Hit The Center Of The Bull’s Eye
by Kevin Seaman
What pushes you to achieve greatness? What creates that drive you need in order push forward, regardless of obstacles, to accomplish the goals you hold in your heart? What is the motivation? The word motivation comes from the Latin phrase “to move forward” or reason to move forward. So, what is it that motivates you, moves you forward? As we have hit the end of 2010 and begin a new year, we should think about our GOALS and what we will accomplish as we move forward in the future as a fighter or coach, and in every area of our life!
In this issue’s Winning Mind Set column, I would like to discuss the approach to goal attainment that has worked for me. Take 5 minutes to read this and take the action in your life and you will never, ever be the same.
In The Cross Hairs
What is a Goal? A goal is like a target really. If you currently have clear, written goals to lead you forward, you are part of a very unique and elite group. You are aiming at the center of the bull’s eye of your target. You are in the top 3% of people who have high aspirations about their personal achievement.
It’s true, according to the experts less than 3% of North Americans have written, specific, detailed goals. Not only that, about 10% have goals committed to memory. This would be like aiming at the outside rim of your target. Committing goals to memory is not an adequate way to clearly focus on your objective. What about the remaining 87%? Well, they have no goals at all. But, why are goals so important in the first place?
My all time favorite coach Brian Tracy once told me, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there!” Most people don’t really know which road to take, simply because they don’t have a clear picture of their destination. Without a destination, it’s so easy for us to fall into the trap of complacency. To be content, just getting by day to day, without pushing to achieve the things we really want to change in our lives or succeed at. We may rationalize why we can’t succeed by using negative self-communication, telling ourselves we don’t have the skills, resources, knowledge, and education or time it takes to achieve what we want.
First, it’s not knowledge and education that makes people succeed. The world is full of skilled, educated, knowledgeable failures. People who succeed at anything have some very specific methods they utilize to accomplish their objective. But, first and foremost, you must know your objective or goal. People who succeed are those who…
1) Know specifically what they want! They have a specific goal or set of goals they want to achieve. So, write your goals down and be specific; the more detailed, the better. Something truly amazing happens when you write down your goals. It’s as if they are beginning to actually process in your mind the moment your pen hits the page. Designate a target date or time period to accomplish those goals; place your written goals where you can see them daily.
2) Have developed the ability to take consistent action. In other words, they will consistently do what it takes to succeed. Self-discipline, attitude, personal beliefs and values all play a major role in motivating us to take action toward our achievements. It is not your intentions, but rather it is your actions that will allow you to succeed. To quote a famous slogan, Just Do It!
3) Have persistence. They don’t give up! Every person you see who has achieved greatness has failed over and over to finally succeed. There are few unrealistic goals, only unrealistic time frames to accomplish them. Losers quit when they’re tired; winners quit when they’ve succeeded.
4) Learn from the end-results. If the approach they took didn’t work, they adjust their approach again and again until they get the results they want. Let me use an analogy to expand this idea. When I lived near the ocean, I used to sail whenever I had the opportunity. When a sailboat leaves a harbor in pursuit of a destination, it sets its compass in the direction of its objective. But, as the boat is challenged by the currents, the wind, and the weather the captain will need to change the boat’s direction and adjust the approach in order to succeed and reach his destination. Be flexible in your approach. You are the captain of your destination.
The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny. -James Allen
Develop The Muscle
One of the best ways to begin with goal setting as a habit is to work from a list on a daily basis. Here are a few tips on using a list to increase your productivity and develop your goal setting muscles.
1) Work from a list every day. Update your list for the next day the night before or first thing in the morning. Write it down! Something amazing will happen when you materialize your thoughts on to paper.
2) Hold fast to your “standard procedure” of working from your list, refusing to do anything that is not on the list. This is accomplished by updating your list as you work through your day.
3) Evaluate tasks by deadline. Whenever possible work on your largest or most difficult, least favorite task first. This will ensure it gets done, not ending up on the next day’s list. If you insist on completing the smaller tasks first you will make little headway. Small tasks will continue to appear as your day unfolds.
