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Results Don’t Always Equal Confidence

Tennis, Golf, Basketball, Formula 1.

All professional sports. All highly paid sportspeople. All with a very high following. All from sports that are widely televised.

But one other thing they have in common: during their season, the participants must perform weekly.

Does the repetition or consistency of competition become negative or positive?

For most, if you are winning, chances are the opportunity to keep your success on a roll would be seen as a positive. And therefore, I suppose it would be the opposite if success wasn’t forthcoming. Coming from a less-than-satisfactory result into another competition might not be the easiest thing in the world.

All common sense when you think about it.

But from my perspective and experience – not always true. And please allow me a minute to explain. But before I do, it is only fair to point out that I am no psychologist. What I am saying is not based on in-depth research, just my forty years of experience dealing with elite sportspeople.

I have often been known to state that confidence comes from demonstrated ability. And it does.

However, in saying that, I think it is equally important not to get dragged into the easy thinking that, just because someone was victorious the last time they competed (and not just in a sporting sense), they are going to be confident about their next competitive engagement.

The fact is, the confidence that comes from the demonstrated ability must be taught. It has to be taught so that the person involved develops their confidence levels from the factors involved in their last success and knows how those attributes will continue to serve them well in their subsequent competitive encounter.

The days of psyching someone up on manufactured talk and psychological babble are few and far between. These days it is a fact, rarely an option, that will generate the desired levels of confidence.

So if we return to the examples above of the golfer, the basketballer, the tennis player or the formula one driver, just like you and me, they don’t always see the instant connection between their past success and their next competitive experience.

They might see it as a different venue, conditions, opponents, environment– additional, various, other!

And for most, “different” is the thing that prevents yesterday’s success from becoming the momentum into tomorrow’s achievements.

So when we talk about confidence from demonstrated ability, the aspects you take confidence from having to be directly applicable to the next instalment of competitive fervour.

The factors you use to gain belief, confidence and momentum must be specific and factual. They have to be able to be translated from one experience to the next. They have to allow the person involved to see how these success aspects will serve them well the next time the bell tolls.

The individual involved has to understand the aspects that will help build their confidence. You can help the situation and the individual by pointing out the specific details from past triumphs and their relevance to future glories. Still, ultimately it is up to the person involved to take these pieces of information and build their confidence, belief, and desire.

Because in the end, you, I, or anyone else, cannot just tell someone why or how they should be confident. All we can do is provide the insight, the information, the perspective and the undeniable facts –and then stand back and let them draw their own conclusions. Confidence, like many other facets of human psychology and emotion, is best created from within.

The Journey Continues!

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