Every day brings us setbacks and issues we need to handle. These often trigger negative thought patterns. Here's how to reverse them.
Preparation applies to every day life, not just sports or business. But your mental strength is determined by what happens when the plan falls apart.
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Welcome back. I’m Alan Gordon, creator of the Cycle of Mind System. As always, thank you for supporting this podcast with your five star reviews and ratings. I’m very grateful for your support.
One of my Students recently asked me a question, and I thought this podcast would be a great place to discuss the subject in some depth.
I’m always talking to my Students about good mental habits and bad mental habits, so here was the question: What is an example of a bad mental habit, and how do you correct it?
I thought that was a great question, so let’s talk about bad mental habits and how to fix them.
When we talk about mental habits, I want to start by saying I think it’s unfortunate that the only people who have mental coaches, the only people who get the benefit of world class mental coaching are the military, elite athletes, sports teams and a few multi-millionaire celebrities.
The truth is, average people would get great benefit if they had a great mental coach. But the people in our society who have access to elite mental coaches are few in number.
There are a few elite mental coaches, but these top mental coaches only work with elite people. Why? Because if they are actually good, if they actually can create new mindsets – then the elite athletes and elite teams will seek them out and hire them. But they can’t work with six different football teams – so they only work with one – and that one team pays a lot of money to an elite mental coach.
But you don’t get the advantage of working with these top coaches. If you ever did hire a mental coach, their level of skill would not be near the skill of these elite mental coaches. Elite athletes make millions of dollars with a winning season, every goal is worth another million in endorsements. Sports teams are worth billions of dollars, one national championship, one World Series, one Super Bowl can generate a hundred million dollars in increased value. That’s an example of who the elite mental coaches work for.
And what do these mental coaches do so well?
They get right down to the nub of their clients thoughts. They have systems to specifically isolate bad mental habits and replace them with positive mental habits. They teach their clients how to regulate their own thought patterns. If you listen to them carefully, they have actually created their own language to isolate and describe certain thought patterns.
When you pay a mental coach, the first thing they do is help you set up routines and plans. Preparation and organization is the first step – they look at preparation from a dozen different ways – physical preparation, mental preparation, diet, sleep. This is how you prepare – always aware of yourself, always in control of yourself. Whatever you do, do it on purpose. Have a plan.
Creating a mental plan can be overwhelming for a lot of people, but that’s where a great coach comes in and helps you get it done. Now you can begin your preparation.
Great teams spend 90% of their time preparing.
The king of this mindset of preparation is Nick Saban, who has won six college football national championships. And he demands an extraordinary level of preparation from his players, but he demands no less from his Assistant Coaches, his equipment managers, his medical staff, the bus drivers, the stadium crew – everyone who is involved in the Alabama football program lives by his mandate that you be prepared, and always do the right thing.
Here’s how he says it to his student athletes – 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 years old. And he specifically tells them that this mindset of preparation carries through to their school work, the weight room, and the dormitory. Here’s his advice.
In every situation,
Know your responsibility,
Understand your responsibility, and
Execute your responsibility
~ Nick Saban
Your mind is completely focused on the game as it flows. And because you have prepared, then whatever happens, you know exactly what you’re supposed to do, and more importantly – you know why you’re supposed to do it.
Your mental coach understands that your Mind is like a super-computer, and particularly in athletics, your Mind and Body work together to unconsciously calculate what to do. Your mental coach will help you prepare for dozens of scenarios. The more you prepare, the more efficiently your Mind and Body operate in sync – you think less, and flow more.
That is the purpose of mental preparation. To always know what to do.
But the reality of competition, the reality of life is quite different.
“Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.”
~ Mike Tyson
Not even the greatest get to the top with no setbacks. Setbacks happen all the time in sports, in an acting career, in business, and certainly in our lives.
When things don’t go as you planned, this is where the bad mental habits rush in and take over. It’s easy to be calm and prepared when things are going well, but the true test of your mental strength comes when things are falling apart, when they’re not going your way.
I’m going to share with you two bad mental habits – there are many more – but these are two bad habits. So if you can identify with these habits, then you need to address them right now.
Whatever bad mental habits you have, there is one simple technique you can use in an instant – to stop it.
The first one I call “Catastrophe Avalanche.”
At some point in the game, at some point in our lives – no matter how well prepared we are – we will experience upset, turbulence, discomfort, unhappiness, disappointment. There will come many times when we are not in control, and things are happening to us. Events push us and cause us to lose our balance. Some people are in a constant state of imbalance, and are always upset, turbulent, unhappy, disappointed, angry.
Right in this imbalance is where our first mental habit lives – Catastrophe Avalanche. If you have this habit, now is the time to fix it.
