Tuesday, October 9, 2012

No more egg-citement

Good morning! I am not sure what happened with our beautiful weather....but it is cold and damp....yuk! I don't have heat in my work office and yesterday, it was quite chilly. The positive part of not having heat is that the meeting that I had went very fast!

So, what's going on? Actually, not much....

Buddy called a few times yesterday as he settles into the rhythm of life. Interestingly, this should have happened six weeks ago. No one is complaining, though. I am amazed as he is caught up with his school work and has no complaints. In fact, he was asking me how I was doing.....hmmmm....am I dying and no one told me? No one asks me how I am doing....usually....

Anyway, I was happy to report to him that I am on a winning streak in tennis. Yep, I broke out of my two month losing streak last week (barely). He was thrilled to hear it. I guess we have a great deal in common. He then shared with me that he was worried about losing once he is officially back in the game.

I actually had nothing to say to him about it, because it is a tough state of mind to be in when a person attaches so much to winning rather than the game itself. As we know, we lose more than we win. I tell my students and Buddy (when he is listening) that we learn more from our mistakes than our victories. In his case, the losses are more public. But this is his dream....to be in the majors....so, the agony of defeat is even more agonizing. When I lose, perhaps 7 people know or care about it. When he loses, the entire campus and conference know and comment on it. Ouch! I am pretty sure that I am not cut out for it, but he is....so, go baby go....

I read an article in a tennis magazine this week that reported research on the brain. To summarize, when something important like money or a prize is added to a competition, the brain changes. Therefore, as the ventral striatum shuts down due to the stress or pressure of the competition, the more people fail to deliver. In other words, they 'choked.'

This has multiple implications for any competitor as what is in our mind matters. Therefore, fearing failure can be a self fulfilling prophecy. Consequently, preparation of the body and mind are essential in any competition including taking a test, Jeopardy, and tiddly winks. Moreover, when a person competes, he or she should have a mechanism to turn off the dialog in the brain and just play their sport. Physical preparation is essential, that's why there are so many practices. But once the competition begins, click off the thoughts and emotions and get down to business.

And so, as fall ball continues, it is time to forget about the wins and losses and focus on the task at hand. Perhaps, this means that I could win again and be on a winning streak....or put it in perspective and just be happy for the moment and physical ability to play.

Time to go...have a great day!

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