Since you were a little kid you have probably been taught that positive thinking is the key to success. Right? It’s NOT!
Think of it this way. Remember the last time you were in a high-pressure situation. A time when you felt ticked-off, frustrated and upset. Your mind was scrambling trying to find a clear thought. Your heart was pumping out of your chest. Your nerves were eating you up from the inside out.
You can say things like, “I’m a great player. Everything will be fine. I can do this!” but it has little to no value when you’ve under pressure.
Positive Thinking – Don’t Waste Your Time
“Who believes in positive thinking?”
All hands went up.
“Who uses positive thinking on a daily basis?”
Again, all hands in the room went up.
“I don’t believe in positive thinking. It’s useless and a waste of time.” I firmly stated from the front of the room.
As I looked around the room, some of the players glared at me. Some leaned forward in their seats and actually looked angry. Others sat back in their chairs and crossed their arms. They didn’t like me challenging their way of doing things.
But I wasn’t there to get them to like me. My role was to coach them, teach them and challenge them to do more and be more. Fluff and philosophy is not my style.
Setting the scene: The workshop was comprised of elite college football players who were about to show off their talents in front of NFL scouts and coaches. Each player’s goal – make it into the league. They knew that there would be no room for error. Blowing this upcoming opportunity could end a life-long dream. Performing average was unacceptable.
Develop Your EDGE
No matter how incredible their skill and talent, these seasoned players knew that when the pressure was on … one missed tackle, dropped ball or forgotten play could end it all. And, open up the gate for self-doubt, hesitation, lost confidence and inconsistency.
It was time for me to prove that I actually knew what I was talking about. Standing at the front of the room I asked for a volunteer. Someone who was willing to be coached live and in front of the group.
Then I asked the player to share a positive statement. A statement that he would normally use to pump himself up during a game. Without hesitation he stated, “I am feakin’ amazing. I own my position and I dominate my competition!” The statement flowed naturally out of his mouth and I could tell he used it often.
“Great, that’s a clear and positive statement. But do you believe it?” Now I had the attention of every player and coach in the room.
As I walked toward the player, I challenged him again. “Do you believe that’s true?” Keep in mind that the player, I’ll call him Jim, towered above me and could have easily flattened me with little effort. Instead, he visibly began to shrink in his chair. His body language completely changed.
Jim went from leaning across the table that was in front of him to leaning way back in his chair. His eyes went down and so did his tone of voice. I stopped directly in front of him and then directed him. What happened next was extraordinary and powerful.
“Repeat your statement again, out loud please. But this time state it like you actually believe it.” Jim raised his head up and looked me square in the eyes as he repeated his statement. His voice was a bit louder and more importantly it was stronger. Jim began to straighten up in his seat. There was greater conviction in his delivery.
Give Up or Rise Up
Then it was time to push. I could tell Jim was up to the challenge. He would either give up or rise up to the situation. Jim was a true competitor and interested in gaining the edge over his competition.
So I began to push his buttons. With a sarcastic tone in my voice I turned my back to Jim and began to walk back to the front of the room while saying, “I don’t believe you! You’re really not all that great are you? You don’t seem like you’re that amazing to me!”
At the front of the room, I turned and faced Jim again. “Say it again and convince me.”
Game On! Jim straighten up in his chair, leaned across the table, looked me squarely in the eye and stated, “I am feakin’ amazing! I own my position! I dominate my competition!”
“Better. Now say it like YOU believe it.” A light came on in Jim’s eyes as he said it again.
All of a sudden his entire body rose up even taller, his voice went deeper, his eyes were full of power and he clenched both fists. When he made his statement this time, I literally felt chills run through my body. He had done it! The entire room knew it and felt it. The energy of everyone in the room changed. Most important, Jim felt it and believed it!
Jim wasn’t yelling, as if he were attempting to convince me or anyone else in the room. His tone of voice was now strong, steady, and full of conviction. He felt every single word he said. They were no longer just words. This was what he fully believed about him self!
“Now, run that feeling through your entire body, from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. Experience what being fully in your power really feels like.” I directed.
As I looked around at the room, all eyes were locked on Jim. Some of the guys had gotten up out of their seats to watch. Others sat riveted on experience the results. All of a sudden – applause broke loose.
Jim looked straight at me and a big smile came over his face. “Wow, that was powerful! Thank you!” I nodded in acknowledgement and quietly said, “YOU did that!”
Get The Difference?
“THAT was a positive statement that was believed in. Do you get the difference? Positive thinking is just that, it’s thinking. Thinking is way overrated. It’s just a lot of well-chosen words that will fall apart under pressure. The power to believe in yourself and the power to perform at a high level comes from and through your emotions.
Jim could have stated how great he was all day long, but if he didn’t believe it at an emotional level the words would have remained useless under pressure. His skill and talent would fall apart under pressure at the most critical moment when he needed them the most.
When you experience emotion, along with a positive statement, you charge it up. You light yourself up at the same time! Belief is the key. Belief isn’t a bunch of words. Belief is a deep down emotional experience.
Positive thinking is a crutch that will break under pressure.
Positive thinking that is deeply believed in is the key to success.