The human mind remembers patterns. This means that if you are practicing doing things a certain way or seeing things a certain way your mind will create that pattern as a habit. Your mind creates that pattern and it makes a sort of imprint that lingers for a little while. When I learned that this is how our mind works so many things started making sense to me in my life and training.
So, if you are practicing self doubt then your mind will become good at that pattern and will look for the pattern of self doubt. If you are practicing seeing yourself as not good at something then it will record as a pattern. If you are practicing finding issues then you will become good at finding issues in your training sessions and races. On the flip side, if you are practicing seeing yourself as strong then this pattern will be recorded in your mind. If you are practicing allowing your body to perform then it will continue to use this pattern.
I have found this to be important in my athletic journey because the patterns you create in your mind have a direct effect on your experience and progress in your journey. Just imagine if you could practice the patterns that are needed for you to have deep self belief or become excellent at areas you are developing in. This changes your journey. As athletes there is so much awesome and wonderful possibility once you understand this concept.
Scientists have proven that even on a daily basis we set the patterns in our brains. So those patterns that you are practicing over and over in your training and your racing are most certainly creating habitual patterns in your mind. The very first thing to do for yourself is become aware of what you are actually practicing! Then you identify what you need to practice and create positive patterns in.
The science: In a study done at Harvard Medical school scientists found that the mind can quickly create patterns that are held for a pretty long period of time. For example, in this study scientists tested people by having them play Tetris for hours each day for three days. They found that very quickly the people in the study were basically seeing their lives in the shapes of the Tetris game. There are stories of subjects entering the grocery store and having a strong need to re-arrange the stacking to fit better. And others who were calculating if they re-arranged the skyline as they are walking down the street, it would fit together better. This is now officially called the Tetris affect. It’s actually a physical process in the brain called “Cognitive afterimage”. Our brains work in patterns and repetition creates that pattern.
The important question now is what kinds of patterns do you want to create for yourself within your athletic journey. There are so many excellent ways to use this knowledge to truly boost your success and experience in your athletic journey. Here are some of the ways I am working on.
- Creating the the patterns of seeing yourself as very strong
- Creating the patterns of seeing yourself actively doing something you want to become good at. For example if you want to be a good sprinter on the bike then seeing yourself sprinting strong is important. **I have excellent visualizations for this just message me.
- Practicing self belief vs. self doubt. Speak to yourself in the positive because your brain will record that pattern. When it records the pattern of seeing the positive it will then automatically look for the positives.
- In the big picture what kinds of patterns are you practicing? Are you practicing finding problems or finding the reasons why you won’t accomplish your dreams and goals or are you practicing finding the reasons why you will accomplish your dreams and goals. Yes I know this is a big one but it’s a pattern and it makes a significant difference in your journey. These patterns that you are practicing on a daily basis have a direct impact on your journey.
I practice positive patterns through meditation, breathwork and journaling. I also use my energy questions to create patterns of possibility for myself.
* Further reference scientific study * Tetris Effect – Stickgold R. Malia, A., Maguire, D., Roddenberry, D., & O’Connor, M. (2000) Replaying the game: Hypnagogic images in normals and amnesics, science, 290, 350-353
Also mentioned in the book: The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor