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How to Win

What You Believe

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” – Anatole France

As I write this, the final round of the U.S. Open is taking place. I hope to be writing about it later on.

In the meantime, let’s look at the idea of belief, an idea that applies no matter what the sport.

Years ago, there was a baseball player (I forget his name) who played for the Detroit Tigers. He had a deathly fear of flying. The only thing that could console him on the airplane was being able to sit within sight of teammate Al Kaline. In his mind, Kaline was too important to ever die in a plane crash, and so just sitting next to Kaline gave this player a sense of security.

Was that a rational way of looking at things? No. But it was part of his belief system, and it governed both his behavior and his expectations.

Like the player who wanted to sit within sight of Al Kaline on the airplane, we live in a world defined by our beliefs. These beliefs determine what we do, what we expect, and what we achieve.

For instance, if you enter a competition BELIEVING that the opponent is better than you are, how can you expect to succeed?

As Henry Ford said, “Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right.”

Some people might reply, “Suppose I really do believe that the opponent is better?”

In that case, you must develop belief in something else.

You can develop belief in the power of your preparation (No one has worked harder or better than I have).

You can develop belief in the power of the present (Nothing matters except this moment).

Or you can develop belief in the power of performance (No matter what the odds or rankings are, all that matters is who plays the best).


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