4) Evaluate your tasks for value and return. Which task will bring you the most return on your effort? One whale is worth a thousand buckets of minnows!
5) By working from a list everyday you will accomplish more in a week than most people do in months or even years.
6) Remember there is no such thing as unreasonable goals, just unreasonable time frames.
I just want to be known as the best ever, is that too much to ask?
I write my goals in a small hardbound journal. Use what you feel is best for you.
1) What do you want?
Write it down clearly and in complete detail. This is the “What” pertaining to your goals.
Example: I will compete in five Pro MMA events in 2010, being in the best shape of my life and performing to the best of my ability. I will develop my MMA skills by continuous, regimented daily training in the following areas: Stand up- footwork, individual striking w/ all tools, combination skills in Muay Thai. Transition/ground- positioning/angling, clinch, takedowns, submission, escapes/counters, G&P. Attribute qualities- timing, power, strength, flexibility, focus cardio and muscular stamina, dietary discipline, and mental training.
2) Make an “Action Plan” of everything you need to do to over the next few days, weeks, months get you closer to your goal. This is the “How”.
3) Organize your list in terms of activities pertaining to time and priority. What’s first, what’s most important? Next you need to set your deadlines and several sub-deadlines. This is the “When”
4) Why is this important to you? What would it mean to you? In order to be successful we must create a meaning for what we do. How would accomplishing these goals affect your life and your future? It is usually who we become while accomplishing our goals that is most important. This is the “Why”.
5) Take action toward your goal and begin immediately to do something to move you in the direction of your goal. What are you committed to do to take your first step forward?
Direct 100% total commitment toward the accomplishment of your goal. Flexibility is absolutely crucial; if what you’re doing isn’t working, change your approach, if that doesn’t work, change your approach again until you succeed.
“It is my opinion that developing a mindset of having clear, distinct, written GOALS and working toward these goals, daily and incrementally is the single most significant thing that will determine your ultimate success and absolute happiness in your life!”
Tapping Into Your Sub-Conscious
Any person who wants to be successful in anything, regardless of what it is, he or she will fail far more times than they will succeed. Riding a bike, we all fell down far more times than we succeeded in staying up at first. Learning to walk, did you ever see a baby walk on his first try? Conversely, did you ever see a baby get so frustrated and angry because he didn’t walk perfectly that he quit? So frustrated that he gave up and never tried again because he hadn’t gotten it yet? Of course not! But have you ever seen non-babies do that? Not you personally, but maybe people you know? Many people value success, but they also want to avoid feelings of failure (or feeling like a failure). The problem comes when a person’s fear or avoidance of failing prevents him from taking action and trying, or going through the necessary repetition of trial and error that it takes to master something. Remember, we all move toward pleasure and away from pain. Some of us are driven more by moving toward pleasure, some more by away from pain. Many times people set goals that have very little to do with what they truly value in life, or they set goals that do not take into account what they want to avoid. Then they wonder why they aren’t following through, and label themselves as lazy or undisciplined, that’s rarely the case. Usually, the problem is that people’s goals have nothing to do with their value system or how they like to be reinforced.
There is a unique cycle that occurs when we predicate goals that are in alignment with our values. As we work toward our value driven objective we feel totally natural in our pursuit and once this goal is achieved, our values are satisfied and supported by our accomplishment. Therefore our goals support our values and our values in turn support us in the direction of our goals. At this point you may say,”That’s great, Kevin”…but
How can I use this?
