As a wrestler in high school, one thing I noticed was that if you had total confidence in a certain move, even if the opponent knew it was coming and tried to stop it, he couldn’t. I knew I could do my favorite moves on anybody – and I did.
Recently I was talking about this phenomenon with a local Minnesota high school wrestling coach who visited our church. He told me how he teaches his team the advantage of the right mental approach to their matches.
He said some kids get it and some don’t. The ones who do often go into “the zone” during a match and become impossible to defeat. They wrestle at a level beyond what they have done to that point and even beyond what the coach believes they’re physically capable of.
As my wife and I have watched the London Olympics, we repeatedly saw athletes shattering their own personal bests. The announcers sometimes described the special mental state of confidence these same competitors strive to cultivate both before and during their events.
There was the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt telling any available camera that he is already a legend and would prove it and that he just did. And even the great Michael Phelps admitted the need to believe and trust that he could still do it.
We all have events in our lives where we have to perform at peak level – from academic testing, to job assignments, to sports, to the arts. I’ve been an actor and a singer as well as a wrestler. And in each of those arenas there were moments when my confidence was tested.
When we’re confident, it’s like having something solid to lean on. We feel supported, more relaxed and actions flow in their normal rhythm. Studies show that a mental state of calm and confidence reduces stress, relaxes the muscles and allows more energy to flow…all of which contribute to physically performing at the top of our capability and beyond.
But in a pressured atmosphere when the demand is to function at the highest level, nerves can make things seem less solid. Fear and anxiety can throw us literally off balance.
So how do you maintain your confidence?
Despite the popular slogan to “believe in yourself”, and although modern training and techniques like visualization and imagery are helpful, for me the only reliable way to stay confident is to lean on something higher and stronger than myself – in a word, God.
In the famous Bible story of David’s battle with Goliath, he rejected the common approach of putting on armor and using a sword. And a good thing too, considering the size difference! (Interpretations of the ancient measurements say Goliath was at least 6’9” and possibly as tall as 9’9”! – either way, a huge dude.)
Instead, David put his confidence in God, who had helped him win life and death wrestling matches with a lion and bear. He took with him only his sling shot and some stones. Yet he was so confident in God’s support that as Goliath approached, “David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.” And of course we know how the story turned out – one stone slung perfectly in the forehead and down went the giant.
Leaning on a higher power in health battles does the same thing. When I found out that there are spiritual laws that can be used to maintain my health, I also found that this spiritual perspective produced better results than the material remedies I used to turn to.
Achieving a spiritual state of thought and feeling the assurance of God’s love does more than just reduce stress – which is universally acknowledged to improve health. Many times, after focusing on God’s love and laws in prayer, I’ve experienced complete healing of physical illness – even big things.
So, whether you’re running or painting or selling or healing, make your moves with confidence!