Challenge defeatist attitudes; let your body and mind work
automatically without constant criticism and coaching; get into the
Seeing ourselves as helpless or as bungling has dramatic effects--
we perform poorly, we stop trying, and we get depressed (Seligman,
1975). Some people respond to an actual failure by "falling apart;"
others try harder. What determines the difference? One simple factor
is how the performer explains the failure: if you say, "It's my fault, I
can't do it," you do more poorly next time and give up. If you say, "I
need to try harder, maybe I can do it," you'll do better after failure.
The really good news is that people can learn to interpret failure as a
sign they need to work harder (not a lack of ability), can draw from
their experience to learn a better approach, and can develop their own
self-instructions to achieve success (Diener & Dweck, 1978).
A related idea is that a restful, noncritical state of mind is the most
efficient. Thus, teachers try to relax students and coaches try to calm
players. Gallwey (1974) in The Inner Game of Tennis describes how
we have two identities: one is playing tennis (or whatever we are
doing), the other is telling ourselves how to do it! It certainly seems
that way. The goal of this method is to quiet the critical coach that
confuses things with a stream of instructions and upsets things with
accusations, doubts and fears.
Gallwey's concept of performing uncritically is close to
Csikszentmihalyi's (1990) notion of "flow." Sometimes you "get in the
groove" and everything goes just right. You are calm and
concentrating intensely on the task; things just click and you are really
enjoying doing a super job. When this happens you are totally
absorbed in the work. That's flow.
This method is not concerned with all aspects of low self-regard
(see chapters 6 and 14) but rather (1) with detecting the barriers that
keep you from trying and doing your best, (2) with reducing the inner
voices of criticism and helplessness that disrupt your efforts, and (3)
with finding ways to reach your maximum efficiency.
To recognize a lack of confidence and do something about it.
To reduce the inner critic so one can do one's best.
To achieve maximum efficiency and interest in a task.
STEP ONE: Become aware of self-doubts.