Here’s how! Get some leverage. Think of the goal or objective you wish to achieve, but have had difficulty completing. Make a clear picture of this goal in your head. Now, think of how great you would feel, when this goal was completed. Think of all the benefits you would gain and the feeling of total satisfaction knowing that you have accomplished this. Visualize yourself with a huge smile on your face, as you finish. Got that picture clear and complete in your mind’s eye. GOOD! Now, think of the negative emotions associated with not completing this same task. Think of the frustration you’ve experienced now and before as this goal once again slips away from your grasp. Think of how you will feel in the future as you embrace the loss of satisfaction and negative drain these emotions have, as you face the reality that you failed only because you have given up! Run these two mental videos over and over in your head. These visions are the carrot and the stick. Now, write “The Carrot and the Stick” on a small note pad and put the note somewhere conspicuous, somewhere you will see it daily for at least one week. When you see it run your mental video. In a short time you will begin to change your association to this goal and connect your emotional content via your values and the principle of pain and pleasure. I’ve had amazing results with this, and if you believe it, and try it, so will you.
You’ll never get where you want to be by focusing on what you fear. Instead focus on where you want to be. Have a great new year and the best of success in your near future!
“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot… and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that’s precisely why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
Each issue I will help you add another facet to your Mental Toolbox and guide you to develop your Mind Game. I look forward to hearing your results and feedback.
© Copyright 2011 all rights reserved, Kevin Seaman
Sifu Kevin Seaman has been involved in martial arts and martial athletics as a practitioner, competitor and trainer for nearly 40 years. He currently holds instructor rank certification in seven martial arts systems, is a certified boxing coach and performance specialist, having trained thousands of athletes. Sifu currently assists the training of several Pro MMA fighters, and teaches Muay Thai and Filipino Kali at Tai Kai Monday and Wednesday nights. He has contributed to several magazines, currently writes a column for Authority MMA Magazine, and authored two books.
Check out his book at www.thewinningmindset.com/book.html and more Winning Mind Set performance principles in the Vault at www.thewinningmindset.com
Look for his new book collaboration with Phil Migliarese due this year called The Gracie Legend.
If you enjoy this article and want to see more, please visit www.thewinningmindset.com to purchase the book
I ask every athlete and coach these two questions, and I am now going to ask you. First, “In competition, how much of an athlete’s success is attributed to their physical ability and how much is based on the mental aspects that an individual possesses and utilizes?” My question has been confirmed with a variety of statements, 50/50, 30% physical and 70% mental are the usual, yet all will admit that the mental component is critical to a the outcome. I have trained amateur and high-level Pro fighters for decades and I know the kind of ass-busting physical commitment that is required during a training camp to get in “fighting shape”. You work hard to be in peak condition, you work your standup and work your grappling game.
Now here’s my second question. “So, what do you do to train your Mind Game?” At this point most people just stare off searching for an answer. I have the answer! If you aren’t training the mental aspects needed to be the best in competition, you’re at most training at 50% of your potential.
As a teacher and coach of martial arts and martial athletics for over 30 years it is obvious to me that prior to, and during competition the mental aspects that are used by the performer are absolutely as crucial as are the physical qualities.
A Mental Toolbox
In this column I will give you some valuable keys utilized by many of the top athletes in the world and formulated by some of the leading coaches. Let’s start by building a Mental Toolbox, filled with the basic tools necessary to become the fighter or coach that you want to be. Here are the first five tools.
#1 A Belief in Yourself and Your Team- Your beliefs are based on the references you focus on, which in turn support that belief. These references (experiences) can be first hand (personal), second hand (you were told, you read, you saw), or imagined references and can substantiate your empowerment, giving you confidence or create the opposite effect, depending on your mindset. Our mind works by moving us in the direction of what we focus on. Focusing on our losses (what we don’t want) supports the belief that we will lose again and directs us toward all the possibilities surrounding our losses. In contrast, when we focus on our wins, we create a sense of strength through the possibility of continued victory. Our mind always leads us in the direction of our dominant thoughts.
“If you believe, then you have already taken the first step towards your achievement.”
