UnderdogsMar 30, 2023
The other day I went to a bridge building seminar. It was riveting and I felt supported.
This is Mental Fitness Fridays. I'm Hans Skulstad.
March Madness is riveting — both basketball and hockey.
I love it. Why? Upsets, buzzer beaters, emotion, excellence. How about Caitlin Clark! She's athletic excellence.
The little engine that could beats a powerhouse. Underdogs bust mental toughness myths. You can outwork talent with belief, teamwork and attitude, if talent doesn't work hard. That's mental fitness. It works.
The love of underdogs arrives from a hidden belief: we don't want naturals or busts. Yet, we cling to the myth. It creates problems for the "powerhouse."
The team with pro prospects expects to win easily. Teams in the tournaments know how to win. They accept it may take extra effort. The little engine plays together and plays through fear. It engineers an upset.
'Natural' status is threatened. The brain problem whistles. Hands, muscles get tense, panic. Things veer off track. It’s DeJa vu all over again. I've seen it happen more than once. I’ve helped teams overcome it.
Those that don't — those lose the thoughts race. They can't accept the importance of mental fitness.
They slide into embarrassment, shame and fear. They start railing. Fingers are pointed.
There is no “can.” (You know, the “I think I can.”)
High seeds win. Even make runs.
The reality is genetics do help or hurt in my case. There is a choice to use what you were given. Being skilled only means something if you are skilled at puns. Then you're just smarter.
Short term — make adjustments. Reboot the brain. Let go and up the energy and effort. Break games into segments. Win the segment. Don't start the slide.
Long term — change the core mental model. Up the energy and effort. Think about your God given gifts, and opportunities. Figure out how to make the most of it. Extra effort isn't a knock.
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