Learn to Stay Confident with the Proper “Mental Stance”
by John Davie
To be able to make consistent improvement in any athletic endeavor, especially those as challenging as Martial Arts like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Grappling, Wrestling and Muay Thai Kickboxing, it is critical to keep your confidence level high in order to maintain the necessary motivation and work ethic. Here are some important concepts to understand.
1. Self Talk or “Inner Dialogue”
This is critical for personal success. There is great power in what we consistently say to ourselves as a matter of habit. You must learn to become aware of your own “inner dialogue” in order to begin to separate the negative ideas from the positive ones. Much of this is “below the surface” of our conscious everyday awareness so it takes quite a bit of practice to retrain yourself to habitually talk to yourself in a positive manner. It is worth the effort because the rewards are HUGE! Use words like “strong”, “capable”, “intelligent”, and “successful” to describe yourself. If you have to be critical always balance it with a positive idea. Learn to rephrase the questions you ask yourself as well. Instead of asking yourself something like, “why am I so stupid ?” ask, “How can I avoid this same thing from happening?” or, “What did I learn from making this mistake?”. This will help keep you mentally strong and confident and help you honestly discover your hidden weaknesses.
2. “Emotional Hygiene”
No matter what you are feeling, be it stress, fear, anger, do not let your emotions run rampant. This will only be achieved if you are in tune with yourself enough to pinpoint how you are feeling and the reasoning behind the emotion. Then you can desensitize yourself to the raw, animalistic, instinctual being you have become and make clear headed, logical decisions instead of wild and out of control emotional ones. Make the effort to keep your emotions “clean” and tidy by acknowledging negative feelings, then gently guiding yourself to more positive feelings.
Learn to mentally rehearse any situation where you may face adversity and simply allow yourself to “see” the best possible outcome happening. The key is “allowing” because often we find ourselves choosing only to see an outcome which we do not desire or we question how the outcome we desire is even possible. So set aside any doubts and just play the game of allowing yourself to feel the best result.
This one is often misinterpreted but so powerful. Humility is essentially saying “I don’t know”. If you can allow yourself to “not know”, you free yourself. You don’t have to know what the outcome of a competition will be for example, just put yourself in a position to win and then let the chips fall where they may. You don’t have to know everything, control everything, be the best at everything and do everything better than everyone else. Be respectful to everyone knowing that you are just one of billions of people on this planet and you will feel relieved.
5. Present Moment Awareness
A great exercise to bring yourself back to the present moment is to take account of 5 things you see, hear, feel, taste and smell. If you can learn to consistently bring yourself back to the present moment you will find that much of what bothers you is happening in your imagination of the past or the future. It’s always OK in the present moment, even if you happen to be feeling discomfort or pain you will learn that it’s really the fear of pain that is actually worse than the actual experience. Along the same lines is your body awareness. Learn to check your posture and hold your head high with your chest out and demonstrate good “Command Presence”. It has been proven that the simple act of assuming a confident physical stance helps you actually feel more confident.
6. Personal Relationships
If you are surrounded by negative people in your life they will eventually bring you down. No matter how positive you try to be, it’s like trying to pull someone up a cliff, it’s harder to bring them up than for them to bring you down. Carefully analyze the people in your life and ask yourself if they are worth it. One of the greatest benefits of being a member of a great team or gym is that you will be surrounded by people at their best who really want to make themselves better and that will have a huge positive impact on you.
8. Sense of Humor
It is so important to have a good sense of humor in order to relieve the pressure of everyday life. Be quick to laugh, especially at yourself. Don’t take yourself too seriously because we are all just goofy humans. Make sure your sense of humor is in good taste and not at the expense of others.
9. Sense of Purpose Beyond Ego
If you do everything for your own gratification you will eventually find yourself alone and bitter. Your most powerful motivation comes from being of service to others and helping others succeed.
10. Personal Integrity
Your word is bond – do what you say you’re going to do. If you are a person of integrity and you consistently meet your responsibilities and commitments, people will rely on you and have confidence in you. When people have confidence in you, you will have confidence in yourself because we see ourselves through others as a reflection.