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The One Thing I Learned About Mindset and Its Impacts on Performance

Updated: Dec 2, 2023

Recently, I wrote about the power of accountability, consistency, patience, and community as gauges to measure progress and reach success on our way to wellness. You can read that post here.

Today, I was remembering a story of mine that was kind of an aha moment as I was thinking about mindset and how it affects performance. It connected some dots for me and, although it may not be some huge revelation, it may motivate some mindset positivity for someone else too. So, I thought I’d share.

When I was in college, not sure if late teens or early 20s (aka freaking eons ago) I was playing a competitive tennis match. My opponent and I had played many times before and were pretty evenly matched.

This particular match I was losing badly. I lost the first set 6-3 and was losing the second set 5-0. It was my serve. One more game and she would win the match 6-3, 6-0. In my head, I had already lost. But I didn’t want my score to be zero in the second set. Or, in tennis speak, I didn’t want to get “bageled”. Anything but a bagel!

I had seconds to figure out what to do to get at least one game in. I looked up at the sun trying to see if I could adjust my toss. Maybe that was the issue. I was reaching.

Then, I noticed my vision was partially blocked and wasn’t sure why. I was wearing a hat that day because so many people (aka mom and grandma) were warning me against sun damage. It was the first time I wore a hat to play an actual match because they often gave me headaches.

So, I took the hat off. I thought to myself - that’s probably it! “You’re not used to the hat and it’s blocking the line of sight,” I told myself. That’s totally it!

Was it though!? Who the heck knows! And did it matter?

I went on to win that game. It’s now 5-1, her serve. It’s a long, long way for me to come back. But, in my head, I believed I had solved the issue. I had come up with the reason I was losing.

That belief, together with a more positive attitude plus action to focus on one point at a time, then one game at a time; led me to come back and win that set 7-5. And then went on to win the match in a third set tiebreak.

I went from not believing I could win to, little by little, believing that I could. The reason didn’t seem to be of much consequence. The difference is that instead of using the hat as an excuse for losing, I chose to use it as the solution to turn things around. Why did it take me twenty-plus years to understand and apply this in life more often?

Mindset and belief are way more powerful that we sometimes give it credit for. Perhaps we don’t realize that focused, small actions, repeated consistently, over time - done with a positive mindset and belief that things can be achieved - often lead to seemingly impossible results.

But it happens all the time and I’m willing to bet most of us can think of similar stories when we dig deep into our experiences.

It took a long time for me to believe that but if you really search, you’ll find plenty of evidence that anything is possible. Will it always work? No, but it will always be worth a try.

Thank you so much for spending time here. I’ll see you next time! Until then, express gratitude often, pay it forward when you can, and be kind to everyone… especially yourself.

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