This is a question from a pistol forum back in 2007 - Lanny answered this question and we received lots of positive feedback so we wanted to share this information with you this month. The question is from a pistol shooter but the information is applicable to anyone.
Question: How can I keep positive and realistic? I don't mean being able to walk away from that stage without being devastated... I can do that. I mean by ignoring the mistakes and only looking at the positive (which is what I understood from your book/tapes). I just think I'm lying to myself if I do that.
I feel like I'm either really missing your point, or I'm not understanding it completely... or I just don't get it altogether therefore I'm simply not Champion material. I've always been successful in my life endeavors, so I refuse to accept the last part of that statement.
Lanny's Answer: Great question. OK, let's see if I can clear up a few things for you all. I certainly do not want you to be confused by any concepts in my book.
First, nowhere in my work do I suggest that you should ever lie to yourself. All reinforcement is imprinting and the self-image grows or shrinks by this process. If you have a bad performance it is indelibly imprinted on your self-image. This is called an environmental imprint. Now, you can create another imprint by thinking about or talking about the bad performance again and this causes your self-image to shrink. This is called beating yourself up and is a good way to retard your growth toward winning. The top 5% just do not do this. If they make a mistake they think about the solutions to correcting the error and imprint that they are able to do that. They think a lot about the good performances though. This causes the self-image to grow. Good thing, huh?
Next, who said that the only way to win is to be the top name on the leader board? Everyone seems to be overly concerned with accomplishment. Accomplishment is easy to measure. It is first, second and third, gold silver and bronze, the grades of A, B, C, or F. But winning, by my way of thinking is much more than that. It is Attainment. Attainment = Becoming + Accomplishment. Accomplishment is how you measure the external and becoming is how you measure the internal. Have you ever won a class only to find that you did not learn much that day? Then you go to a competition and do poorly but grow a great deal in understanding. That's becoming and it is very difficult to measure. A winner is someone who is just as concerned about who they become as to what they accomplish. You should goal set to become something worthwhile when you accomplish any step in your goal. Now that's Attainment.
I suggest that if you are more concerned about how well you execute your mental and technical systems than your place in the competition that you will virtually eliminate the concerns you are having about self-judgment. Someone once said that winning is the progressive realization of a worthwhile goal. You may be a long way from reaching that goal at present. It is not lying to imprint that you someday will reach it. If you say "I am national champion" and you are, in reality, a long way from that and that bothers you then try this. Transport yourself mentally to some day in the future when you are, in reality, the national champion and say, "I am the national champion". The imprint will work just the same. It will be just as powerful. The self-image cannot tell the difference between past, present and future events. It thinks that every imprint is happening in the present and it becomes like you to do it. I won the Olympics thousands of times before they hung the real medal on me. It caused my self-image to accept that it was like me to be the champion. That's not reality but this is not a reality show like TV. This is mental imprinting and it works.
Finally, I have a word about shooting diaries. Don't keep one. Keep a performance journal instead. A diary contains a record of everything you did, good and bad. That's a lot of negative imprinting and your scores will be harmed more than keeping one helps them. But, if you keep a performance journal like the Performance Analysis Journal that we have on our web site you will only record what you did well, the solutions that you found and goals statements to help you positively move forward to your goals. It is a Performance Journal not a Lack of Performance Journal.
I hope I haven't missed your point and that this helps you. You are champion material until you start thinking you are not.
With Winning in Mind,
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