If you allow yourself to think about the penalties of failure or all the things that could go wrong, you’re far more likely to infuse your performance with those penalties and mistakes. Continually tell yourself what to do. Don’t concentrate on what not to do.
The mind has a fascinating capability. What you think about most is generally what you do most readily. A mistake most people make is to set goals in negative terms. A tennis player may set a goal of not double-faulting a certain number of times during a match. An employee may set a goal of not being late so often. Goals to lose weight, not talk so loud and fast, and not get upset so often are goals framed in negative terms. We need to stay away from negative goal setting.
Understand this about the mind: A fear is a goal in reverse. The mind can’t focus on the reverse of an idea. The term double fault reminds the tennis player of the condition he or she wants to avoid. Being late reminds the employee of the problem, not the solution. When we think we need to lose weight, our minds store the self-image of being overweight. We need the image of the desired weight we want to attain, not the pounds of fat we want to discard. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to concentrate on not being upset.
It’s the same thing as saying, “Don’t make mistakes.” Or worse yet, to a tightrope walker, with no net, “Windy day, don’t fall!” The mind always moves you toward your current dominant thought.
We should say, “First serve in,” for the tennis player.
“I’m a punctual, on-time person.”
“I’m reaching my desired weight.”
“I speak slowly, clearly and confidently.”
“I remain calm and relaxed under pressure.”
These are all positive goal statements, which are called images of achievement, which pull us in the direction of the desired behavior rather than away from the undesired habit.
This week, stop looking at your life through the rearview mirror; instead, focus on where you want to go!
Reproduced with permission from the Denis Waitley Newsletter.
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