We’d all like a competitive advantage, right? Studies of top performers in any field show that what sets them apart is not only their physical or technical skills – it’s how they control their minds. Here are 6 proven methods to help you control yours.
1. Set a High Bar for What’s Possible
In 2010 Galen Rupp announced he planned to break the record for the 10,000 meter race. Not only did he break the record, two of his competitors broke records that same night too. Why? Because the moment he made his announcement record-breaking became a possibility.
This is also true for everyday things. It doesn’t work to think, “My boss will be nice to me today,” because our minds can’t control other people, but we can set the bar, “I’m going to be happy at work today.”
2. Manage Your Expectation Assimilation
Expectation assimilation is the fancy term for how our brain and body fulfill our expectations. I see it every winter in heartspark classes. People who worry and talk about getting a cold or the flu end up getting sick. Those who claim to “never get sick” or share what they do to prevent illness stay well. Their expectations around illness shape their physiology.
3. Dream Big
Research shows that we should set goals that we think have a 60% chance of success. Fear creates momentum. It’s that 40% chance of failure that motivates us to act. So re-look at your goals and make sure they feel a little less than possible. We call that making sure it “requires magic” at heartspark.
4. Reframe Your Competitors as Your Friends
The person ahead of you is simply showing you what is possible – just like Galen Rupp did for his competition when he broke the record for the 10,000 meter. Your competitors are saying, “You can do this!”
5. Create Your Own Placebo
Placebos are when a “fake” treatment produces positive results, as in a 2014 trial that found sugar pills knocked out lower back pain just as powerfully as acetaminophen did.
The power of placebos is the expectation of a positive result. What are your unconscious expectations? Top performers expect to win and this belief radically influences their success. Why? Their expectation of success changes their behavior and how they see opportunities.
This can be hard to do intentionally on you own, but I bet you’ve done it unintentionally. I have a friend who is an avid cyclist. He bought a new helmet that promised a more aerodynamic experience. Increased speed followed. I didn’t believe a helmet could make a measurable difference, but sure enough, his expectation changed his outcome.
6. Beware of Mental Handicapping
While positive expectations can increase our success, negative expectations can harm it. This is called a nocebo (the opposite of placebo). Nocebo is Latin for “I will harm.” If you believe something will have a negative effect, it probably will. Success isn’t just about raising your expectations; it’s also about eliminating the harmful ones.
I’m planning on introducing placebos as a topic of conversation at a future heartspark Connections. They fascinate me.
If this sounds like the type of conversation you would like to join into, and you live in the greater Portland metropolitan area, come on over to a heartspark Connections. Consider yourself personally invited!