#2 Visualize To Win- See it, then achieve it. Athletes have long used mental imagery prior to an event, just as warriors have before engaging in battle. Did you know that your subconscious mind can‘t really tell the difference between experiencing something vividly in your mind and actually doing it? In fact, the neuro-receptors in your brain respond almost identically. Your thoughts, self-talk and inner visions (visualizations) are electrochemical events that affect your performance on every level. Visualizing is a skill that needs to be honed, just like footwork, throws, positioning, locking and striking. When visualizing, focus on these four keys- Vividness, Frequency, Consistency, and Duration. When using the four strategies for visual success of vividness, frequency, consistency, and duration, you will see amazing results in your overall performance. This may just be the missing key that will unlock your potential and take you to a level you’ve never achieved. When you see yourself performing with intensity and emotion over and over, focused on the outcome you expect, your subconscious accepts that as real. It will be convincingly apparent by your outward confidence that you are completely committed toward your directive, and you will perform as though it were another victory. See it first in your mind’s eye and then achieve it in your LIFE.
#3 There Are Voices In My Head- Did you know that research has found that we talk to ourselves over 50,000 times a day, everyday? That’s nearly 375,000 times a week, 1,500,000 times a month, and 19,500,000 a year. In fact, you’re talking to yourself right now. You’re probably saying something like, “That’s amazing! I didn’t know that ” or “How’s that possible?” Just as you talk to yourself, so does everyone and this “self talk” is many times what directs you in your actions. And despite all the media stimulus shouting out at us constantly, conversations with our coaches, friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances, etc… Guess who we listen to the most attentively? Ourselves! Not only that but, most of what the majority of people say to themselves is negative in context. “This sucks, why’s this always gotta happen to me? God, I hope I don’t get injured before the fight. What’s this knucklehead’s problem? Why can’t I just once get a break?” Sound familiar? This internal dialog goes on both on a cognitive level, as well as subconsciously. So, pay particular attention to your internal voice. Always state things in the Positive, Personal and Present tense. Tell yourself exactly what you want…never what you don’t want! Example: I don’t want to blow this fight. Better Example: I always do the very best I can. I got this one in the bag. I’m in the best shape. I’ve beat this guy!
#4 Never, Never, Ever Give Up- There is a defined procedure to developing what we know as Mental Toughness. Here are four of many, of the mental qualities necessary to be the fighter you want to be. Each of the four qualities will support each other, strengthening your behavior and mindset synergistically.
Emotional Flexibility- Going with what comes. This quality is the ability to make the very best out of every experience and outcome. Being flexible is remaining balanced and resourceful, accepting responsibility for your outcome, rather than being defensive, blaming and rigid. These latter behaviors are a sign of weakness, and are the result of fear-based emotions. Much of this pertains to how you process the experience, your internal dialog and your ability to manage your emotional state.
Emotional Strength- This is all about having a sound belief in yourself and what the outcome will be. To remain emotionally strong means doing so under extreme pressure, to continue to maintain your fighting spirit even under seemingly impossible odds. To harness your greatest strength when the emotional pressure is the utmost, and resist and exert to your full potential in spite of it. Emotional Strength is, in essence, expecting more out of yourself than anyone possibly could.
Emotional Responsiveness- This is the ability to remain engaged and connected with the moment and respond without hesitation. All habits are built through repetition. Your emotional responsiveness will be a product of your habits. Visualizing a successful outcome repeatedly in your mind substantiates your desired result and this familiarizes your subconscious with what you want to achieve over and over. Hesitation often comes from internal conflict in beliefs, emotions and personal values.
Emotional Resiliency- Resiliency is not giving up, bouncing back, staying on track, using that very moment when your actions didn’t give you the results necessary to get the long-term results you desire. Resiliency is the ability to tap into your emotional power, not allowing it to tap you out of your objective. Remember, the key is to not just see your goals, but to feel the emotions connected to achieving your goals and never, never ever give up on your key goal.
“Years ago we hardly had anything to eat. Now I earn more money and I see every opponent as a man that tries to put me back to that poorer period. That man has to be eliminated.”
#5 Take A Personal Inventory- What exactly makes a person perform better? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why one person excels far beyond his or her competitive peers. What winning combination do these “Top Achievers” possess that sets them apart? Why is the margin sometimes so pronounced? Why did Michael Jordan standout? What allowed Gretzsky to dominate on the ice? Why is the name Rickson associated with greatness? What were the qualities that made Ali the seemingly unstoppable champ?
