Monday, March 19, 2018

Red Heads and Blue Heads.



About a year ago I wrote in praise of James Kerr’s book Legacy.  And just last week I wrote about the Power of Three.

This got me thinking again about Mental Toughness, the All Blacks, and how we can all get better about thriving in our Crazy World.  The brain has three parts (of course!):
-         Instinct
-         Thought
-         Emotion.

Under pressure one of them shuts down.  Which one?  Yes – Thought.

A Pressure Situation is one where:
-       Something important is at stake,
-       Trauma of previous experience is triggered,
-       There is: conflict, dissent, dispute, aggression, urgency, a deadline, a ticking clock,
-       There is distraction.
Then:
-       The shutters come down,
-       Our horizons narrow,
-       There’s no escape,
-       We’re overwhelmed,
-       We shut down, panic or become overly aggressive,
-       We choke,
-       We make poor decisions.

We become HOT:
-       Heated
-       Overwhelmed
-       Tense

We must go back to the Power of Three – and to the All Blacks and ACT.

To ACT:
-       Alternatives.  Look for options, adapt, adjust and overcome.
-       Consequences.  Understand the risk / reward equation and to choose.
-       Task.  Stay on task and execute.

Developing Mental Toughness comes in two parts.  Mental and Toughness (surprise, surprise).

Mental Capacity:       Toughness Capability:
Confidence                  Practice
Concentration              Precision
Composure         +       Problem-Solving
Control                        Positive
Completion                  Performer

And here are some pointers on each for you to think about.

Mental Capacity. 
Confidence.
-       Self-belief based on prior achievement, knowledge and clarity of personal purpose.
Concentration.
-       Shutting out of distractions in favour of focusing on the immediate task; and avoidance of negative thinking or negative self-talk.
Composure.
-       Remaining calm and focused when handling pressure.
Control.
-       Emotional mastery that enables clarity of thought and action.
Completion.
-       Can envisage the final successful act of performance.

Toughness Capability.
Practice.
-  A systematic pre-performance routine of listening, learning, executing skills/drills that melds with the desired mental-emotional state of mind.
Precision.
-       Recognises and visualises the necessary detailed steps required to perform at peak.
Problem-solving.
-       Systematic adoption of affirmative coping strategies using practical knowledge and mental imagery.
Positive.
-       Construction of a positive mental approach and attitude to all aspects of life, savouring life’s pleasures through anticipation and reminiscence.
Performer.
-       Has success systems in place while using failure as a stepping stone for future achievement.

It’s not getting any easier out there.  We’ve all got to toughen up.

KR