How Am I Holding Myself Back?

First, let’s just address the elephant in the room. You may not be the only thing holding you back, but you can only control what YOU are d...

First, let’s just address the elephant in the room. You may not be the only thing holding you back, but you can only control what YOU are doing to hold YOU back. If you have done everything you can to eliminate your own barriers, then you can complain about circumstances… but I have a feeling that at that point you won’t have to. So let’s talk about what might be holding you back.

1. Perfection and Waiting For the Perfect Moment

Striving for perfection isn’t wrong. In an athlete you should have two mindsets you modulate between, the training and the trusting mindset. While in the training mindset, you have to strive for everything you do to become perfect, to train not until its works but rather instead until it can’t fail. The problem comes is that when we haven’t achieved that, and honestly you probably will never be 100 percent satisfied with your technical mastery of something, you can’t switch over to the trusting mindset during ‘game time’. This inability to just trust your training, trust your preparations, and to acknowledge that at that moment you are the best you are going to be and the only chance you have of winning is to give 100 percent of your attention to winning. Do not worry about your opponent, the past, the outcome, or any other variable. Worry instead about what you are doing and be in the moment. That will always bring you the closest to perfection. And that brings us to…

2. Improper Attention Spending: Gravity vs. Grip

What do you spend your time in thinking about? Even better… What do you spend your energy thinking about? Loosely we can classify things into two categories: Gravity or Grip. Things that fall into the gravity category are going to be the things you cannot control directly or at this time as while the grip category is where you put the things you can control. For example, can I control what my opponent is good at? No. But I can control how diligently I stick to my training plan or how well I perform my pre competition routines. In fact, I cannot even control who my opponent is in a very real way and should be prepared to beat any opponent, so why do we as athletes spend so much time worry about brackets and matches instead of training and preparation? I’ve watched competitors forgo their full warmup up routine to research people on facebook and youtube before a grappling match. I am certain that will not improve your chances of winning. Oh… and on that topic…

3. No Routines

You should know yourself better than anyone.  Learn what type of energy you need to be at your best and ensure you are using pre competition routines to maximize that. See my previous article on that.

4. Failure as a mindset

Without exception, failure is not who you are. It’s something that has happened not something that is required to happen. Too many times we either become accepting of failure before the event, do not accept the underlying reasons of failure (or in some cases just fail to identify them) or we instead avoid the tasks in training that we may fail at.  Understanding that failure can happen and moving on afterwards is different than accepting it as the outcome before it has been decided. I do not accept any outcome and am not outcome driven. I try to only be driven by giving my best performance and allowing the outcome to speak for that, either way. However, to do that, we must be able to assess the reasons why we have failed, after a failed event, and fix them. The way we fix that is to, in training, constantly improve our training by seeking out the weak points in our game or preparation and learning how to prevent their exploitation. My next article is actually going to be on how to maximize preparation, specifically on the question of “Do we train to win, or do we train to not lose”; which leads to the question, do you think there is a difference?

5. Winning

Sadly, one of the biggest things holding people back is previous success. After any victory you need to accept a few things. Firstly, is that you won that one thing vs that or those people and that is it. To frame it in any other way is incorrect. While some might think I am diminishing the accomplishment, I am not. Instead, I am showing respect for what actually was done. Any time you win you find yourself, paradoxically, in the same place as when you lose. Trying to figure out how to improve from here. Instead we sometimes see athletes become fixated on what made them successful previously instead of asking the question of what is going to keep you successful.

6. Expecting Instant Results

This one will be short. Where you are today is a culmination of everything you have done before. That’s true of everything and everyone. What seems to come easy to others is only because you do not see what is behind the curtain, so to speak, in their previous work. Just know there is no other way to travel a distance other than traveling that distance, even if one method is faster or slower. So, clearly outline your goal, find your starting point, and determine your route.

7. Not Being Thankful

As I said before, you are the biggest obstacle in your way and you are the only one you can really directly control, however other people can be a huge help in accomplishing your goals. More than likely you will not accomplish your goals without them. Be thankful. Pay it forward. Help them improve selflessly and learn to enjoy the success of others. Be happy for people being happy. Every day I want my students to do well against me in practice because it means they are getting better. Even on days I am not feeling like my training is going well, it’s usually because my partners are having such good days they can shut my game down. Instead of framing it as a negative on you, enjoy the fact that they are doing better. Do not be a selfish training partner.

8. Busy for the Sake of Busy

We will end on this one. Everything you do in training is for the purpose of improvement. Being at practice is not practicing. Everything you do you should be attentive on and present in. That is your time to get better, do not waste in. You only have once chance to give 100 percent, so use it every day.

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