Today, while driving to work, I listened to a radio discussion. I didn't
hear the start and don't know exactly what the subject was about. It seemed
to be centered around how top stars and sportsmen and sportswomen focussed
upon just before making a public performance. What took my interest was
the description of how each star felt incredibly nervous just before going
Apparently, it was stated, Carly Simon used to get to feel so sick that
she couldn't go on stage. Whereas, I believe it was Bruce Springstein who
stated that unless he felt incredibly sick and nervous he knew that he
couldn't go on stage and perform at his best.
Next, a sports coach and psychologist described a condition he called
"What the heck does he mean?" I thought. Fortunately he described exactly
what he meant by the term by referring to an example of his favorite sport,
Golf. Here, he said, if a top golfer doesn't sink the ball at an easy put
it could completely wreck the most successful player's tournament.
I guess it's a little like boiling an egg for breakfast. You perhaps
prefer the yoke of your egg runny and the white firm. You like the contrast
in texture and a soft yoke will allow you dip thin slices of buttered bread
(called bread soldiers) into it. You know that it should be boiled for
4 minutes to get perfection. But, today your egg has a hard yoke and you
don't like them like that... it's a bad start to the day. And it was just
like it the day before, and the day before that. Instead of accepting that
you could boil your egg for a slightly shorter time or you could find another
strategy that helps you get it just right... you decide that you can't
boil an egg at all. In fact, you accept from that small event that you
can't cook... you are a complete and utter failure and a waste of time
in the kitchen.
Just one bad thought after a minor failure or loss of luck resulted
in a sequence of negative thoughts. If you couldn't quickly write off that
small piece of bad luck your whole day is wrecked... you are useless.
And the golfer? Beginning with the single slight failure of a little
white ball falling into a hole dug into the ground at a point on a grassy
golf course that is conveniently marked by a flag pole... it doesn't sound
life threatening when you think about it, does it? But, from this minor
failure event, the thoughts of failure can rapidly increase. And, instead
of expecting that the ball will be easily putted at the next hole, doubt
and tension builds to the point that all chances of success vanish. Very
quickly a top class player feels useless.
Every member of the discussion group agreed that they too recognized
occasions when they had been affected by similar doubts that sometimes
scared them and made them question their fitness to live.
I realized that everyone does this many times a day, normally without
recognizing it or letting the "downward thoughts" get in the way of having
a successful day.
It resembled an instant form of depression, where one bad thought leads
to another and rapidly moves on downwards to a point where you feel you
just can't go on.
No doubt you've seen it where your favorite football player, basketball
wizard, record breaking swimmer or athlete has a really bad day. How can
it be? They are brilliant... they are incredible! And yet they still have
the most awful games. You probably recall stars of the past that
suddenly disappeared from the scene... with a total loss of confidence.
There are huge numbers of ex-stars and sports personalities whose careers
have ended in utter failure, never to recover their former glory.
Of course, there are those who recover and make a magnificent comeback
after a break from the pressure to accomplish even greater levels of success.
Deep inside they know that that hard work and practice has provided all
the physical skills they need to take advantage of their talent. And, in
their minds they cope by recognizing a small failure is nothing more than
that... just a slight mishap... a minor human error.
A flash of inspired brilliance often wins the game but rarely does a
single mistake lose the fight.
So what if the last shot was a bad shot... it was nothing more than
that. The next shot will be a winner.
Somehow, after divorce you have to find inner resources that recognize
and defend against the consequences of all the bad thoughts that go through
your head... there are so many bad thoughts. It isn't easy when your ex-partner
seems to emphasize your failings. So, try to remember that the bad thoughts
rumbling around in your mind are still nothing more than "downward thoughts"
and that they can have no real consequence to your life.
You are every bit as valuable as you have ever been... and that your
family and friends still value you and want you. You haven't changed and
still have every talent that you have ever had... and you know that there
are hidden skills that you haven't realized yet.
Remember that you are you... You are quality... You wouldn't let one
bad thought, statement or action ruin the rest of your life, would you?
Why wreck your life?
Chris Annable is the author of a new book titled: Doc Ingman's
"Divorce And Separation Survival For Men", which tells of one man's remarkable
story of how he took control of his life and helped his son survive the
struggle of separation from his mother during divorce. Contact: http://www.divorce-and-separation.com
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