Defining a positive mental attitude
Simply stated, a positive mental attitude is thinking about what you want, rather than what you don’t want. A negative mental attitude is thinking about what you don’t want. Here are some examples of how both attitudes can affect performance:
• When the amateur tees up on the golf course and takes a furtive look at the water hazard to the left, then the wooded rough to the right, he has just programmed himself for a poorly aimed drive. The professional, by seeing only the flag at the hole, programs herself for the straight drive.
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• The couch potato considers exercising and thinks about how much work it is. The positive thinker focuses on the end result: the healthy, fit, attractive body that results from a few minutes of exercise three or four times a week.
• The bush league player concentrates on correcting the problems in his swing, while the major league baseball player forgets about being in a slump and concentrates on hitting the ball. By doing this, he gets out of the slump.
• The aspiring gymnast faces the balance beam and repeats to herself that she won’t lose her footing while mounting the beam, which is one of the trouble spots in her routine. The veteran gymnast recalls the times she was “in the groove” and performed flawlessly. Her mind creates the correct mental picture, her brain sends the correct signals and she scores high marks for her performance, as she expected.
• The football coach cautions his players (and especially his young quarterback): “We can win if we don’t turn it over.” They turn the ball over four times. The coach who understands what positive thinking is really all about tells his team that they can win if they protect the ball. They hold onto the ball, and they win the game.
In each example, the first person focused on what he or she didn’t want, while the second focused on what he or she did want.