I had the pleasure of speaking to 75 student athletes from a state university last week. The learning I provided was designed to give them the tools and knowledge required to escalate performance in their sport. While I thoroughly enjoyed speaking and interacting with them, what I discovered after reflecting on the event was quite remarkable.
One of the topics discussed in the seminar was identifying ‘3 Positives’ after every practice session and every competitive event. This simply involves finding three things that you would view as positives, regardless of the event outcome or level of difficulty. While it sounds elementary, you would be amazed at how difficult this was for them. To make it even easier, I thought I would have those who practiced that day share ‘3 Positives’ from their practice session just hours earlier. When I asked who had practiced today, about 20 people raised their hands. When I asked someone to give me ‘3 Positives’ from their practice session, only one person raised their hand. One of the girls on the lacrosse team said she just finished a grueling practice session and my ‘3 Positives’ are:
I was able to get through it
It was a great workout
After a nice round of applause from the group, I again asked “Who else practiced today?” This time no one raised their hands. All of a sudden people were afraid to share their positive thoughts. Why was this happening? Why was everyone reluctant to share their positive energy? Was it because there was nothing positive from anyone’s practice session, or was it because their positives might sound trivial? Whatever their reason, it was difficult finding another volunteer and I was amidst 75 Division 1 athletes. This is no reflection on the group; it is just that we are simply not accustomed to focusing on the positives.
The very next day I was speaking with PGA Professional Preston Combs about this. Preston is a recent college graduate from Methodist University who said he was not surprised the group was reluctant to respond. He said “It is so much easier to focus on what is not going well because people cling to negative energy, especially amongst peers.”
Preston teaches at Valhalla Golf Club, which is a beautiful course in Louisville, Kentucky and home of the 2014 PGA Championship. He thought it was ironic that we were having this conversation because he had just asked 16 people how their round was. Out of 16 people, who were on vacation from Wisconsin playing golf on a championship course, guess how many had a positive response? One. One person said they had a great round and what a treat it was to play such a beautiful golf course. Everyone else talked about the weather, or how lousy they played or what they could have scored if they got better bounces and your typical 19th hole blues. Preston aptly referred to it as the 1/16th rule. About 1 out of 16 people are focused on the positives in their life. The rest are clinging to negative energy.
It’s so easy to focus on the negative all the time, because that is what everyone else does. You just catch a ride on the bandwagon of negativity leading to Nowhere Street and Complaint Avenue.
How about you? What do you focus on, the positives or the negatives? Try this simple activity. If you think about your day yesterday, what comes to mind first?
Do you think about the dispute with a family member, or do you relish in the great conversation with a friend?
Do you focus on that dull pain in your neck, or do you envision the beauty you saw on your car ride?
Do you focus on all the tasks hanging over your head like a dust cloud, or are you grateful for the fact you’re above ground?
It is so easy to focus on the negatives because nearly 90% of your thought process is negative and occurring automatically. These are referred to as A.N.T.s or Automatic Negative Thoughts. There is no work associated with thinking about the negative energy in your life, it just flows and you cling to it. It’s easy, really easy.
If you are trying to improve your golf game, or any other aspect of your life, where do your thoughts go as you are in the process of trying to improve? Be honest with yourself, because most people are not, even when they think they are. Do you frustrate quickly because you expected results yesterday, or do you accuse others for your lack of progress or slow growth. To get better faster, you must start to focus on what is going well. If your thoughts are not improving, you will only see marginal improvement. If you focus on the fact that you are improving and making progress, you will see continuous, lasting improvement GUARANTEED !!. To make this happen in your life, I suggest you start clinging to your Positive Energy by focusing on your ‘3 Positives’ when your head hits the pillow at the end of every single day. It is like systematically investing into your bank account of life
To learn how to invest more positive energy into your life, email Greg Liberto for a FREE 30 minute coaching call at email@example.com
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