Mind Over (and Under) Matter

Last night I was watching the Olympics on TV, and was intrigued by the vivid example of how mind affects body, and beliefs can help or hinder us.

The US Women’s gymnastic team was going head-to-head against China for the Gold (and, well, if the minimum age is supposed to be 16, then I suspect China should have been disqualified anyhow — but that’s beside the point).

The uneven bars competition was finished, and they were up for the balance beam, with US team leader Alicia Sacramone going first.  As the NBC color commentator described how difficult her mount would be, Alicia flipped up onto the beam — and then fell off.

It was a costly mistake — but not insurmountable.

Obviously she was distraught at her error, and you could read it on her face throughout the rest of her routine, and afterwards as she stood with her team watching the others perform.

It seemed to shake her teammates as well, because they also teetered on the bar more than they apparently usually do.

But they had a chance to come back with the floor routine… a chance to prove themselves worthy of being #1 in the world.

So what happened?  Alicia, still looking defeated, went first again… and fell again.

At that point it was obvious that Silver was the best they could hope for.  And her teammates, again, didn’t perform up to par.  They were affected by Alicia’s mindset and the distraught shadow that hung over her, so thick you could probably feel it from 10 feet away.

She believed she screwed up.  She believed she had cost her team the Gold medal.  She believed, suddenly, that she wasn’t as good as she used to think she was — and her performance reflected that.

But even moreso, she infected the others on her team, whose performances also reflected the same thing.

The mind is incredibly powerful, but sometimes we don’t realize it until we see it in action like I did last night.

What about you… what do you believe you can — or can’t — do right now?

Because whether you believe you can, or you believe you can’t… you’re right.

Keep Unwrapping the Mysteries of Life!

Heather Vale

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