A small group of Navy SEALS is immeasurably outnumbered, surrounded, and taking heavy fire. Some of them have been hit and wounded. Bullets are zinging just over their heads from all directions...
To a regular citizen like me this seems like a grave situation with all the odds stacked against the good guys. But to the Navy SEAL warriors all that goes through their minds in tough circumstances is that "they are never out of the fight, and if they can still fight they can not only survivor but they can win."
In this example, self-talk (how you talk to yourself mentally) can literally determine life or death. Think your defeated and you are. Think you can win no matter the odds, and you have a chance.
Stephen Curry, widely regarded as the best basketball shooter on the planet, catches the ball 7 feet behind the 3 point line. The game is close, and a defender is guarding him tight.
For a split second he sees the defender relax ever so slightly. In that instant, Curry rises up, effortlessly flicks his wrist to shoot the ball, and makes what, to 99.9% of people on the planet, is a near impossible 3 point shot.
His ability to shoot and make almost any shot possible in basketball is the result of the confidence and ability earned through endless hours of practice (and sprinkle in a tad bit of God given talent).
A 20 year old college student stands in front of a class of his peers and professors about to give a speech. Most of the other students are nervous, fidgety, and bumble through their presentations just to get the assignment over with. But this student wasn't so nervous. He speaks clearly, confidently, and moves through the content smoothly. This student receives an A+ grade for his speech.
I know this student very well because this student was me in a Senior level college business class 10 years ago. The confidence with which I was able to speak came from staying up all night studying and preparing for several weeks leading up to the speech.
Like a football team going through training camp leading up the the first game of the season, the preparation was so difficult that the game, or presentation in this case, seemed easy and fun.
In other words, I knew I had put in the work to learn the material I was going to talk about, so I went into the speech with positive self-talk because I knew I was going to do well.
The purpose of telling you these stories is to illustrate two things:
1) Having a positive mental attitude in the face of a difficult challenge is earned through preparation.
2) Without positive self-talk we predispose ourselves for failure.
Think about what having a negative mental outlook on something does to your performance. If you talk to yourself negatively you are already preparing to fail before any action has occurred.
DON'T TALK YOURSELF OUT OF SUCCESS.
TALK YOURSELF INTO IT!
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