Dr. Jorge Valverde
Anytime we go where we have never been, or try something we have never done before, fear will be present. It will always stand between us and anything worth doing. But the good news is, each time we conquer it, we feel a surge of self-respect and gain a level of confidence we never had before. It is our choice!
Fear materializes in our mind as a little voice that reminds us of the failures we experienced in the past and their negative consequences. And it warns us of what consequences we will face if we fail again, for instance:
“If I fail, my peers will think that I’m not good enough.”
“I am running out excuses for my failures and I am tired of telling my coach that I lost a close match again.”
“If I don’t do well in this tournament, I will not have a chance to go to the Nationals.”
This little voice is perhaps the most powerful force in our mind. It is capable of triggering a reaction in our body that will impair our ability to move our feet; it can make our heart beat accelerate dramatically and increase our body tension; it can make our mouth go dry and impair our memory and our ability to think effectively; it can make us blink more frequently (which prevents us from focusing on the “ball” or the task at hand); and it can make us feel insignificant and lost.
This little voice is an ambassador of our deepest thoughts and it has been with us from the time we were small children. We are very used to this little voice because it is always with us and consequently, most of the time we are not aware that it is there. Research shows that we have between 40,000 and 50,000 thoughts per day. However, most of them are unconscious – we are not aware of them. Unfortunately, about 85% of these thoughts are negative. This negative tendency impairs our ability to achieve our potential because before we face a challenge, we are already thinking that it will not be possible to succeed. How many times have you lost a match because before you stepped on to the court, you have already made the decision that it will be a “tough match”? – meaning that you believed that it would be impossible to win.
The good news is that this little voice is also capable of waking up the giant within us, empowering us to move forward with total confidence and courage, to tap into our deepest sources of physical and mental energy, to conquer any fear, to focus our attention on those things that really matter, to reach a new altitude, to turn things around, to have a great comeback, etc.
In order to use our little voice to our advantage, we need first to become aware of the words it uses and the impact of these words on our state of mind. Furthermore, we need to be aware of how it influences our ability to compete and face life challenges.
The words used by our little voice reflect our attitude toward the challenges we face in sports or in life. Our little voice could use words that reflect a self-defeating attitude or one that strives for excellence and great achievements. It can say anything along the following continuum:
Little Voice Unconscious Meaning
- “I won’t“ – Self defeating voice
- “I can’t” – Insecurity covered by the idea that it is too difficult
- “I will try” – I know I will fail but I should do something about it
- “I can” – I know it is possible but my heart is not totally in this thing
- “I will” – I want to do this but my fear doesn’t allow me act now
- “I am committed” – I’m giving a 100% effort and I am willing to pay the price for my succes
As you can see in the above example, in reality, we have several little voices, and this does not mean that we are schizophrenic; we have little voices of courage, fear, determination and confidence, and many more. Our responsibility is to become aware of the little voice that dominates our internal dialogue and choose the one that moves us toward the achievement of our full potential and life fulfillment. You must select your internal dialogue based on a proactive approach. I describe the most effective one in my two books. I recommend that you read them and follow each step and finish the process with the most powerful tool, your personalized CD. You need to realize that this a process that needs periodical reviews every six months. Those who are following this approach are achieving excellent results.