Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
Preparing for a big occasion?
I’ve come to realize that one of the most important things you need to learn to do is to control your fear, worry and nerves. This is probably equally important to all your preparation.
Worrying and overthinking is really a form of shooting yourself in the foot.
When you’re worried, you simply cannot perform at your best, thus negating all your previous preparation:
- You have difficulty concentrating, with all the racing thoughts in your head.
- Your decision-making ability is impaired.
- You start to doubt yourself and the hours upon hours of training you have put in that even brought you all the way here in the first place.
It’s a strange thing. It isn’t logical
Think about a professional football player stepping up to take a penalty kick in a World Cup Final.
He has done this 1000 times before in training. Under normal circumstances he could score the goal with his eyes closed. But under the circumstances the pressure is too great. The weight of the world is on his shoulders. So he capitulates and misses.
Or does he?
The answer to this question could be the difference between a champion and bungler.
The mindset of a champion
I really like this passage from Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans. It is a passage where WWE Superstar Paul Levesque (better known by his stage name, Triple H) describes a time he met his friend Floyd Mayweather backstage before a huge fight.
I’m friends with Floyd Mayweather, and I was walking him to the ring one time, I think when he fought Marquez. I wanted to watch some of the undercard, and we got there early. Then his guys came and got me and said, ‘Floyd just wanted to say hi before he starts getting ready, chat with you for a few minutes.’ So Steph—my wife—and I went backstage, we get in his locker room, and he’s lying down on the couch watching a basketball game. He said, ‘Hi, have a seat.’ We’re talking a little bit, but I’m trying to be ultra-respectful of him. He’s about to go into this massive fight.
The second there’s a lull in the conversation, I say, ‘All right, man. We’re gonna get outta your hair and head back, and we’ll come back here when it’s time for us to get ready for your deal.’ And he’s like, ‘Man, you don’t gotta take off. You can sit down. I’m enjoying the conversation.’ He’s completely relaxed.
So at another lull in the conversation, I say, ‘We’re gonna run, Floyd. I don’t wanna be in your way,’ and he says, ‘Hunter, I’m telling you: I’m just chilling, watching the game.’ I said, ‘You’re not wound up about this at all?’ and he goes, ‘Why would I be wound up? I’m either ready or I’m not. Worrying about it right now ain’t gonna change a damn thing. Right? Whatever’s gonna happen is going to happen. I’ve either done everything I can to be ready for this, or I haven’t.’ [emphasis added]
Can you imagine that? Such simple, almost child-like logic, yet so profound.
I guess this is one of the pitfalls of adulthood, we lose a lot of our child-like innocence and simplicity in viewing the world.
So simple and logical, yet much easier said than done.
But why? Human psychology is a funny thing.
Unfortunately, I haven’t got the answer to this yet.
Perhaps we will never know.
In the meantime, we should just pay heed to ancient wisdom:
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.