Today, I need to write to escape from politics. I want to be optimist. And optimism is what brings me to this post. Let me share with you a brief story.
One of my young daughters is in competitive sports. Her performance is quite decent so far; however, when things go South for whatever reason, her brain does not let her to perform to the level she expects. Without boring you with too many details, I thought the challenge was moving from negative to positive thinking. “Yes, positive thinking is the recipe against adversity, as negative thinking always ends up with negative results”, I thought. But I had no clue how to initiate the change, so we asked for professional advice.
Yesterday, we had the privilege to enjoy a working session with an awesome, top notch clinical psychologist specialized in sports psychology. I dragged my daughter there with the expectation the conversation would influence her to start thinking more positively. To my surprise, the initial statement was that negativity is not always a bad thing. People’s behaviors in competitive fields (i.e. elite sports players, special forces, corporate environment) might be driven by selfishness, anxiety, threat and fear. Even negativity.
I learnt this is OK. I learnt it would be delusional to pretend bringing all the people we care about to our positive side. I learnt to understand that selfishness, fear, anger, aggressiveness, anxiety and threat are common traits (and somehow necessary to perform in demanding environments), as not everybody is a calmed human being. And I learnt the game changer is to “reset”, as those feelings can get to drain, paralyze and short-circuit our brains, even poking the beasts we have inside. Those of us with a calmer approach to life can make a real difference in our professional and personal environments by not shutting others off, but by helping them transitioning and switching from Red to Blue zones. Because in the blue brain is where we are relaxed, where we can maximize control of our tasks and perform to our best. Easier said than done, resetting and shifting is the key.
My daughter might be too young to grab these concepts (she thought the color coding of our brain was a bit childish…); we hope the seed was planted so she will be able to make the necessary shifting by herself, using certain tools we learnt. The idea is not that she would benefit in her sports performance only, but in all aspects of her personal and future professional life.
Until the day that seeds grows into my daughter, it was me who learnt a lot yesterday. To be mindful. To accept. And to commit.