Olympic Wisdom

I am sure that there are lots of lessons that we can all learn from watching the Olympics. We can certainly learn about hard work, focus and perseverance. But there were two incidents that stood out for me last week.

The first incident was between Tom Daley and his diving partner, Dan Goodfellow. Tom, at 22 years old, has had lots more experience of the pressures of competing than his 19 year old partner, Dan Goodfellow. It is understandable that, as they were waiting to compete in the synchronised diving, Dan should start to feel nervous. The advice from Tom was to ‘stay in the moment’. Great advice.

Whenever we start worrying we are either thinking about something that happened in the past and having negative thoughts about it or we are imagining something that is going to happen in the future and imagining it going badly. If you are ruminating on something that has already happened, let it go. You can’t change what happened. Learn from it and move on.

If you spend time imagining all the things that could go wrong in a future event, you are priming your brain for failure. Worry is like praying for what you don’t want. You must have had one of those moments when someone said to you ‘Don’t spill that drink’ or ‘Don’t trip over that step’ and the next moment that was exactly what happened.

By staying in the moment you are being mindful about what is happening now. That enables you to deal with the situation you are in, not some imaginary situation that you have created in your imagination. You can also enjoy the experience so much more.

The second event was Mo Farrah’s response to tripping and falling during 10,000m race.  The fall happened with 16 laps to go in the race when Mo was accidently tripped up by his training partner Galen Rupp. That could have been the end of his race but Mo is made of sterner stuff.  He got back on his feet and caught up with the race leaders to win.

The interesting thing is what said after the race.  He said it was ‘lucky’ that he fell early in the race so that he could catch up. How many of us would be that positive about a major obstacle in our lives? There are lots of learning points from what happened:

  • ‘There is no failure, there is only feedback’. When something doesn’t go the way you expected, what can you learn from it?
  • ‘Fail early, fail often’. This is advice that is often given to new business people. What it means is that to be successful you have to try new things and they don’t all work well. Be prepared to learn from the early failures so that you don’t make them later in your business development.
  • When something happens that you think of as negative, what are the positive aspects of it?

I am sure there were lots of other exceptional moments. Congratulations to all the athletes at the Rio Olympics. You are inspirational.

If you need help with negative thoughts or anxiety contact me today.

The wonder of the placebo effect

The term placebo has often had negative connotations in the past.  It is almost as if something that helps the body heal itself naturally is somehow cheating or suspect.

The word placebo comes from the Latin for ‘I shall please’.  Most of us have experienced the placebo effect while taking traditional medicine.  If you have ever bought a branded medicine instead of a generic alternative, some part of your mind was convinced by the packaging or the extra cost that the branded medicine would work better.  If you believed it enough, it probably did work better.  That is the placebo effect and we all experience it.

In recent years there has been lots of research into the placebo effect in the area of pharmaceuticals.  It has shown that the size, colour, shape and the name of medications has an effect on their efficacy.  Even the smell has an effect.  Researchers found that if they wiped TCP antiseptic around the top of a bottle of tablets, the tablets were more effective!

The attitude of medical practitioners also has an impact on their patients.  The more the practitioner builds trust and rapport with their patient, the more the patient is likely to respond positively to treatment.

Bestselling author and speaker, Dr David Hamilton, has carried out a lot of research in the area of the placebo effect and you can read his thoughts at http://drdavidhamilton.com/?page_id=8

So, in my opinion,  we should be much more open to understanding and using the placebo effect to aid our natural healing processes.

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