Today’s blog will cover these topics:
Stretch the paradigm into a paragon
The Generation Effect
Bewilderment – A champion's best friend
How many times have you heard these lines: “Believe in yourself.” “Have confidence.” “Out-work everyone else.” There are thousands of self-help books littered with these kinds of affirmations. And, these mantras can help – no doubt. In today’s blog, I challenge this standard paradigm.
Stretch the paradigm into a paragon
I bet you’ve never read a self-help book or repeated a mantra instructing, “Place yourself in a constant state of bewilderment.” Bewilderment is a short-lived emotion commonly associated with other states like being confused, perplexed, puzzled, baffled, disorientated, oblivious, or lost. I suggest that being in a state of confusion or disorientation can improve your self-confidence and give you a winning edge. Bewilderment or puzzlement might seem like states to avoid. I assert the opposite is true. Let’s s-t-r-e-t-c-h the accepted paradigm of self-confidence into a powerful paragon. Said another way – expand the standard model (paradigm) into a crème de la crème ideal (paragon).
I’m sure we’d agree that if one desires to become a champion in any endeavor, that person must be willing to put everything on the line. He/she must be eager to do an enormous amount of work. Athletes are no strangers to hard work. Some of us even relish it. And in any sport, an ongoing improvement regimen may include inviting the best to compete – often. Playing against higher-level players will help hone your craft.
I suggest that one of our best teachers is the opponent who is superior at creating bewilderment, confusion, and disruption. Facing this competitor will force us to use more than our skills, tactics, strength, and speed. This situation will require us to add creativity to our repertoire. We must solve the puzzle by using our technical and intellectual skills in different combinations.
High-level athletes are physically prepared. Champions are also mentally ready -- ready to be placed in a state of complete bewilderment. They are primed to solve dilemmas, deal with confusion, and operate in a crisis. With chaos exploding around them, these winners can assess, solve and react swiftly. And, they can continue this process as many times as needed to be successful.
The Generation Effect
Unfortunately, the bewilderment paragon is usually missed when studying the standard winning or success paradigms. I believe this unpreparedness is one of the biggest mistakes made in teaching/coaching today. For example, in our schools, there is a focus on being good test-takers. I think an emphasis on problem-solving techniques rather than teaching for test scores would prove to be much better preparation for students. I watch coaches, teachers, and parents doing everything they can to help solve their student’s problems for them. Stating the obvious: Giving kids the answers in the short term will make their learning more difficult in the long term. This is not optimal education. This is a form of codependency.
The Generation Effect is a phenomenon where information is better remembered if it is generated from our minds rather than simply something we have read or been given. People are more likely to retain information when they need to generate an answer, compared to having the same information provided. Many researchers have struggled to account for why generated information is better recalled than reading the information; however, no single explanation has been sufficient. I wonder if it could be due in part to how we are tempered through struggle.
Effort sharpens our senses and our mental fortitude. Striving helps us gain the inner confidence that we can solve our problems. This empowerment compels full ownership of the challenges that come at us. In sports and life, the generation effect may require the player/student to intentionally sacrifice present performance for future benefits.
Bewilderment – the champion's best friend
Our intellect integrates the process of becoming smarter by solving issues and learning by overcoming barriers. It is each individual’s progression. No one else can do it for us. Bewilderment can coerce our problem-solving and creative skills into action. Thriving in these short-lived states of puzzlement and confusion can allow us to achieve higher levels of success in any endeavor.
All great successes come with equally great struggles. Rising to these occasions of great struggles requires the tools necessary to handle them. Our tools are developed over time as we pull from our experiences. Our solution strategies evolve. The tool of analogical thinking, characterized by extrapolations from the familiar to the unfamiliar, looks at a problem freshly and comes up with a new solution, and sharpens over time. Adaptability, initiative, and resilience should also be in our toolbox. Good puzzle solvers rarely become overly emotional or dramatic. Consummate solvers see problems as life experiences and can stand above them objectively.
Coaches, teachers, and parents – rather than providing answers, ask questions. Probe to understand the mindset of your student. Allow the student to embrace bewilderment. Let him/her fall – and fall again. Encourage and support his/her willingness to keep going and to keep stretching the paradigm. Remember, a growth mindset is the foundation of success in any walk of life.
Hockey is getting a great deal of attention this week during the Stanley Cup Finals. The Stanley Cup is North America's oldest professional sports trophy. In my sport, all eyes are on Wimbledon, the oldest tennis tournament in the world. To athletes and fans alike, there is one paragon that rises as the icon in sports history. It is this: Whether an individual or team, those who are prepared for the unexpected have a clear advantage over their opponents. Bewilderment is the champion’s best friend.
The bodyhelix tag line is “Move Through It!” To us, this means to keep going, to persevere, to find a way to solve the problem we are facing. Bodyhelix encourages you to push forward. We love to see YOU solve your problems, and become stronger, whether it is hockey, tennis, soccer, or whatever you are facing right now, embracing the bewilderment strategy can help you.
Foster creativity. Bewilderment can be the spark. Until next week, seek out life’s puzzles and enjoy the challenge of solving them. They are exhilarating.
It is my greatest hope that you will implement some tips from our Bio-Cultivating and Neural-Cultivating blogs. Further, it is my hope you will be inspired to pass these learnings along to family and friends. We all have people in our lives who have the desire but lack the accurate information to improve their health. It is frustrating to sift through the bombardment of data and the misinformation in today’s world. It’s no wonder some give up in frustration. I believe that we deserve the healthiest choices that honest modern science can offer. It is my mission to help as many of us as possible get and stay healthy.
As a tennis coach myself, I found the compression industry to be unacceptable for our needs. I set out on a journey to help you and your students. I know we all get beat up. The harder we compete, the more we get injured. All compression is not created equal! At Body Helix, we start with an unapologetic obsession for exceptional quality. Our design philosophy is to create modern, innovative gear that surpasses that which is offered in the global marketplace. As a privately held, Veteran-owned, North Carolina company we challenge global leaders to elevate their compression game or step aside. It’s compression gear, designed by tennis players, for tennis players.
Be well and stay focused on cultivating your health, your mind, and your solitude. If I can help you further never hesitate to reach out to me.
Move Through It.