When you step on the pitch, it turns out there are 2 types of mindsets to live the game by:
- The perfectionist mindset.
- The optimalist mindset.
Let me explain…
The perfectionist is the footballer whose standards are way above his reach, he is the one who sets impossible goals, and measures his self-worth only in terms of achievement; if I win I’m the king of the world, but if I lose I’m nothing. There’s no middle ground at all.
The perception of the perfectionist footballer is based on the viewpoint of “all or nothing”, which means that everything needs to be perfect or else. Every pass, every movement has to be perfect just as I expect myself to be. Any result which is less than perfect equals failure.
When do problems begin?
It all starts when the “all or nothing” mentality makes the perfectionist interpret every mistake, every turnover, every obstacle and disruption, any unexpected change in plans in a way that causes him to anticipate disaster and causes an attack on his self-worth.
As you can see, the perfectionist refuses to accept any failure, he refuses to deal with difficult emotions, and painfully as it sounds, he also refuses to acknowledge his own success. It does sound quite strange, but the perfectionist doesn’t know how to celebrate his success, and it’s quite obvious why, right?
According to his viewpoint, life is a never-ending race, so even when he does reach success, it’s temporary, he can enjoy his success for two seconds, and then what happens? He starts worrying about reaching his next target, in the next game. He starts worrying what could happen if he would fail to achieve that.
The perfectionist pays a costly emotional price for his refusal to accept reality, because in the reality of the real world, the odds for failure are always there. His resistance for accepting failure as an option creates anxiety, depression, low self image, daily self-flagellation, and at the end of the day he is without the results he wanted.
In contrast to that, there’s the optimalist.
The optimalist also have high standards and aspirations, he too wants to succeed in a big way, to have a loving partner, to be a proud parent, a friend, and an inspiring footballer.
So how is he different from the perfectionist?
The optimalist is totally and completely different in his mindset to the process of achieving his goals/objectives. The difference is also reflected in the level of happiness throughout the process. In other words, their path for accomplishing their goals is different.
The perfectionist suffers while he’s on his way (he judges himself for every little mistake).
While the optimalist has flow while he’s on his journey (he’s more forgiving about himself for his mistakes).
The optimalist accepts the fact that in the competitive world of football, there is no way to avoid a certain degree of failure and sadness. He knows that success needs to be measured according to achievable criteria.
Why is that important?
It’s important because when we set practical goals/objectives before a game, that are under OUR CONTROL, goals we can fulfill during a game, we can experience success just because we accomplished our goals that we set for ourselves.
Alongside with accepting the fact that failure, loss and painful feelings are part of the game, then suddenly life is no longer a roller coaster of feelings.
Are you beginning to see that the optimalist has a much better life?
The optimalist doesn’t reject reality, he looks at it straight in the eye and adapts himself with love and creativity.
By the way, you’ll be interested to hear that the word optimalist doesn’t originate from the word optimistic, but from the word “optimal” ,in Latin “optimus”, which means “one’s possible best”, not perfect. The best for me considering the circumstances.
Your goal for today is to live your journey for success from the perspective of the optimalist. By accepting reality, and not rejecting it, and by starting to do your best in the way for fulfilling our ambitious goals.
A winning self talk
A true winner wins the game first in his mind, with his internal dialogue he has with himself.
Here are six winning self-talk affirmations for you to have on the go, for those moments in need, before a game:
- As a footballer I will always aspire to be perfect in training, but I will accept the fact that I cannot always be perfect at the game — It’s called “being human”, therefore I will accept the fact that mistakes are a natural part of ourselves, of being human.
- Today, I will allow myself to make a mistake — and to continue playing without feeling bad about that. The moment I would give myself true acceptance for making a mistake, I will easily get “in the zone” of having flow, fun and results.
- Today I’m going to recover/bounce back from a mistake with the least amount of time — NEXT is the key word of winners. There is no analysing and no self-judgment, to the contrary, there’s compassion and quickly looking out for seizing the next opportunity, because that’s what winners do. Winners seize the next opportunity for success while the others recreate their last mistake.
- Today I’m going to play effectively, not perfectly -Today is not the time to “geek it out”, to over analyse things and think about everything from every direction. Instead. I choose to be efficient, like an acrobat who walks on a cable 200 meters high up in the air, and doesn’t think, but rather trusts (himself) and his body that knows what to do. In other words, less thinking, more doing, greater results.
- Today I’m going to perform/accomplish the goals/objectives that I’m skilled at — sticking to the “bread and butter”, performing things I know and love doing, things I do very well.
- Today I Will keep all the commentary and the grades for after the game — I will not try to fix myself during the game. I will keep my inner critic/the critic/the critical voice at home. After the game I can always invite my inner critic over for feedback, and talk about the quality of my performance.
Here are a few winning affirmations you can choose from:
- “I promise to aspire for perfection while in training, but I fully accept the fact that I cannot always be perfect during performance.”
- “I choose to accept the fact that I’m human who makes mistakes, and that’s awesome because it means that I dared and took a shot at it.”
- “I choose to focus on my professional goals/objectives instead of the scoreboard , or with what other people think.”
- “I choose to be the best I can be today according to the circumstances.”
- “To be human, that’s the new perfect.”
Good Luck Champ