Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t….you’re right. – Henry Ford
I don’t know about you, friends, but this mentality has gotten me REALLY FAR in my life. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked into a last-minute situation and had to “play the expert” or “act like I know what the eff I’m doing” when I actually don’t! 99% of the time it works out just beautifully. The other 1% of the time I’ve had to admit that I have no idea what I’m doing and pray to Jesus that someone finds pity on me and helps a sister out!
Faking it moments
I have plenty of funny examples to help you understand where I’m going, but I’ll give you two. First, there was the time I showed up to the first day of graduate school, and they handed me my class list (the classes I was going to be teaching). Exercise Physiology, Chemistry Lab, Intro to Sports Pedagogy…..Racquetball. Wait, go back, Racquetball!? How am I supposed to teach AN ENTIRE SEMESTER WORTH OF CURRICULUM about how to play a sport that I’d never touched, watched, understood or fancied? And to a bunch of 19-25-year-old adults none the less? Oh and classes start tomorrow? Ugh. Cool. I got this. Talk about faking it until you make it!
Second, I used this mindset in basketball all of the time! I remember the first time I got to take a game-winning shot. As I dribbled down the court I told myself that I’d never missed a game-winner before. Technically that was true since I hadn’t ever taken a game-winning shot before. Based on that logic I felt confident that I was not going to miss this one. Anyway, I digress…
The Amygdala Theory
The theory states that “things become true because we are acting as if they already are true.” Think about what that means. Think about how many things in your life and your training could be made better without much effort other than changing your mindset. You could go from being a decent athlete to becoming a good athlete, or from sitting on the cusp of being a great athlete to achieving the status of being considered a great one without even adding one more hour in the gym.
The reason the theory works is because of a tiny part of our brain called the Amygdala. It’s a bundle of nerves in our brainstem that filters information for us. The amygdala is the reason you buy a new car, and then all of a sudden feel like everyone has the same car as you. It’s the reason you learn a new word, and then you start hearing it everywhere. It’s the reason you can hear your name in a room of loud people. Your amygdala takes what you focus on and creates a filter for it. It then sifts through and eliminates all other information. Isn’t that cool?
Validating Your Beliefs
In the same way, your amygdala seeks information that validates your beliefs. Meaning, if you believe you’ll hit a lift (within your physical ability of course), you’re much more likely to hit it. Conversely, if all you can focus on is missing a lift, your amygdala forces you to focus on all of the things that can go wrong and you’re most likely, if not guaranteed to miss it.
For instance, have you ever had any of these thoughts –
“This WOD is just not in my wheelhouse.”
“Ugh! Double unders? I’m awful at these”
“Everyone else competing has more experience than me.”
“I just can’t get under my split jerk.”
I could go on and on, but the point is these are all negative thoughts that only serve to make it nearly impossible for you to overcome the task at hand. Like the saying says… Confidence doesn’t guarantee success, but the lack of confidence almost guarantees failure.
Of course, in reality, these things aren’t as easy as I’m making them sound. However, I do believe that you can train yourself to think more positively, visualize what we want and then let our subconscious and conscious minds work together to make it happen! The science is already there to prove the positive mindset theory, and now it’s up to you to change your amygdala filters.