It has been said that we cannot outperform our own self image. These are the beliefs we have about ourselves as people.
1. I don’t deserve/am not worthy to succeed.
2. I’m rubbish/stupid/lazy.
3. If I succeed then people won’t like/love/want me.
4. If I fail then people won’t like/love/want me.
5. I’m not a lucky person.
Some people are not consciously aware that they have this type of belief they just carry it around like a piece of excess luggage. Because it’s been there so long they assume something like ‘that’s the way I am.’ without questioning it. You may be aware of an inner voice which just nags away with jibes such as:
1. ‘You’re not good enough’
2. ‘You don’t deserve to be here’
3. ‘You stupid idiot for missing that simple putt’
4. ‘You’ll never be good enough’
5. ‘You can’t handle the pressure’
Often our own beliefs about what we are capable of severely limit us. By pushing our boundaries of what we believe we are capable of, we can aspire to new levels. Often players find themselves leaving their comfort zone when they find themselves playing well during a tournament. This is because it conflicts with their own beliefs about their abilities. It is only when they drop a few shots and go back into their comfort zone that they relax and start to play well again. Jack Nicklaus hinted at this when he said:
‘A person’s results are a direct result of their levels of aspiration and inspiration.’
We can also have beliefs about other people and outside factors such as these:
1. I can’t win this competition, the field is too good.
2. I never play well in poor conditions.
3. I can’t play well this time of the year.
4. I can’t play on this course.
So what can we do to change negativity?
1. Make a list of 5 situations where, for some reason, you did not perform well in competition.
2. Make a guess at what beliefs you had which caused you to perform not to the best of their ability.
3. Then, write down the impact it would make on your life and golf results if you no longer had these beliefs.
Knowing the impact of limiting beliefs, the benefits of changing them should give you the motivation you need to change them. While being positive doesn’t always mean you will win, a negative attitude will almost certainly mean you won’t win. A positive/realistic attitude puts you into the right frame to have the best chance of success. It is also true that negative beliefs and thoughts have a huge impact on performance, so if we find it difficult to be positive then we must at least learn ways of managing negative thinking to keep it to a minimum and hence give ourselves a chance.
It is important to note the difference between possible truths and a limiting belief. Limiting beliefs limit us in the future, whereas statements of possible truth are valid for the past and the present only. Negative beliefs show rigid, inflexible thinking styles.