Whenever something bad happens, whenever our happiness is under attack, it shocks our Mind, and it shocks our emotions. We are out of balance, within seconds our Mind launches into predicting a never ending series of terrible things that will happen next. I call it avalanching. You’re shocked and upset, so you can’t help but think of how this will affect your future.
Another form of this bad habit is called Catastrophe Looping where you repeat and dwell on the negative over and over again like a record player looping around and around. You go for days and days repeating these stories about how you were treated unfairly – and these loops recede into your Subconscious and years later you still remember how you were wronged.
You can often hear yourself in this looping thought pattern in the middle of the night – when it’s completely still and you are alone with your thoughts. You loop around your problems over and over until finally you fall into an unhappy sleep.
I love hockey, and it’s a really good example. I’m a Tampa Bay Lighting fan and if they start the first period flat and turning the puck over and making mistakes – when the other team scores I start avalanching. I’m thinking, Man we looked awful. If we play like that, we’re going to lose 10 nothing. We won’t win a game all year, let alone make it to the playoffs. Then I remember what happened last year, and in just 60 seconds after letting up that first goal, my whole season is ruined.
Your phone rings at work and it’s your child’s teacher who tells you your child has been in an accident – he’s fine, but can you come pick him up. The whole drive to school, you’re avalanching all the terrible things that it could be. All kinds of possibilities go through your Mind.
A child does poorly on a test, and he gets mired in the failure and sees no possibility of doing better, so he settles into thinking he’s stupid.
Your car breaks down and all you can think about is how much this is going to cost for the tow truck, and the repairs, and then you can’t stop stressing about money.
So a mental coach will help you become self-aware so you can notice when you start avalanching, when you start dwelling or looping on the negative – and give you a quick technique to get back to the game, and off the sequence of bad thoughts, and back onto your mental plan. We planned for this, and the plan was to get your Mind right back to the plan.
See one of the things that makes a champion, a leader, a great coach is that they never dwell on the negative – every situation to them is an opportunity to learn and make corrections.
So here’s the technique, and it couldn’t be any simpler. Every time you feel your thoughts go sideways, snap your fingers or touch your head and bring your Mind right back to your mental game plan.
It’s a shame that this level of mental coaching is only available to elite athletes and celebrities, because it is actually average everyday people who would benefit the most from these techniques. So now you have one technique that elite athletes use to instantly get out of their own head and get back to their game plan.
The truth is, you have to be your own coach, because no matter how hard your coach works, only you can do the preparation, and only you can decide not to dwell on the negative.
So every time you feel yourself in a negative thought pattern, just snap your fingers or touch your head and take your Mind back to the game plan you’ve been preparing for.
If you’re a CEO, you can see how Catastrophic Avalanching could be a problem. If something bad happens – and CEOs get bad news every day – they can’t dwell on the bad news. The management teacm adopts the thinking then the employees all pick up on the negative energy, and they start avalanching on the negative. Worry, fear and negativity grip the entire company, and it’s almost impossible to change the culture and get out of the negative mindset.
You can see how Catastrophic Avalanche is a no-no for a salesman – every time they lose a sale, and they lose sales all the time – they can’t dwell on the bad news. Snap your fingers or touch your head and dial the next phone number – get back to your plan.
And you can see how Catastrophic Avalanche is a no-no for a parent – every time their child doesn’t get a question right, or every time their child doesn’t win the game – they can’t avalanche – because that child is depending on them to be their biggest fan. Dwelling on a child’s shortcomings causes them to do the same. If a child struggles with reading, then sit with him he’s a great reader. “I think you’re a great reader. Let’s try again.” Your children’s lives literally are guided by how you react to them when they’re not perfect.
Bad things happen all the time, but dwelling on the negative creates worry and fear, and destroys our happiness. These are two terrible habits – Avalanching a catastrophe, or looping a catastrophe – or both.
But this is fixable. As soon as you feel your thinking going sideways, snap your fingers or touch your head and get your Mind back on your best and highest thoughts – go back to your Mental Structure.
In the Cycle of Mind System you will work up a very detailed mental game plan, and as soon as you feel yourself dwelling on something negative, because you have taken the time to grow your self-awareness, you are able to get right back to your intentional positive thoughts.
Whether you’re a Cycle of Mind Student or not, every time you feel yourself getting out of balance, every time life throws something at you, just snap your fingers or touch your head and get your Mind back to Character, Values and Principles.
And please jump onto my Facebook Group where we are always talking about Mind. And I’ll be having some live Q&A sessions on Facebook very soon.
For those of you who may want to dig deeper into the Cycle of Mind System and begin taking control of your own thoughts, your first step would be to register for: “A FREE Course in Happiness.” That will get you started on the right path.