When Rodger Federer was an up-and-coming tennis player he had an issue. He was ruminating about mistakes he made, shots he’d missed and points lost. This made him angry.
This is not only futile but dangerous as the player loses focus.
Thinking about past mistakes creates more mistakes.
Andy Murray the former # 1 Tennis player in the world had issues with his temper. This resulted in him losing composure and dropping points, which lost him games.
Victoria Pendleton is one of Britain’s most successful Olympians of all time. But it wasn’t always the way. Victoria suffered badly with sabotaging self-talk. The pressure to perform led her to self-harm in an attempt to cope with the pressure and expectation.
Victoria had the talent but was racked with self-doubt. She thought she wasn’t good enough. She felt like an imposter and came 9th in the 2004 Olympics.
Dr. Steve Peters taught Victoria how to control her self-talk. She won 2 gold medals and broke world records at the next Olympics.
Same athlete, same training, different mindset
Negative Self-Talk Loops
We all experience them. When we are feeling fear and anxiety our inner monologues are destructive.
“ You can’t do that!’ “Who do you think you are?”
“ You’re not good enough” “You’re going to fail!”
These are all examples of a negative thought loop. Our thoughts create our feelings and our feelings create our behavior/ actions.
In cognitive behavior therapy, they call this the cognitive triangle.
There’s a simple hack to stop this.
The Thought Stopping Hack
Recognise you’re in a negative thought loop.
Shout “stop!” In your head. Imagine a hand coming out.
Have a pre-arranged performance statement that you repeat to yourself. Your performance statement is the opposite of your negative thoughts.
1. Roger Federer was obsessing over past mistakes. His performance statement was “stay present” this stopped him from thinking about the past.
2. Andy Murray was losing his temper and losing composure. His performance statement was deep breathing and “keep calm”
3. Victoria Pendleton lacked self-belief. Her performance statement was “I am good enough!”
The thoughts in your head are not you. They are your ego.
Your ego is trying to protect you by keeping you in your comfort zone.
Questions your negative thoughts. Is that really true? At best your negative self-talk is a gross exaggeration of the truth.
Control your self-talk and you will control your confidence.
Novak Djokovic’s strategy
“Self-talk is actually a type of self-hypnosis. By repeating positive self-statements over and over again, Novak hypnotized himself into a pure level of confidence. He created a mental tape that played only a positive energy song.
Novak Djokovic shows us that even the greatest people in their profession need a positive mental boost time and time again to perform at their best.
Unfortunately, many people do the opposite: They fall flat from the negative tape playing in their heads. Instead of developing a habit of affirming statements, many people have created a tape full of self-doubt and fear of failure.”
Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a professor of human performance at Austin Peay State University.
A bit about me
I help maverick artists and creatives hack into their true creative genius, crush the creative blocks that hold them back, and create their best work.
Every creative rebel’s worst enemy?
Creative mediocrity: Being bland. Staying in our lane. Creating in our comfort zone and following the crowds.
The Goal? To create authentic work that matters. Take creative risks, avoid creative burnout, and making a racket in saturated markets.
I’m a former multi-platinum artist manager who got burnt out and became a creative blogger, coach, and consultant.
I’ve challenged myself to write 50 articles in 50 working days. 10 down, 40 to go.