A Positive Mindset

By Jacqueline Kelly

Why is Mindset important?

A positive mindset is essential for improved performance, whether you are aiming for weight loss, increased productivity or better athletic performance.  It is also essential for turning the challenges of your life into opportunities.  And we all have challenges—some of us more than others.  Goal setting, visualization, mental imagery, positive self-talk, and hypnosis are several key components for developing a positive mind-set, they are effective tools to help you redirect your thought processes, from negative to positive. It can also be useful for reversing your experience of an event, competition or outcome.  Consider how a “comeback” differs from a “setback”, or ways in which you can process a performance and really focus on it (without judgement). Consider taking negative and turning it into a positive or motivation to shift the way you do things to achieve a better outcome.  This also sets you up for a “Growth Mindset” not just a positive one.

Each time you try to prepare for your competition, try to visualize the perfect outcome for yourself.  If you can visualize it, if you can direct your positive thinking toward accomplishing it.  It may not come right away, but, it will come.  I have run across this quote a few times in my life and every time it offers me inspiration.: “Think you will fail or think you will succeed; one thing is for sure one of them will be true.” If you think you will succeed, you will make the choices in life that lead you on the path to success.  Success will be your truth.

Positive self-talk is language inside your head that enhances self-worth and performance. This is very important to be aware of because the opposite is equally true, can be harmful to our performance, leading us away from our goals.   If you just stop for a second and listen to what you are saying to yourself, most of the time it is more negative than positive. The negative thoughts are different for everyone but many of us can relate to that familiar voice that tells us that we are not good enough, not cute enough, not athletic or popular enough. As we get older those negative thoughts can turn into not caring and not doing. 

Another trap we are prone to, is when we consistently tell ourselves that we need more (money, a better house or a nicer car, not necessarily stuff but things we covet.  This type of thinking tends to reinforce the belief that we really aren’t as good as we probably are.  What’s even worse is when we are  comparing ourselves to others.  At a minimum, this kind of thinking can be distracting to the task at hand, and disrupt the automatic performance of a task or skill.  At its worse, negative thinking can be downright destructive and over time, we may hardly even notice that almost all of our thoughts are getting us exactly what we don’t want. If you stop here and think about someone you know, someone you went to school with or someone you work with that always seems to point out the negative, this is what I am talking about.  Instead of the glass half full its always half empty.  If you took the time to point this out to them they most likely would argue with that it wasn’t true or that it did not matter. 

 When I played soccer one summer there was a woman on the team that seemed to never have things go her way but for most of us on the team, it was easy to see why.  As soon as she would get to practice all she would talk about the crazy driver on the way over, or the terrible job everyone did at work that made her life so much harder.  It went on and on, at practice and at the games everything was unfair and the officials were always playing favorites, of course on the other team.  I don’t know what ever happened to that self-sabotaging woman but while I knew her life was not as she hoped, the rest of us had a choice – we could work hard to stay in the right mindset – or give in to the impulse of matching her negativity when we were around her.  The energy that we spend on anything that is worthwhile needs to be positive energy, energy that moves us in a direction of positive change and increased happiness.  

Two quotes I will leave you with:

John Wooden – the 10 time NCAA Championship Basketball Coach at UCLA –“First we form Habits – and then They form US”.  Our minds are like muscles, we must strengthen them.”

Henry Ford – “Whether you Think your Can, or Think you Can’t – You’e Right”

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