The curious thing that helps us to excel
[1 minute self-development]
In 1976, the American downhill skiier Andy Mill badly hurt himself in training. His lower right leg was so bruised from a practice injury that he couldn't bear the pain the day before the race. But he desperately wanted to take part in the Olympics, so in order to compete - crazy as it sounds - he froze his leg in the snow minutes before entering the starting gate. That way he wouldn't be able to feel the pain.
He managed an incredible sixth place at Innsbruck '76 - the best by an American in 21 years in the Men's downhill.
It's strange, but sometimes, when sportsmen and women get injured, it spurs them on to some of the greatest achievements of their lives. Mill competed in a subsequent Olympics (1980) but couldn't get close to his 6th place finish of 1976.
The moral of this story is simply to kick a wall or whack yourself in the head before a big sporting event.
Er, I'm kidding.
The point of the story is really this... when you get hurt, all that focus and worry on one part of your body stops you worrying about everything else.
And happily, we can use this knowledge without deliberately biffing ourselves before a big event. The next time you're fretting about something important in your life that has to go well, remember that you have a powerful mind and you can choose what to concentrate on. You could worry yourself silly about the event coming up. Or you could ease the pressure and choose to concentrate on something else instead. Do a relaxation technique like this or this.
Let me know how you get on,
ps this blog was inspired by cricketer Ian Bell who played 'with a carefree serenity' at the weekend despite having 10 stitches in a very unpleasant gash in his face.