Scholastic Clay Target Program

Articles and Videos related to Mental Management


My Favorite Principle of Mental Management

The Principal of Reinforcement is by far my favorite principle of Mental Management. The more you think about, talk about, write about something happening you improve the probability of that thing happening. So every time you think about, talk about or write about making an error you've just enhanced the likelihood of making it. Well, if that's true, it's not a good idea for you to worry about a possible adverse outcome or complain about what you don’t like about your current performance. Then why do so many performers talk about their failures? We live in a culture where it has become socially acceptable to complain. It's almost expected.

I wrote a book called "With Winning In Mind,” but I think I should write a new book called "With Whining In Mind." I don't think I'd have any problem getting proof the title is true. All I would have to do is to go to any golf or gun club and find a person who has just come off of the course and ask “How did you do?” The first thing out of the mouth of most people is not the thing that went right; it is the thing that went wrong. Rifle shooters tend to talk about their mistakes. Ask how they did on a stage of the competition and they will not only tell you how many points they dropped but also how they lost them.

It is common for competitors to talk about their mistakes more often than their successes. I don’t think most people are aware that thinking about and talking about their errors improves the chances that the errors will increase in the future. They do not realize that every time you think about something; it creates an imprint on your Self-Image. The Self-Image grows or shrinks based on imprinting. Every time you attempt a task and do it successfully, it imprints "It's like me to do the task well." But every time you do the task poorly, it imprints "It's like me to fail." Every time you think about something, it imprints because the Self-Image cannot tell the difference between what happens and what we vividly imagine. Both affect the Self-Image equally. Every time you think about something, talk about something or write about something it imprints on your Self-Image causing it to shrink or to grow.

If a golfer is continually cutting himself down, saying "I can't hit that shot, or I wonder what I'm doing wrong.," it's no wonder they have a tremendous challenge in trying to overcome certain types of shots.

Elite performers sometimes are guilty of this too but are better at controlling the number of negative imprints than someone of lesser skill. Champions seem to determine over time the folly of negative imprinting. Your performances will improve if you learn to control the imprinting caused by what you say, write and think.

By Lanny Bassham, Founder of Mental Management Systems