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  1. Well said, Chloe,

    I agree that we do have a tendency to focus on the negatives and there is use for that for sure. In order to grow and to improve, we have to identify area of weakness or the problem area, and find a way to overcome it. During a task though, it takes a conscious effort to NOT to focus on the problem or the hazard.

    If I were to give an advise on how to live or how to walk on a narrow path without falling off, it would be simply this… Look where you want to go. It is our nature to look at where the danger is and where you might fall into. But I know from experience, when I fly down a 6 inch wide and twisty mountain bike single track trail with prickly thistle lined on both side and a deep drop off on one side, I had to force myself to focus on the path and not the danger. If you look away from the path, you will fall into it. The body goes where the eyes look. It took a conscious effort to do that.

    There are books written about that in all different ways, like the The Secret, the Power of positive thinking. But really, for me it is very concrete and not vague at all. Keith Code wrote about motorcycle riding the same way. You need Direction such as “Brake at this point” not negatives like Do Not go too fast there. So giving instruction like Do Not Swing at the ball is not as productive as Capture the ball.

    Oh yes, this also connect to your serenity prayer. Change the things you can. So you need the wisdom to identify what you can change or find the new “program” and the mental strength to make the change or to execute the new program.

    Of course, we all wish that when we are in a match, we can play at or near the level of our ability and we can flow through the points without taxing our mental ability and making the shots we want to make. And then if things does not go well, we can make the necessary adjustment to overcome our deficit. Or else, we simply play our heart out. One point at a time and do not let a single ball go past you. And be glad that you gave all you had.

    Cheers,

    • Nice to hear from you again, Richard! I love how you said this: “Look where you want to go.” I can’t remember where, but I remember reading that researchers found that, in pressure situations, the brain tries to interpret your thoughts as quickly as it can, and this can mean omitting words. So when you say to yourself “do not hit it to his backhand” your brain might omit the “not” and you’ll end up hitting it to his backhand, or at least hesitating, as you’ve essentially confused yourself. It’s better to say “hit it to his forehand” as there is a better chance your brain will get it right.

      I’ve also managed to successfully incorporate this way of focusing on the path, not the problem, somewhat this season. I tightened up considerably in a doubles tournament, but instead of focusing on how my nerves were preventing me from hitting my forehand well, I just focused on getting to the net. My thoughts were constructive rather than positive or negative. I was able to essentially ignore that a huge chunk of my game wasn’t working and just figured out how to maximize the parts that were. My partner stayed back, I attacked as much as possible, and we won the trophy!

      Take care 🙂

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