In times of adversity—like when walking upon a saber-toothed tiger—our mind immediately goes to a place of protection. This mind of ours automatically reacts! The reaction, often occurring as an involuntary (we don’t need to tell our bodies to do it) defensive mechanism has been a blessing to the human race. When confronted with saber-toothed tigers back in the day, this defense mechanism would allow us to respond appropriately—either that of fight, flight, or freeze. These adversities were that of life-or-death and we needed to automatically respond.
Today, though, this may seem like a ridiculous example—a saber-toothed tiger!? It’s not so far off though. Our mind has not adapted. When facing adversity in today’s world—even when it is not life or death—like during competition, or when we are about to take an exam, or approaching that crush to go on a date, or interviewing for a job—the defense-mechanized mind automatically, subconsciously reacts. Our minds bring about the stress response simply because of the way we “perceive” these situations. This reaction is often rooted in fear, doubt, frustration, or other limiting reactions resulting in a fight, flight, or freeze reaction. The good news is that “perception” is within our control. We can train a completely different response to the threatening situation.
Although this type of reaction is great for surviving, it is not great for thriving. The response to perceived “threatening” (like job-interviewing) circumstances creates the same reaction in our mind as if they actually do threaten our lives. Although this defensive reaction is common it doesn't mean that it can't be changed. Actually it can. We have the ability to train our mind to react and respond in a different way. This is where the belief statement comes in.
A belief statement is a phrase or thought that you believe to be true about your capabilities. This is not a pollyanna perspective. This is an authentic belief in your abilities, skills, and self. Essentially, you create what is called an effective thought pattern. We utilize effective thought patterns during challenging times or adversity—as a reminder of our skills and capabilities. An effective thought pattern is purposefully put in place for the times when the idea of your "Self" is challenged. The most productive use of an effective thought pattern is to attach the statement to adversity. This way when something difficult happens the engrained mental habit is an unshakeable self-belief. Essentially, we condition ourselves to not just survive, but to thrive!
One example is a football punt returner ready to catch a high-lofted football. As you can imagine, he has several distractions when lined up to receive the kicked ball (e.g., the crowd, opponents determined to punish the punt returner, inclement weather, etc.). All of these distractions are competing for his attention. And all of these distractions create an input in his mind—internal chatter and potential doubt—that limit his ability to catch the ball and make some moves en route to the end zone. With practice, this mental chatter and doubt is replaced with his belief statement—“No one can touch me, I am incredibly skilled and can dominate this punt return." The more he authentically believes this to be true, the more successful he will be at staying focused and in the moment during the punt as well as reacting and responding to the play on the field.
Take a moment to develop an authentic thought pattern for a challenging circumstance in your own life. Write it down. And share it with us—post a comment on facebook or comment on tilt’s blog page…
What does it mean to have discipline? What kind of personal disposition is necessary to keep at it even when it's grueling, brutal, difficult, and the like? A learning disposition. The term discipline originates from disciple - someone who is in a position to learn. To have discipline means that even in the toughest situations--when the competition is at its fiercest or the training regimen seems nearly impossible--we keep at it. We don't keep at it though just to complete it - to be finished with it and put it behind us. We keep at it because regardless of the result, there is something to learn from the experience.
So what exactly is a learning disposition and how do you cultivate it? A learning disposition is a personal characteristic that describes one's internal inclination to purposefully engage in experiences that expand their knowledge base and deepen their understanding of themselves and the world with which they engage. In other words, people with learning dispositions intentionally decide to try new things. Furthermore, these individuals they keep at it when the going gets tough because of the wealth of knowledge that resides in the experience. At the core, they come to know themselves in a deeper way. Knowing thyself in this way creates better and more resilient athletes as well as better and more resilient leaders.
We envision a world