Involved or Committed?

bacon-and-eggs

Are you committed to your goals and plans or only involved in them?

Are you committed to your work and effort or only involved and therefore merely going through the motions?

Are you committed to your self-improvement or only involved?

It is easy to say we want to achieve something or that we want to do something. That which has value also has a cost. How often do we make the investment needed? Do we do the work and make the effort or do we just go through the motions? After all, most people will not go to those extremes, and they ridicule us if we do. That not allows them to feel better about themselves, because we are not excelling past them, yet it is at our expense because it holds us back from what we truly want to achieve. Do we want to fit in or do we want to stick out and excel?

Too often, we are involved in doing something yet do not fully commit. What is the difference between involvement and commitment?

Consider the bacon and eggs breakfast. The chicken is only involved. The pig, on the other hand, is committed.

Happily, we do not have to commit to the level of the pig to enjoy and excel in our activities. Yet, we must go far beyond involvement, take personal ownership for our own happiness and success, and commit to what we are doing.

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Impossible? I’m Possible!

Handstand

We face many obstacles along the journey towards ultimate performance. Many obstacles come in expected ways and from expected places. Some obstacles come in unexpected ways and from unexpected places. There is a third source of obstacles, and this catches us by surprise. The obstacles that cause us the most problem are the ones that originate inside ourselves.

Usually when I ask a young athlete or group of athletes what is holding them back in their shooting, the typical answers are heard: positions, certain guns or events, hold, triggering, “mental game” (whatever that is – it’s like saying “physical game” whatever that is), or other basic topics. Recently, I heard a very different set of answers, coming in rapid fire succession, from an exceptional group of young athletes. Here is their list:

Ego
Laziness
Passiveness
Worry
Impatience
No Confidence
Staying In Comfort zone
Trying too hard
Worry about score and outcome
Worry about what other people think
Fear of failure

What a remarkable list for such young athletes! We could write a blog post, or an entire book chapter or book, on each of these topics. Elite athletes know the importance of these topics, and many other related topics, so it is good that this group is already learning about and working on them.

Too many athletes fall short of their goals and dreams because they do not overcome these obstacles. They feel that the goal is impossible. Instead, they need to think “I’m Possible!” and work through the pain, fear, frustration, and all the other challenges they face.

This inspiring video (link below) speaks to these and related topics. Crank up the volume (don’t hurt your ears or disturb others) and listen – really listen – to the the narration. Then play it again a few times and listen again and again. You won’t catch it all the first time or two.

How hard are you willing to work? How much are you willing to work? How much are you willing to push yourself? How adaptable are you to working on the right things in the right way at the right time? Where are your priorities? Is your focus on the important things or the easy things?

Best Workout Motivational – Be Blind (Sail Awolnation)

Impossible? I’m Possible!

Stupid Baby!

baby-learning-to-walk_thumb

One of my favorite things to ask an athlete is “This is a yes or no question: Would you like me to ask you to tell us what you often say to yourself after a bad shot?” Universally the answer is “No!”

OK, next question: “How would you feel if I came up to you after a bad shot and said to you whatever it is that you say to yourself?” Answer: “I would be very upset with you.” (Or other much stronger words and feelings! Ha!)

My response: “If we are supposed to be our own best friend, why do we say such things to ourselves?” Response: “Uh….”

Culturally, we are conditioned to be hyper-critical of ourselves, others, and everything. This is sad. We look at our own activities and call ourselves bad names and have other negative self talk when we make mistakes. Making mistakes is part of learning!

Have you ever watched a baby learn to walk? They fall down quite a bit at first, don’t they! Have you ever heard a baby say to them-self “Stupid baby!” after falling down? No, of course not. They just get right back up and work at it all over again. No judgement and reaction. Just observation and action.

We should do the same!

I’ve Got It!

Preparation 1 - Matt Emmons - USA Shooting Winter Airgun 2004 - Photo copyright 2004 Dr. Dan Durben

Preparation 1 – Matt Emmons – USA Shooting Winter Airgun 2004 – Photo copyright 2004 Dr. Dan Durben

Preparation 2 - Jason Parker - USA Shooting Winter Air Gun 2004 - Photo copyright 2004 Dr. Dan Durben

Preparation 2 – Jason Parker – USA Shooting Winter Air Gun 2004 – Photo copyright 2004 Dr. Dan Durben

Often, an athlete will work at something and then, upon finally accomplishing the first successful attempt, say to themselves or others “I’ve got it!”

Have you ever struggled a bit and then started to get a string of good shots? When that happened, did you say to yourself “I’ve got it!” only to then lose it?

When our ego takes control, we lose control. When our ego tells us “I’ve got it!” then we subtly let up and lose that fine edge that was giving us the good shot process performance and then the good result. Any time you catch yourself saying “I’ve got it!” you need to immediately stop and regroup.

Every shot is new and the athlete must start over from scratch to achieve a great performance.

The very best athletes in the world do not believe “I’ve got it!” Instead, they have confidence in their training and routines, and believe they have trained themselves so well that they can perform consistently at a very high level, but only if they continue to put in hard work, both in training and in the competition – and on each individual shot process performance. You don’t believe that? Let’s take a look at a couple of photographs kindly given to me years ago by Dr. Dan Durben and find out why he took and shared those photographs.

Take a look at the first picture. What do you see? Who is the athlete and what is he doing? Matt Emmons is sitting quietly in the middle of the range. Notice that all the others are running around setting up or looking for their equipment. Matt is sitting quietly and preparing himself.

Take a look at the second picture. What do you see? Who is the athlete and what is he doing?  Jason Parker is starting to set up his position, balance, natural point of aim, and is settling in with holding and dry firing… before the preparation period has even begun. All the others are still getting their gear organized. After all “Prep hasn’t started yet.”

Are all those other athletes so much better that they can just jump right in? If Matt and Jason are so good, why are they working harder than anyone else and acting like they don’t have it all figured out? After all, aren’t they two of the best?

Let’s spin that around: Because these two athletes know that no athlete ever has it all figured out, and because they know that each shot is all new from the beginning, they work harder and longer than most others. That includes more and proper preparation.

Is it any coincidence that just 4 months earlier, out of all the athletes striving to fill the spots, Matt and Jason were the two members of the US Olympic Team for the men’s air rifle event? Probably not.

“Feel Center!”