// you’re reading...

Beating the Odds

Changing Beliefs

You gotta believe! That’s what the New York Mets said in 1973 when they went from last place all the way to the World Series. That’s what the Detroit Red Wings are saying as they try to rebounded from a 3-0 Stanley Cup deficit to defeat the San Jose Sharks.

But what is real belief? What role does belief play? And how do you shape belief? There’s no way to sugarcoat the reality; deeply held beliefs are hard to change.

For a perfect example, see this article from the New York Post business section. It details the story of how the FBI made a wiretap as part of an insider-trading probe. There was only one problem: the FBI was wire-tapping the wrong guy.

And here’s what’s important for anyone who wants to raise the level of their performance. The FBI continued to bug the man even after it should have been obvious that he was not the person they thought he was.

He identified himself by name. He talked about the everyday things we all do. He never talked about insider-trading because had nothing to do with insider trading.

Instead of cutting short the wiretap, the FBI actually made up its own scenarios. “(He) must be on a three-way call with (the suspect),” the FBI writes about one call.

The point here is not to make fun of the FBI’s mistake. The point is the power of belief, and how belief propels our actions, even after evidence shows that the belief is wrong.

Whether in class, on the field, or in business, people will only achieve what they believe they can. That means you must help your athletes change any beliefs that limit them.

“There’s a big difference between talking about believing something and actually believing it,” said Brandon Dubinsky, a hockey player with the New York Rangers.

Hank Aaron, who once held the record for most career home runs, was once asked why he was able to achieve so much in baseball.

“I just believed I could do it,” he said.

If you want to be a great coach or a great teacher, help others expand their beliefs. A good resource is “Volleyball Cybernetics,” by Dave Cross. Even if you’re not into volleyball, you can find great information on the comfort zone and how it rules your life. It’s an instant cure for “I can’t.”

*** *** *** *** ***

Mike Tully speaks to sports, business and educational groups. He also works with coaches, athletes and teams to make their practice time more productive and efficient. He and Gary Pritchard are co-authors of “Ten Things Great Coaches Know.” To see Coach Tully and Coach Pritchard discuss “Attitude,” click here.


One comment for “Changing Beliefs”

  1. Recovery from a seemingly impossible situation is a huge task, but doable. In my own life I’ve seen countless addicts and alcoholics recover long after people, and they themslves, had given up on them as “hopeless.”Seeing and being around others, who were just like them at one time, is a beacon of hope. “If all these people can do it, maybe I can.” Willingness and desperation can be a powerful fuel to launch someone on a better path. But you have to be willing to do what these people have done to recover from hopelessness. No free rides there. You put in the work, you get the results.

    L. Hobson

    Posted by Logan Hobson | May 11, 2011, 1:54 pm

Post a comment