dropped his head.
Why did he drop his head?
I know you’re already figuring it out and If you let me, I want to add a bit more nuance to your understanding while answering the question.
In The Core FOUR Sequence, all of the elements are interrelated. Today we’ll see how important thoughts are to your energy (i.e. emotions). I’ll start with sharing a common illustration in the field of performance psychology.
In the wild, when a zebra spots a lion, their ‘fight or flight response'(FOFR) is activated so when the lion gives chase the zebra has enough energy to run away. If the zebra gets away, their FOFR turns off. While the zebra’s FOFR is activated by actual physical threat to survival, humans’ FOFR is activated not only by actual threats on survival but by thoughts. This means that you can be sitting down in your living room and a thought runs through your mind and your nervous system can be as activated as if you were running for your life.
Our thoughts and emotions are inextricably linked. This is what is called our mind-body connection. And it’s not just a one way interaction; just like thoughts impact our emotions, our emotions impact our thoughts. Because of this understanding, developing the ability to choose precisely what to think and shift the emotions you produce is one of the major steps in personal development that aids us in not being tossed around by the environment or circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Now let’s go back to the scenario we started. Why did he drop his head? Because he thought I said he couldn’t be HIS best. And as his thoughts goes, so does his energy.
Being “the best” is not a great goal for a young athlete because it’s not sustainable…they will lose some games and not be great in others. “Better” is a more consistent goal and is great thought to hold in mind since it automatically triggers a determined emotion. “Better” is in the control of the person “the Best” isn’t. You can find this same idea throughout the work of Carol Dweck Ph.D. as she explains the growth mindset.
Don’t leave here with just an understanding that thoughts and emotions are connected. Leave this post with the understanding that you should pursue understanding yourself in terms of knowing how you think and what you think and what emotions you produce because of it. You have to become more self-aware if you want to have a better grasp of the performances you’ll be putting out.
Over here at JOC, to help with categorizing your thoughts, we say that there are 4 perceptions of thought. Let’s end this post with listing them.
- What you think about you
- What you think about others
- What you think about the situation/circumstance
- What you think other think about you
All the thoughts you can have fits into one of those four. Use it to guide your reflection into what your most prominent thoughts are and which perception is most active for you. Reflect for the purposes of pushing forward. Be goal-oriented. If you don’t have a positive vision for your life or something you want to do well, don’t do the exercise. Push Forward!
© 2018, Ira Webbe Jr all rights reserved