The Most Important Conversation An Athlete Can Have!
I know the ideas are racing through your head right now. Which conversation is the most important? Is it the one with your coach when you tell them you are signing to their school? Or is it the one with your parents when you tell them what sport you want to focus on? Is it one with your therapist that helps you stay healthy? None of those answers are correct, good try though. The most important conversation does not need other people because it is the one you have with yourself. If you don’t get this conversation right, you will never reach your full potential. That is a scary thought, so you know this is important. You have to have the right conversation with yourself.
Watch What You Say and Think
Most of my life, I was pretty good at math. When I got to the 11th grade though, I struggled a bit more than usual, and it hurt my confidence a lot.
My mindset went from:
– Math is easy – I can do this
– I can always figure out math problems if I put in the time and work It
– Math is hard
– I don’t know if I can do this
– Should I cheat
– I can never figure this stuff out
You don’t need to be a genius to see the differences here. I struggled with math from that point until recently. My self-talk and language just got worse and worse.
I would often say:
– I am not good at numbers
– I’m weak at math
– I hate math
These exact words may be pretty familiar to you as well. Or maybe you speak like this to yourself after a tough game? Well, this must change, and I will explain why.
It is not about being overly optimistic
A lot of people think of self-talk and having the right mindset as being overly optimistic. I think over-optimism is just as bad as being negative so let’s clear that out of the way.
You can be real with yourself without being negative. For example. If the material in that math class was hard for me I don’t need to tell myself I am going to get an A in the class when on the first test when I got a C.
What I need to say is that the class is going to be a challenge and I need to work a bit harder to raise my grades to where I want them. That is being real with what it takes. Anyone can just say they will get a scholarship, make a million dollars or go pro but it takes a deeper understanding to be realistic in understanding what it will require getting there.
One of the reasons I would tell people that I sucked at numbers or that I hated math was to prevent myself from looking as stupid.
I felt that if I did not tell them and I did badly they would think I was stupid but if I told them before then we would both expect it, and it would not be as bad.
You see how much of a cop-out that is? I am not taking responsibility for what I can do on the day; I am just throwing in the towel early for no reason.
Step Up to the Challenges
Instead of giving yourself a reason to fail before you try, take a mindset that you will challenge any challenge.
You read that correct, go and challenge the challenge. Look at challenges as if they are crazy for even having the nerve to challenge. Force the challenge to back down so you can be successful.
How My Math Story Ended
After years of forcing myself to struggle in math, I finally had a revelation. I was playing one of my favorite brain training apps called Elevate.
It tests you on five categories
I have published a lot of blog posts and my book. I read for a few hours every day so I figured that reading or writing would be my best.
Knowing that math would be my worst. I went through the initial testing to see where I was at in each category and lone behold I was the strongest in math.
I figured maybe it was a mistake, but as I went on this app 76 days streak ( I was pissed when I forgot and broke this streak) and worked on my math and after a while, I noticed some cool things.
You Can Struggle at Things You’re Good At
The problem with talents is that they often come naturally to you from a young age. Your skills allow you to stand out and get noticed. They came to you easy, you expect it always to be easy.
Math taught me that whether it was running fast, or doing the math; we will struggle with our talents at some point.
Just because we struggle, does not mean we suck. It just means we are going through a rough patch that will help us grow.
We Can Learn to Be Better
The question is, do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset? A fixed mindset says that you know what you know and you are where you are, and it is not much you can do about that.
A growth mindset believes that improvement is always possible. You can always do anything better no matter the circumstances; you just need to put in the work and the time. Be honest with yourself, which do you have?
Talented people can often get caught believing that you are born with what you are born with, and you can never grow or change.
The problem with this is that it is simply not true. Sports may seem to come easier to some, but people often forget how much time and energy they put into their craft. You more than likely enjoy your spot, so it does not feel like work, but over the years you have put the time in.
The Story In Our Head Produces The Result
Here is the main takeaway: You have a story that you tell yourself in your head, and it helps to produce a result. If you focus on the challenge and overcoming it, you will. If you concentrate on the negatives, you will never get the result you wanted.
wasting about seven years of my life struggling with math and anything number related, and it hurt me.
I did not learn many things that I should know how or be a lot better. I was not paying attention to the most important conversation I needed to have. Are you going to start paying attention to it?