Everyone has heard the phrase “Mind over matter”. That phrase emphasizes the power of the mind over negative personal circumstances. Well, given that every athlete will experience their fair share of negative circumstances, it is critical for athletes to be mentally tough in order to achieve the most possible in the athletic arena.
How? How can you overcome a season-ending injury? What if I miss the shot that caused my team to lose the championship? What If I embarrassed myself by tripping just before reaching the finish line during an important cross country race?
These circumstances suck! Frustration, anger and sadness are normal to experience. It sucks to train hard, put in the hours, dedicate a vast amount of energy and sacrifice much out of your personal life only to experience an unfortunate result. It’s sucks. It’s okay to experience these feelings. In fact, you should feel these feelings. Get them out… Get pissed off… Then get over it and get moving forward again. Get back to training… Get back to focusing on your goals.
Again, the question is how do I get over this event and move forward?
The first way is the “Car Mirror” method. On the mirror outside the passenger side of a car is a warning stating, “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear”. How does this apply to negative events in sports and life? The more you focus on these events… the more you replay these events in your mind, the bigger the impact they have on future events. Keep these negative images in the rear view mirror and focus on the road ahead. At some point, these events will be a blip in the distance.
Second, remind yourself of this phrase… “It’s mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” In the big scheme of life, do these short moments really matter?
You may counter with…
“BUT I got cut from my high school team.”
“BUT my parents will be mad.”
“BUT I lost the game for my team.”
“BUT I won’t get an athletic scholarship.”
“But I spent some much time rehabbing and I got hurt again.”
“BUT I won’t get crowned “Emperor Athlete of the Universe.”
Get that big, fat BUTT out of your way because IT DOESN'T MATTER!!!!!!!!!! You may be disappointed but you are not a disappointment. Your dog will still love you, you can still eat ice cream (unless you have a dairy allergy and, in that case, there are plenty of delicious soy alternatives), the sun will rise again, birds will chirp... YOUR LIFE is NOT over!
Lastly, plan for what is next. What do you want to chase tomorrow? What goal do you want to achieve? What step can I make today to move towards my next target?
Get off your big, old butt and drive forward... You might just find a better destination anyway.