Friday, September 21, 2007

Trying Too Hard to Win

This from Best Life magazine, an essay on "My Defining Moment" by rodeo Hall of Famer Ty Murray (as told to Bill Keith):

"...I had kicked ass all season long, but when it came down to the final ride for the championships, I would choke. I would come out like a long-distance runner taking off in a full sprint, not thinking about his breathing, his form, or his balance."

His mom--he was a high school student at the time--told him he was trying too hard. His senior year her advice sank in. "Instead of coming out like a boxer with his head down, windmilling his punches, I had to treat each time I got on the bull the exact same way, putting myself into the mental state that it was just another...practice ride."

That worked. And he transferred the wisdom to the rest of his life.

The ability to do that--and I don't find it easy or at times even possible--would certainly be a big help, not only with The Big Project but with The Big Job Interview, The Big Date, etc.

It's what I sometimes call "nerve in the curve." Stick to your game plan even in the scariest moments. In addition to improving performance, it feels better.

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