The Power of Positive Thinking
This is one of the most popular topics we can talk about when integrating the mental aspects that help or hinder our ability to succeed in sports. To have a positive trend of thinking can help us to consistently be at the top of our game and perform at our highest level.
While this topic has been widely studied and the effects on performance verified, there are still some important misconceptions and confusion about how to apply these principles to achieve the success we desire. Especially in sports, we need to use these skills effectively so they are helping us consistently be in a winning attitude and excel in each and every game.
First, let’s focus on defining what positive thinking is and what it’s not.
Positive thinking can be defined as a trend of thinking that focuses on holding an optimistic attitude towards our ability to achieve our desired goals, experiences and life. In essence, positive thinking focuses on us being well no matter what happens. For example, whether we make the first shot we get in the game or not, whether we stop an opposing run towards our goal or not, positive thinking helps us stay sharp and know that, no matter what might be happening, we can keep a feel confident in our ability to succeed. This gives our mental and emotional a sturdy resilience with which we can achieve great things.
On the other hand, positive thinking is not the same as wishful thinking. Sometimes these two are confused with each other. Both are based on seeing things, experiences and expectations positively in general terms. The difference is that positive thinking is based on reality, on the actual good things that can be taken from a specific situation. Wishful thinking is akin to magical thinking, with no basis on reality or on anything that is likely to happen. This can lead us to overestimate our confidence and not focus enough our strength, our skills and determination on the task at hand.
When we apply these principles to sports we can feel that nothing fazes us and that we can break through adversity much faster and with less effort. Of course, this does not mean that we will win every single match just because we think positively, but it does mean that we will learn something from every match, and that we will give our 100% in every one of those matches.
Here are some key action points to keep in mind when harnessing the power of positive thinking:
Practice makes perfect: For some of us seeing things positively is as natural as enjoying a sunny day in the field. For others, positive thinking might not be our natural style, and yet we can practice it until it becomes second nature. We can start by choosing to see the positive in the things that happen to us, even though not a lot of positive might be apparent at first. Be brave and scratch the surface until you find something of value, something that gives you that positive feeling and cherish it. This is definitely a victory.
Commitment to self-confidence: Self-confidence is one of the side effects of positive thinking. This helps us generate positive feelings towards our ability to face the challenges associated with the game. And just like positive thinking is different from wishful thinking, this self-confidence is different from being cocky or trying to show off. This is all about your ability to create something positive from what you are experiencing, whether good or bad, whether you won the game or not. Committing to finding the positive in each situation and knowing that you can deal with it is one of best tools to achieve success.
Mistakes are positive and have an upside: Making mistakes and losing are great teachers. These experiences hold invaluable lessons that help us become better at all that we do. While we do not need to like losing or making mistakes, we do need to recognize that there is a great teaching in these, even if the lesson is about what we should not do.
Consistency is the key! Once you have mastered the intricacies of positive thinking, and it flows easily into your mind and practice of sports, the biggest challenge is to keep doing it. Many times, once all the hurdles are passed, once all the challenges are defeated and we are primed to think positively easily, we forget to actually keep doing it. This is a big mistake as it needs to be another one of our routines to stay in our most effective state.
When we practice positive thinking for sports we are in the best place to attain success and keep getting better and better at what we do.