While my physical state has been a mess, I’ve tried to focus more on my mental game. In sports and in life, I believe in having the right attitude. What you get out of life depends highly on how you see yourself and the world around you, and how you interpret events that happen. I’m no way an expert in living a perfect life – during this year’s time as I’ve written this blog, I’ve stumbled and fallen countless times. But I’ve always believed I will – and always have – made it through the hardships.
I’ve been a fighter all my life. I’m just not mentally built to give up. Ever. But I also know I can learn to better my mindset even more. That is why I go to a cognitive therapist. I read psychology books. And just recently I’ve met with a mental coach who I have now begun to see regularly. I will write a longer post about that later. So far after three appointments it’s been beyond great and I know I’ll benefit immensely from that cooperation both as an aspiring athlete and otherwise personally :).
I’m no sports or any other psychologist, but I want to share what I think are some qualities that have helped me in my life and in sports. What makes someone a winner?
- Winners have a positive outlook. You have to focus on opportunities instead of possibilities of failure. If you think negative thoughts you will succumb to fear and procrastination and often they will become self actualizing prophecies. Knowing yourself and your abilities and giving yourself the credit you deserve doesn’t mean you are cocky or overconfident. Believing in yourself is necessary for success. If you don’t have faith in yourself, how can you ever win when you are your greatest enemy? That doesn’t mean you turn blind eye to things you need to develop to get even better. But don’t think about those qualities as a weaknesses or they are bound to become just that. Think that they are things you have possibilities of greatest improvement!
- Winners takes responsibility for their actions. Don’t play the blame game or succumb to self pity and whining. Okay, you’ve had a rough time lately. I sure as hell have. There are things that I’ve had no control over such as my mother’s and Franz’s illnesses, troubles in personal life, health problems and constant worrying about money. What I’ve had control over, instead, have been what I do with my free time and how I prioritize things in my life. I could have done better in some aspects but overall I’ve given myself as much time as I could to train and rest. In the future I plan step up my game even further by putting sports into a greater priority than before. That means I have make some decisions about work and other commitments to make more productive training possible.
- A winner never gives up. If you never quit trying, there are no failures, only setbacks. The road to success can be long and windy, full of bumps and detours. Sometimes you may even get pushed back or sideways by heavy wind or have to stay put and rest for a while before continuing your journey. But as long as you continue taking that one step at a time forward you will never lose. For me, giving up is as unimaginable concept as if you’d try to tell me black is white. It’s incomprehensible. If life knocks you down, get back up (and kick it in the nuts! 🙂 ).
- Winners don’t take the easy way. You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you shy away from necessary practice that seems like too much work or too intimidating, you’re not going to get as far and high as you could’ve. I don’t always look forward to going to the gym. Hard squat sessions twist my guts and make my heart pound in fright beforehand. I still go and get the work done, one set at a time.
- Winners know they have power over their mind and can change their perception of things to their advantage. Your thoughts are just that – thoughts. Words. You can change your inner talk to be more positive. I feel I’m completely out of my depth regarding weightlifting. Especially snatch is a really difficult lift for me, even frightening. I feel extremely self-conscious when snatching. I fear I look silly and everyone will laugh at my technique. I fear failing my lifts. I could let this become a problem for me and start to avoid the snatch because I’m afraid. That would lead into a deleterious circle where I avoid practicing the lift, not progressing with it, getting more and more afraid, annoyed and miserable, feeling like a failure. Instead, I’m always trying to think how much I love lifting and that every time I get under the bar I’m getting better. I look forward to practice. I remind myself that only by trying – and failing, if need be – I’m gaining more experience.
Here are two books I’ve read the latest and can recommend if you want to in read and learn more. Especially interesting is the first one which is already a bit of an oldie but extremely good. The mental coach I go to also uses hypnosis which is covered in the book – very fascinating, and it works ❤ !
What do you think are the mental qualities of a winner?
Wishing you all a happy and victorious weekend,