Last week, I wrote that when we choose the best reality for success, we increase our chances for happiness. I also wrote that a necessary condition to choice was the beliefs that we hold about our abilities.
On Saturday, my family and I competed at the AAU State Qualifier for the National Championship in Taekwondo. So off we went to the tournament in Central Florida with our bright eyes and our high hopes. We were nervous. Well, more accurately, my husband and I were nervous; my daughter was busy rocking out to the Frozen soundtrack in the back of the car screaming, “Let it Go!” How appropriate.
It got me thinking. The grownups were getting “stressed,” and my daughter was having a whole lot of fun. How come? Weren’t our circumstances identical? Why could she “Let it Go,” and my husband and I couldn’t? In fact, we were busy: going over our forms, giving each other advice, thinking about what could go wrong, making sure we had enough food, etc…
Looking back, I am thinking WTF??? Why couldn’t I trust the outcome like my brilliant 8 year old and rock out, too? Was too much knowledge a problem? Was too much focus the reason the devil did me in?
Guess whose strategy prevailed? My blissfully, bold daughter won Gold in her division! When I asked her what her secret was, she smiled and said, “Mom, you know I was a little nervous, but then, I remembered that I was happy that I got to show my skills to everyone.”
Of course, as a coach, I am thinking, “Nice reframe,” but then it struck me:
I had read in Shawn Anchor’s book, Before Happiness, about how stress enhances — how It can boost performance, processing speed, increase mental toughness and it can increase physical recovery. My daughter viewed stress not as a gateway to worry, but as an opportunity to “show her skills.” I wonder if I had pursued the same “reality,” the outcome of my competition would have been different?
My husband took the Bronze Medal in his division, and I took the Silver Medal. We both ended up second guessing ourselves, because we didn’t “win.” It’s funny about winning second place, or third place — you can fall into the no man’s land of “what ifs?”
Maybe next time, I will chuck the to-do list, rock out to Frozen, and be happy to just “show my skills.” And then maybe, I will have a gold medal around my neck too! Or maybe, I can feel grateful that by pursuing this reality, I did find happiness.
Until next time,
Here is a link to Shawn Anchor’s book, Before Happiness