Confidence and belief fluctuate in the face of competition - so how do you ensure you optimise yours? Some people plan. Some people pray. And as Muhammad Ali suggests, some people pretend.
"To be a great Champion you must believe you are the best. If you're not, pretend you are." Muhammad Ali
Pretending you are the best, as Ali suggests, is a fine way to handle one-off obstacles and difficulties, but a far better strategy is to find methods that help you develop your life-long confidence and self-belief. Whilst nothing can better the experiences that life throws at you for developing these aspects it’s vital you engage the right kind of thinking when assessing your experiences.
Psychologists commonly divide beliefs into two types:
i) Empowering beliefs – those that support us and empower us to achieve our goals;
ii) Limiting beliefs – those that somehow limit our performance and/or hold us back from achieving our goals.
Empowering beliefs are great – the more, the merrier! But Limiting beliefs are nothing less than a tragedy – and the three most common forms of them are:
• Hopelessness: a belief that our goal is not achievable despite our skills and abilities. Typical words: “It doesn’t matter how hard I try, it won’t have an effect. It’s beyond my control.”
• Helplessness: a belief that the goal is possible, but not for us because we don’t have the required skills. Typical words: “I’m not good enough to get this goal. Other more skilled players can get it, but not me.”
• Worthlessness: a belief that we somehow don’t deserve the goal because of something that we have (or have not) done. Typical words: “I’m a fake; I don’t deserve to have this kind of success. I don’t belong with such people.”
Clearly none of these are helpful for performance.
Psychologist Albert Bandura, probably the world’s leading authority in this area, has declared: “A person’s beliefs about their skills and capabilities are a more accurate predictor of performance than what they have done in the past.”
And yet, it is past performance that so often dictates people's levels of confidence in their work or sport. If you would like help to improve confidence and belief – whether this is for individuals or teams – please contact
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