As a sport psychology consultant teaching athletes about the mental game I’ve always thought of myself as very eclectic (choosing what is best or preferred from a variety of sources or styles) to help my clients. There are things like cognitive behavioral therapy, Neurol-Linguistic Programming, Hypnosis, Freudian Psychoanalysis etc. I have often said I am willing to steal (borrow techniques from anywhere to help athletes find their dream). So why not borrow from the greatest mind of the Twentieth Century. Learn about sports performance from Albert Einstein.
I’ve made it no secret that one of my major role models in life has been Albert Einstein. I wrote about this last month in Role Models and Imagination. I was thinking about him again today after quoting him to one of my clients, a college soccer player who also plays on an MLS u23 team. I told him about the imagination quote on my wall while helping him with visualization (imagery rehearsal). It got me thinking about other quotes and what he teaches even those of us who grew up as jocks and not physicists and mathematicians. So here are 10 Things to learn from Einstein that translate into sports performance. It’s not the Universe and it’s easier to understand than E=mc2. Einstein did love to sail. Though it has been reported that the man that opened up the Universe was directionally challenged.
Thing 1: Nurture a Curious Mind (athletes lacking curiosity do not succeed)
“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” Do not hold back curiosity. It has a reason for its existence. Keep a questioning mind.
Thing 2: Worth of Perseverance is immeasurable (A major component of Mental Toughness)
“It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” The price of perseverance is beyond the corporeal things. It cannot be measured. It cannot be sold. It has no price.
Thing 3: Pay Attention to One Thing at a Time (focus of attention or concentration is key to athletic success)
“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.” Do not do several tasks at once. It is in doing one task at a time that excellence is achieved.
Thing 4: Use Your Imagination (Imagery helps athletes in so many ways)
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Thing 5: Mistakes Are Inevitable (We learn from our mistakes a good deal more than we learn from our success)
“A person, who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.” More often than not, mistakes are stepping stones to new discoveries. It is part and parcel of living.
Thing 6: Future is Not Ours to See (Athlete must focus on the present, many find that when focused on the future or past they actually missed their opportunity, as opportunity is always in the NOW)
“I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.” The future is a result of the things we do today. Thinking what lies beforehand is not a bad scheme, but most of the time the present is being neglected.
Thing 7: Value is Superior to Success (In a value proposition your contribution leads to your success. If you offer little value then success is usually limited)
“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” Success is a goal worth striving for. However, creating value has an enduring effect for people to remember.
Thing 8: Change Triggers another Result (One of my favorite quotes. How often do I see players repeat mistakes only to continually find failure, where if they changed their approach the result would change)
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results’. Different results occur when you change the way you do things. Only unwise people will expect a different result from doing the same thing over and over again. Different results will only be possible by way change.
Thing 9: Information is not knowledge. (This is part of the importance of finding the right playing level. If you never get the opportunity to play, some of the Knowledge you seek will not be found. It also says to me experience Life, but that’s something different discussion)
The only source of knowledge is Experience
Thing 10: Understand the Basics (And you didn’t think Einstein knew anything about sports)
“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone”
I hope you enjoyed this and I think if you will use a little of his insight it will help you become a better athlete. Come learn more with me at TheMental-Game.com