Let’s not stop at sports, there must be one distinct feature that sets the top achievers in every field in a category of excellence that is exponentially unique! I’ve heard some say, it’s genetics. But, is it?
Over 40 years ago, the world famous Martial Arts Master, Bruce Lee studied this same query. Lee was totally obsessed with the question of what made the superior athlete, technician, or warrior. I began reading about Bruce Lee and studying with his protégé Dan Inosanto, over 25 years ago. This is where I first learned about Mixed Martial Arts (Lee was one of the pioneers) and the concept of how to concentrate on improving the defining “Qualities or Attributes” that made someone a top achiever or champion. Really, it is these attributes that create the combination that is superior.
So, what are attributes? Attributes are strengths that attribute to or help make up who you are, sort of like personal assets. In order for us to have a clear distinction of our capability, aptitude and our potential, we need to consider what our areas of strengths and weaknesses may be. So far, I have identified some of our necessary skills in the areas of mental imagery and internal communication. We have also confirmed that our beliefs are in part relevant to our own perception of our strengths and deficiencies. These are some of the elements that contribute to the make up of our identity, of who we are. But, it goes much deeper than that. Our attributes can be both psychological and physical in nature and can be naturally adopted skills and traits, or specifically learned and cultivated. I believe that all attributes can be improved to some degree. It also appears that there are certain attributes that are absolutely crucial, if not critical, for any marked success in given field. When we have that critical combination of attributes, necessary to succeed in our chosen endeavor developed to a level outstanding to that of our competition, we increase our chances for success beyond what we would have ever believed possible!
A study at Harvard University concluded that in every career endeavor there is a set of 5-6 specific skill sets known as Critical Success Factors, that are crucial to the high level success of that challenge. It goes on to say that if one of these CSFs is inefficient, it will bring down the level of the remaining factors. These Critical Success Factors (CSF) are important to recognize in yourself and others, and may hold the key to your personal development potential and a better understanding of your opponent.
So let’s take inventory. First you must identify what qualities the most outstanding people in your chosen field possess that make them outstanding. Now, write these qualities/attributes on a sheet of paper. Identify and write which of these qualities you believe are Critical Success Factors. Next, on a separate sheet draw two columns. At the top of the two columns write Psychological Attributes (focus, perseverance, courage, integrity, clarity, flexibility, confidence, etc.) On one side of the column write Strong, on the other Needs Improvement. Half way down the paper write Physical Attributes (balance, endurance, flow, strength, speed, timing, coordination, etc.) as your second category, with the words Strong and Needs Improvement on either side of the column.
Now investigate your personal qualities and areas of necessary improvement introspectively with absolute honesty. If you have difficulty seeing a clear picture of your list, ask your coach or training partner for input. You are on the way to making some of the most important distinctions for improving your future success and performance that you have ever made in your LIFE!
Now that you know what you possess, strengthen it. Now that you know what needs improvement, change it. The best way to improve something (or strengthen it) is to simply find the activities that most exemplify that skill and do them, as much as possible. Revise the level of intensity and difficulty when necessary as your specific skill evolves. This attribute specific cross training will do more to improve you than you would ever imagine. Don’t believe me! Believe yourself and try it.
Each issue I will help you add another facet to your Mental Toolbox and guide you to develop your Mind Game. I look forward to hearing your results and feedback.
“When it’s all said and done, there’s a lot more said than done!”
-Lou Holtz-World Class Coach
© Copyright 2009 all rights reserved, Kevin Seaman
Kevin Seaman has been involved in martial arts and martial athletics as a practitioner, competitor and trainer for over 35 years. He currently holds eight instructor rank certifications in seven martial arts systems, is a certified boxing coach and performance specialist, having trained thousands of athletes. Seaman currently assists the training of several Pro MMA fighters. He has contributed to several magazines and authored two books. www.thewinningmindset.com