So let’s start by understanding our enemy. What is a limiting belief? Essentially they are any thoughts that constrain us. These beliefs are often expressed in black and white terms such as ‘I can’t do…’ and are negatively framed such as ‘I am rubbish at…’ Even if said in half jest or in a self deprecating manner these beliefs become ingrained and can inhibit us without our conscious realisation. We create these beliefs in several ways; it may be through experience or education, or using them as an excuse because of fear. The way that I am going to focus on here is through faulty logic.
When we watch experts in any field we regularly make sense of their ability in inaccurate ways. We often use explanations that seem to make sense based on what we can see, for example Roger Federer being so successful due to lightening reflexes or Ronaldo having exceptional foot-eye co-ordination. These observations are actually logical fallacies, they make sense but aren’t true. What we are falling victim to here is called the Iceberg Effect. That is we can only see the masterful performance. What we don’t see is the hidden iceberg of thousands of hours of practice.
When you analyse top performers on their physical prowess they often don’t stand out. Roger Federer doesn’t have superior reaction times outside of tennis when compared to the norm. So how does he appear to have so much time on the court? It actually has nothing to do with reaction time at all, in fact it is a study of body angles, he is just so well practiced that he is able to predict where the ball will be, this gives the illusion of fast reaction time. How has Federer developed this? Hours and hours of practice to the point where such skills become automatic, he just ‘knows’ where to be and how to react. This is the reason that the best performers rarely make the best coaches. They aren’t equipped to best describe how to perform certain skills as they don’t think it through in such a way themselves. They have what is termed ‘expert induced amnesia’. This is why average players tend to make better coaches as they have to truly think through their performances.
So this may be interesting (or not!) but what does it have to do with your New Year’s Resolutions? The point that I am trying to make is when we watch experts of anything from sport to business we create limiting beliefs for ourselves, rationalising their performance by saying ‘I could never do that, I don’t have then hand-eye co-ordination’ when this simply isn’t true. Now don’t get me wrong there are certain genetic limitations but these tend to be based around body composition, muscle fibre type and other very physical elements. They have very little bearing on skill development. So if you want to be truly great at something, go and start practicing. Be purposeful with your practice and fail often. That is all that your heroes on the TV have done. Break through your limiting beliefs and see them for what they are. Understand the logic and realise that anything is possible.
There is a great quote that sums this up nicely…
“When you aim high it is hard to fail completely”
If you set small, easily achievable goals then you will likely make them, this feels good and your ego gets a belly tickle, yet if you set huge goals and strive for them, then, even if you don’t immediately reach it, you will in the process, have easily surpassed any smaller goals you could have set.
So aim big in 2015, revisit my other blogs on goal setting and please share your ambitions on the comments here or via social media. Happy New Year!