The article below was posted in our April newsletter from 2005. We did a short series on some of the "Lessons of the Box" from Lanny's Book "Freedom Flight - The Origins of Mental Power" for a few months and this is one of those articles.
"No matter how bad your environment is others have endured more and complained less"
For me (Lanny's daughter, Heather) this principle hit me the hardest. In today's negatively charged society it is easy and acceptable to complain. We complain about work, our spouses, friends, our commute, in-laws, kids, finances and almost everything else. It is easy to be unhappy with our surroundings and to tell everyone else all about it.
No matter how bad your situation is, there is someone out there who has it much worse off than you do. Someone out there is fighting to stay alive and has no reason to believe they will live. Someone else is living with no home and no hope of finding shelter or food for her child tonight. Still another has lost their wife and kids and is very much alone. Imagine for a moment that these people are not angry or bitter or negative even though they have every right to be. Imagine that they are thankful to live another day and have a positive outlook on life despite their misfortune.
I don't think life is easy for anyone. We all have our unique challenges and complicated realities. However, we must take the time to treasure what we do have and control the negative self-talk no matter our situation.
In competition, one of our biggest challenges is to control what we say to ourselves and to others. Most of the negative self-talk is driven by our environment. You get lost heading to your match, trial or tournament. Your spouse or significant other picks 15 minutes before your event begins to remind you of all the ways you have failed in your relationship or marriage. You know you have a difficult time competing when the weather is bad and today it is pouring out but your event is not cancelled. You start the competition and you are not performing at your potential. Your mind is racing and it is because of your environment. You have to be able to turn off the voices in your head that are yelling back at your spouse, still angered by getting lost, thinking you can't possibly win and mad at God for making it rain.
If we complain less (internally or verbally) we will be a much more pleasant person to have around and succeed more often. Stop thinking so much about what is going on around you and have a good time for that one moment. Have fun anyway - despite your surroundings. It's raining? So what - think to yourself "I'm even better at my sport in the rain". Your spouse is upset at you and/or making you feel guilty? Do your best to put it out of your mind at least until the competition is over - think of the things you love about what is going on around you. Get away from the situation and play the best game of your life anyway. Never let your environment dictate what your mood is for the day - or your level of play for that matter. Who is in control of you? YOU ARE!
In "Freedom Flight", you learn how the character Jack Sands is able to take a situation that seems hopeless and endures it, learns from it and becomes a better person for it. We all can learn a little something from a man like this one.
By: Heather Sumlin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Learn more about Mental Management and Freedom Flight by calling 972-899-9640 or checking out our website at www.mentalmanagement.com