Don’t worry, be happy
Control what you can, and let the rest go.
For the past three years I have been competing on the Oregon Rafting Team. Three years in a row I have captured the Western Whitewater series title in the R2 category. In 2011 our R6 team to third in the nation.
I have learned a lot about not being in control from rafting world class whitewater rivers. The tumultuous river is really in control. As a paddler, you have very little control over the power of the river, especially when you are running class V rapids. Just because you know the river is ultimately in control doesn’t mean you don’t paddle anyway. You control what you can. You stick you blade in the water and paddle as hard as you can, increasing power in the big water to get your boat over the big waves and out of the holes.
Every time you take a beginner out on the water you see it over and over again, beginners just stop paddling. When a novice paddler gets hit by the first big wave they stop paddling and relinquish the only thing they had control over to the river. Experienced paddlers are keenly aware of the importance paddling hard through the biggest rapids. Experience teaches that paddling is the only thing you can control. Paddling also keep you grounded in your seat and in the boat. You learn to control only what you can and be prepared for what you can’t control.
At Team Quest we always have guys asking about mental preparation for their fights. We cover a lot of different topics when it comes to mental preparation. There are a lot of great mental tools at our disposal including goal setting, visualization, and affirmations. All these mental tools are useful and helpful when it comes to success in all areas, not just competition. One of the most basic tools at our disposal for mental preparation isn’t about doing something, but rather not doing something, not worrying.
I try to get my athletes to only concern themselves with what they can control, their actions, their thoughts, and their character. Way too often we get caught up worrying about all the things we can’t control. There are so many things we can control, so why is it that we even bother thinking about all the things that are completely out of our control?
Our actions; include things like our diet and our weight cut. Nobody else can control what we eat and what goes in our bodies. We can control the amount of hours we put into our training. We can control the kind of training we do and the quality of the effort we put into our training. We can control the amount of rest we give our bodies when training.
Take a moment and list all the things you can control. After you have compiled a list of all the things that you can control, ask yourself are you doing everything you can that that is in line with your goals? Then, worry about making those things on your list priorities.
Our thoughts; you can control what we read, programs we watch, and who we listen to. I know it’s pretty obvious, but what we listen to, what we read, who we listen to are all in our control. It is so important that we safe guard the information we consume. There are way too many negative influences out there in the world from trash TV, radio shows, and all the garbage out there on the Internet. If you get caught up listening, watching, and reading all the gossip and negativity garbage out there you are just putting that garbage in your thoughts and on our mind. There will be people that don’t want to see you be successful. There are people out there that are jealous of you, they will judge and belittle you. They feel bad about themselves and want you to feel as awful as they do. You are in control of who you let in your inner circle. Stop caring about how people perceive you. Eliminate your exposure to toxic people it’s just as important and eliminating all the negative media.
Your character; is who you are, and you are in complete control of your character. You get to control your outlook on life and how you treat others. It’s next to impossible to be yourself when you’re caught up constantly wondering what others think of you. Don’t worry, some people will like you and some of them won’t, but you have no control over others thoughts and actions. To be yourself, you’ve got to let go of these concerns and just let your behavior flow. Besides, if you change yourself for one person or a group, that other person or group may not like you, and you could go on forever in a vicious cycle trying to please people instead of focusing on building up your talents and strengths. Being a people pleaser or always wanting everyone’s love and approval is a totally pointless exercise and in the end that can harm your personal development and confidence. Who cares what other people say, you can’t control it.
There will always be things that go wrong and are out of your control. Relax, don’t worry about the worst that could happen. I always tell my athletes “Hope for the best but plan for the worst.” Learn to laugh at all shit that can and will happen. Turn it into a funny story that you can tell. I’ve seen it all; a scale that didn’t work at weigh-ins or no scale to check weight before weigh-ins. What if you were told there was a sauna and you planned on using that sauna for your weight cut, but it turns out that the sauna is closed down for maintenance when you need it. Or what if you had a tough weight cut and you opponent showed up seven pounds over. Maybe your baggage never makes the trip and you have to go buy or borrow all the equipment or gear you need. If you seek to hard to control all the things that are out of your control, you will become rigid and if you become too rigid you will break.
Make a list of all the things that can go wrong and have a contingency plan. If you forgot to list something and that went wrong, be flexible, roll with it, AND laugh.