The Wright Way

The Wright Way

Friday, June 14, 2013

Where Do You Think You're Going?

There is a famous quote by Henry Ford: “There are two kinds of people. Those who think they can and those who think they can’t – and they’re both right.”

In sporting terms this certainly applies too, because there’s thinking in there – and we always have a tendency to “act out” our thinking in the way we are being and playing!

If you’ve just been picked to play for your country, county, district, 1st team, club, school for the very first time – in amongst the pride, the sense of achievement, there probably comes that nagging reflection – am I good enough? Can I hack it at the next level?
And it goes right across the board -
Your club or team has won promotion. How will they fare in the higher league? Are they good enough? Do they need better players with more experience?

Even on life’s stage I’ve encountered people who are up for recognition and awards and who are almost embarrassed and ask “Why Me? – They’ll suss me out sooner or later!” I’ve also encountered people who have been head-hunted for highly rewarding jobs, and who are so concerned about their ability that they start getting stressed out because they feel they have to try so much harder to impress their new bosses that the right choice has been made, or that they are up to the job!

I know it sounds silly and illogical, but there is hardly a person anywhere on earth who hasn’t plagued themselves with this thinking at some point in their lives.
This train of thought inevitably brings us back to Henry Ford’s quote. If we think we can’t do something, then we’ll act out, direct our actions towards becoming the inadequate, the loser, the under-achiever.
What fuels this action, what perpetuates this momentum?


And what is belief?
It is originally a thought that became > an idea, that became > a notion, that became > a concept, that became > a theory, that became > a belief. There’s a kind of process of cell division that takes a thought to a belief, and for each step along that road we verify and prove – through referential experience – what we perceive as ‘true’ or ‘real’. We know about what’s real and true – or at least we think we do!

If we believe we can do something, then – along a similar highway – we’ll prove it to ourselves. This will not only reaffirm our belief, but it will also bring us success!

So, let's get back to the original scenario, where you’ve been picked to play at the next level up;
There’s a random thought – am I good enough?
It’s only a thought and you hasten, perhaps rush, that thought along the road towards the certainty of an answer, at an accelerated rate.

Now - if you think you can, and you have confidence in your abilities, your beliefs will filter your gathering of references in alignment with that confidence. Answer = Yes I am good enough. I can play at the higher level. Likewise, if you think you can’t then you’ll draw out all the references that align with that belief also. Everything is clear, one way or another.


However, what about the vast grey area in between, when you are not sure – if there is doubt. You want to know – you must have the answer. “I need to know, which will give me confidence! Only when I have confidence, will I play in a way that gives me the answer and dispels the doubt! If I don’t know, and don’t have the answer, then I won’t have the confidence to play in a way that will dispel the doubt.”

Remember R D Laing’s quote: “If I don’t know I don’t know – I think I know. If I don’t know I know I know – I think I don’t know.”
It’s all a bit like that, and we carry those doubts and lack of surety into the playing arena! Then, any spare capacity left in our emotional bath, gets filled by “I wonder if I’ll be OK,” or “I hope it goes alright for me today,” or “I must try my best,” or other variations on a theme. Likewise, we’ll ponder when people wish us “Good Luck!”
There is nothing convincing about wonder, hope, try and luck though, is there? Wonder, hope, try and luck do a very good job of supporting our doubt – and if you think about it, that doubt, if unsupported, would collapse into can’t. And all we ever wanted anyway was to know – to be convinced.
OK, let’s break down this sample of rock and see what really lies inside!
  • Is confidence real, or just something we’ve made up – a construct?
  • Do I really need to know the answers to doubt before I play?
  • If our doubts are real, who is making them up?
  • Are beliefs real, or just thoughts, amplified and proven through experience.
  • Is experience real, or just our interpretation of events.
  • Are thoughts real anyway?
These are all questions about what is real and, as we sift through them all, we’ll eventually arrive at a point where we’ll know the answers.

And, here’s the thing – once we know our thoughts aren’t real, then why would there ever be any need for us to question our ability to play? Why would there ever be any need to take those thoughts onto the field of play? All we would ever need to do is to be enthused and excited by anticipating the play, and then to engage in every moment of the play when eventually the time came.

It’s a simple formula that requires you NOT to think about it, but merely to understand it.


nidge said...

Beautiful and full of wisdom Pete. Looking forward to your upcoming book. You are a star!

Gouroux said...

Many thanks Nidge for your kind words which are much appreciated!

So glad you enjoyed the article - and the book is making good progress also.

Best wishes!