What do you believe?
I’ve been reading a fascinating book recently called “Will it make the boat go faster?” by Ben Hunt Davies – who won an Olympic Gold medal in Sydney 2000 in the men’s rowing eight.
The quite remarkable thing about their win is that the eight men who comprised the team were an ordinary bunch of guys who were not very good at rowing! You have to read the book (which I’d strongly recommend) to appreciate the truth in this.
How can a bunch of not very good rowers win an Olympic Gold meal? Well they did it by applying some very basic methods to their training and thinking – methods that are so simple and so effective that they can be applied to other areas of our lives where we want to achieve something.
Something that really resonated with me – and I know is critical if you are looking for a partner – is those deeply held beliefs you have about yourself that influence who you are, what you think and consequently how you behave.
There is a huge body of research that indicates that our subconscious influences our conscious and affects our behavior. How you think, consciously and subconsciously affects how you behave.
The big question is can you change that? Well Ben in his book clearly demonstrates you can. It all comes down to how you process the information you get from others and yourself.
Let’s take an example:
Perhaps you think “I’ve been single for while – I’m not sure anyone would want to go out with me!” With this thought pattern you are unlikely to push yourself too hard into a position where you do meet others.
You go to an event and few people talk to you… you say to yourself “I was right, people don’t want to meet me”.
At work someone makes a comment that further feeds your view that people don’t want to meet you.
Now the truth is, all these factors are opinions – and opinions are just that – opinions. They are not truth unless you let them become so.
Lets look at that event again. Was your thinking about it the only way to analyse the event? How about the following:
“I didn’t make much effort to talk to people at that event – I’ll try harder next time”
“I talked to one person at the last event – I did well and will talk to 2 people next time.”
“I made that person I talked to laugh and they liked what I said.”
The reality is there is always more than one way of looking at a situation, and it’s worth working out if you are looking at situations positively or negatively and what beliefs about yourself your thoughts are feeding.
Ben’s team knew they could win gold so every time someone told them they were hopeless or useless, they put this information into the ‘not useful’, ‘not accurate’, ‘not the whole picture’ box and countered it with something positive like ‘we had a good training session yesterday and are getting to be better rowers.’
Ultimately it was a lot of small steps like these (and of course many other factors in the training) that led them to success. But their thinking and beliefs were critical, and ours is too.
So watch your thoughts. Analyse them. Give yourself a different interpretation for the negative ones, and know that whereever you are now, you can reach your goal.
P.S “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7