Updated: Jan 17
Mindset Made Simple Tip #130 – Watch or listen HERE.
Thirty years ago this week, I learned a lesson that changed my life. I had learned the lesson before…in school…when watching my new friends get bussed to our school from the other side of town…when hearing stories about injustice and hearing debates over affirmative action…and in many other subtle ways.
But until this version of the lesson, I still didn’t understand.
Dr. Patricia Hill and I shared an office in grad school. She and I were working on our lesson plans as we worked to teach a lesson on the “I Have a Dream” speech in our public speaking classes. As we were talking about the message that Dr. King shared on August 28, 1963, she told me the following story.
Pat was almost 20 years older than I was and grew up in a time that was different than what I experienced, aside from the fact that I am white and she is black. She told me about traveling to visit her family in the South. On those trips, she was expected (or forced is more like it) to drink from “colored” water fountains…and to fall into a segregated world.
I was horrified. I cried. I was angry.
I could not believe that someone I loved was forced to do this crap (as a 22-year-old, I probably used more vivid language in my tearful rebuke).
The shock I felt saddened me and it may have embarrassed me a bit, too. Until that moment, I never really understood what people endured. I was certain that the parents of my good friends from school suffered the same experiences. How had I missed the true weight of all of this? How did I not "see" it?
I still have no idea of the true pain felt by so many, but Pat’s story now tied me to that time and emotion made me realize how real…and how close in time these scars in our country’s history were.
As I think back to this moment in my life, I can picture where we were, how I felt, and the words she used very vividly. The emotions are so real. The pictures were so clear.
And, as I relive this lesson, I am reminded of the many definitions of “vision.”
Dr. King had a vision. A dream of a future free of oppression.
You have vision…the ability to see what you are reading right now.
And we all have the ability to “see” things that do not exist. We also have the ability to cloud our vision…or become blind to things going on around us.
I have a vision of where my family and business will be in 5 years. I am sure you “see” things like this, too.
I can “see” Pat right now, even though I have not seen her for years.
We “see” way more than we realize! And if we aren’t using this to our advantage, we are missing out on an amazing tool we have with us every moment of every day!
As we have talked about before, the same regions in our brain fire when we are looking at something with our eyes and when we are imagining something in our mind’s eye.
According to a Cleveland Clinic study, we can imagine ourselves exercising and increase our fitness levels. WHAT?
Our brain and body are amazing and I'd love to talk with your group to share the AMAZING details of this crazy ability of ours!!!
But as amazing as our brain is, we can also limit our ability to see – and when I say “see” now, I mean when we are looking through our eyes.
Think about it. Your mom sends you to look for something. You can’t find it. She walks upstairs, none too happy, and wha la…there it is! You say, “I didn’t see it there.”
Or you post turns to pass the ball to the outlet and here comes the defender to steal the ball away…and her response is, “I didn’t see her there.” Obviously…or she probably would not have thrown the ball!
How do we miss the obvious?
We are looking, but we can’t see!
Your mom sees what she sent you to find, and the coach sees the defender coming across to make the steal, but we are oblivious. Both are there and our eyes should have seen them, but we don’t.
Because our eyes are there, but our focus is not!
Most of you have probably seen the “Monkey Business Illusion” (if not, watch it HERE). What did you miss because you were focused elsewhere?
We are always focused on something. Unfortunately, it may not be focused on the thing that needs our attention.
When you are sent upstairs to find something, you may be thinking, “I’d rather be outside” or “if I don’t find this, I’m in big trouble!”
When your post is looking for the outlet pass, she may be thinking “we don’t have much time” or “if I turn this over, I am out of the game.”
The point is, in both instances, the task was overshadowed by the thoughts in our head that turn into pictures (or visions) that pull us away from the present and the ability to do what needs to be done.
We miss opportunities. We overlook important details. We aren’t performing at our best.
Our brain is a sucker. It can get lulled into a loop that keeps it busy, but doesn’t move us forward…until we are jolted out of it by our mom’s ire or our coach’s frustration!
So how do we keep our thoughts from disrupting our sight?
It’s simple, but it isn’t easy…just like most things in the mental game!
As we are working on a task, continually asking ourselves questions that pertain to what we need to do can help. Like, “what is the color of that thing she told me to find?”
Questions force our brains to look for solutions!
We can also work on scanning the environment. What am I looking at? What do I see?
These types of questions keep us looking outside of our heads instead of listening to what is going on as the B.S. radio station plays in our mind.
Finally, telling ourselves what we want... “find a teammate on the outside” will get us scanning for things outside of us as well.
If we let our mind to its own devices, it will often wander to places that are not helpful.
If we train ourselves to talk to it instead of listening to whatever thought comes into our mind, we are better able to manage the moment.
Our ability to choose one thought over another is where our POWER lies.
Thirty years ago, I opened my eyes to things I had missed for years. I missed things right in front of my face because my mind made me believe that the “I Have a Dream” speech was written for people and experiences before my time.
Wow, was I wrong, as wrong as the million times my mom sent me to find something that I swore was not there…until she went to look for it... or the millions of passes I threw where there was no defender around…until she stole the ball and took it to the other end of the court.
We “see” so much and our ability to see what we want is so powerful. But so is our ability to hinder our sight by allowing the wrong thoughts to take up that precious one-thought space in our heads.
The cool part is, we get to decide what we see. It just takes a little discipline and work. And sometimes, like in my case with Dr. Pat Hill, a little eye-opener to make a big change!
What and how will you see differently this week?
Manage the moments…and what you “see”!
P.S. Want to help your team be more aware of the power their vision, both physically and mentally? Set up a mental performance session to get the most out of your team’s mindset. Reach out to set up a 45-minute team session today! Contact me at email@example.com or call/text 234-206-0946.
Mental Performance Coach
firstname.lastname@example.org • 234-206-0946