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Check Your Beliefs and Attitudes
by Jim Will, Ph.D.

How are your beliefs and attitudes serving you? 

Think about the beliefs and attitudes you hold, especially about your performance, about competition, and about recreation in general. When beliefs and attitudes are familiar to you, it's likely that you don't question them. But, even though a belief might have once been true, conditions change, and what might once have been true may be true no longer.

A few years ago, when it came to motorcycle racing, women were not even considered. It was generally accepted that a woman could not handle a full-sized motorcycle in a race. But some women didn't believe that and began to join in the sport. One of these was Angelle Seeling, who proved that not only could she handle a motorcycle in a race, she proved that she could win. She finished the quarter mile course at Reading, Pennsylvania in 7.373 seconds, setting a national record and earning her first National Hot Rod Association victory.

It used to be that women were not considered to be proficient at drag racing either. My close friend Gregg Enders recently asked me to work professionally with his daughter Erica, assisting her with self-talk concepts. Erica and her sister Courtney have been drag racing competitively since age eight. Now a college student, Erica is the number one female NHRA Super Comp dragster driver in the world. Erica and Courtney are the subjects of the recent Disney Channel movie "On the Right Track." This family certainly has not allowed themselves to be held back by outdated beliefs and attitudes.

What are your beliefs and attitudes about women bull riding and men barrel racing?

Professional golfer Ernie Els was interviewed when he was playing in the British Open. The reporter asked Ernie how he thought he would shoot the following day, and Ernie replied that he was still worried about Tiger Woods sneaking up on him. What is significant about his response is that Ernie evidently didn't realize that Tiger was no longer a contender in the tournament. Ernie had no cause to worry about Tiger, but as long as Ernie believed Tiger was a threat, the effect was the same. Tiger was still affecting Ernie's confidence and concentration.

As long as you believe that there are snakes in the tall grass by the lake, you won't walk there, even though the path by the lake may be very pleasant. Be sure that you're not letting out-of-date or simply untrue beliefs and attitudes control your performance and your life. Be sure that you're not missing chances and giving up
opportunities unnecessarily.