Wednesday, 29 April 2020

How-to Train Your Mind

Anyone  who  has  won  a  game,  been  promoted, or  succeeded  at  her  chosen  field  spent  many  hours rehearsing, some of it physical and some of it mental. There are as many ways to rehearse as there are things to rehearse for. There is always a time to rehearse, even if you don’t think you have it.

Mental rehearsal is also very valuable, and the upside is that you can mentally rehearse while you are eating your breakfast or driving to  an  event.  What  works  for  you  may  not  work  for someone else, but what works for everyone who wants to  improve  in  any  area  of  their  lives  is  some  form  of regular rehearsal.

There is also rehearsal in the doing. By just doing the thing you want to get better at, you are rehearsing. Any improvement gives you the confidence you need to take on the next project and the one after that.

Each time you may be rehearsing for something slightly different, perhaps larger and more complicated. The confidence you gain from all your hard work will continue to serve you. The payoff comes when you realize that you have rehearsed so well you can, for example, give a speech at a moment’s notice.

Wouldn’t  it  be  great  to  have  that  kind  of  self-assurance?  The  truth  is  that  those  who  spend  time rehearsing have the confidence to step up to the plate when the opportunity arises. I’m  a  big  believer  in  mental  rehearsal.  Astronauts and  Olympic  athletes  engage  in  it  on  a  regular  basis.
Most  successful  performers  and  artists  also  use  some form of mental rehearsal. Some call it visualization, or its  medical  name:  clinical  guided  imagery.  No  matter what they call it, those who use some kind of mental rehearsal  to  refine  their  talents  give  themselves  the greatest opportunity to excel.

It’s  the  combination  of  mental,  physical,  and emotional  rehearsal  that  gives  you  the  confidence  to compete at the highest level. Go for it.

Always Have A Plan B

We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance. Because many things don’t go as well as we would like them to, it’s a great idea to have a “Plan B.” Having fallback plans can’t help but make you feel better about the  outcome  of  any  situation,  and  it  is  a  common denominator among very self-confident people.

Anyone  who  has  had  more  than  one  failure  in her  life  can  tell  you  that  having  another  path  to  take probably saved her bacon a time or two. I’m a big one for  contingency  plans.  If  you  are  an  entrepreneur,  in the  arts  or  media,  or  you  have  all  your  eggs  in  one basket, a Plan B is essential.

Knowing that if you lose the farm you have a condo you can go to makes you feel safer in the world. I know a number of people who have motor homes, and one of the reasons they do is, as they jokingly say, it’s their “in case” home. During the last big earthquake here in Los  Angeles,  many  people  who  had  them  were  very grateful—and those of us who didn’t were envious.

With the world economy in turmoil, creating some kind of additional income stream is also a good idea. The jeweler who is also a great designer or builder, the computer  geek  who  can  also  teach  school,  or  the  PR person  who  is  a  closet  novelist  can  all  find  a  way  to thrive even if their current position disappears.

Backup  plans  don’t  have  to  be  new  ideas—I continue  to  use  aspects  of  everything  I’ve  ever  done. My days on stage playing guitar have made me a better public speaker, which makes me a good radio host. The energy  I  put  into  songs  and  poems  has  helped  them become columns and books.
The years I spent running my  own  business  give  me  the  insight  to  help  others streamline theirs. 

And all of my experiences have made me  a  confident  and  successful  therapist.  Every  talent and  ability  you  have  can  be  built  upon  and  also  used again.  Not  that  I’d  ever  again  want  to  be  on  a  tour bus with six smelly guys for eight weeks, but if I had to I could still put food on the table by humming and strumming.

There’s  another  potential  upside  here:  Sometimes your  original  plan  and  your  backup  can  work  at  the same time. I still counsel, consult, write, and speak to groups all over the world. In years when the speaking business  got  very  slow  (such  as  after  9/11  and  then the  financial  crisis),  I  spent  more  time  writing  and counseling.

When  there  was  a  lull  between  books, I  put  more  energy  into  my  radio  show  and  business consulting, and did pro-bono events. Having multiple options gives you the sense that, if any one thing went away, you’d have other gigs that would more than fill the gap.

So get a little creative. Look at your past accomplishments and your current talents. A Plan B is only an idea away. By the way, this Plan B thing works in life, but not in relationships. Having a backup mate is only going to erode your current relationship and cause heartache for everyone involved. Enough said.


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