The 3 Levels of Optimism

The great tennis icon Roger Federer stated before the 2015 US Open that his goal was to “get to the finals.”  He believed, expected and knew he could accomplish this and he did.  However, in the tournament Finals against world’s #1 Novak Djokovic Roger believed but did not fully expect and know he could win. This was evidenced by his uncharacteristic unforced errors on crucial points in the match. Novak knew he could and would win and that was the ultimate difference.

There are three levels of optimism.  They are belief, expectancy and knowing.  Belief in what you are trying to accomplish typically gets you in the game.  This is true in business, sports and even making good grades.  “I believe I can make $100,000 this year,” thinks the young sales executive.  “I believe I can break 80,” ponders the hopeful golfer. Unfortunately, belief by itself won’t get it done, especially against formidable competition.

Expectancy is much different than belief.  Select a goal that you would like to achieve.  With the goal in your mind say, “I believe I can accomplish this.”  Now say to yourself, “I expect to accomplish this.”  Now you can feel the difference. Belief by itself will struggle and waver without expectancy. Expectancy narrows your focus and helps you set the positive tone.  It closes the door on indecision and doubt. This element of confidence will keep you focused for your entire goal pursuit regardless of the circumstances, conditions and situations.

There is a big difference between believing and expecting to do something. Most competitions are won or lost before they are played. Some believe.  Some don’t.  Some expect.  Most don’t. Champions win first in their mind and then walk into the arena.  They expect to win. They are comfortable when the goal is within their grasp.  They do not over-try or press.  They just execute their basic strengths with an extreme sense of expectancy that it will be enough. Non-champions enter the arena and then try figure out what to do while dwelling on what they don’t do well.

Take out your list of well-defined goals.   Do you believe you can reach them?  Do you truly expect them to be accomplished?  Have you identified your strengths? Do you believe and expect them to be enough?

The ultimate, of course, is the sense of knowing.  This final element of confidence trumps both belief and expectancy.  Knowing comes from an extreme positive inner dialogue throughout your goal pursuit.  The foundation of knowing is paved from relentlessly executing your strengths. This takes repetition of visualizing what you do well.  With these strengths mentally etched in your mind, then see the end result in a finished state.  Knowing is acquired from the positive validation from your experiences.

The good news for the inexperienced is that your subconscious does not know the difference between fantasy and reality.  Therefore, your repetitive visualization of achievement can circumvent the lack of experience.   This is how Tiger Woods went straight to the top when he first joined the PGA Tour.  He dealt fearlessly from his strengths. Of course, his current lack of knowing has resulted in his most recent poor showings and spiraling world ranking.  Have you heard him talk about his strengths lately?  It used to be his mental game, his clutch shot making, and confident putting when the money was on the table.

The New England Patriots have won six Super Bowls.  They won this year’s Super Bowl over the LA Rams because of their unflappable, collective mindset.  They believed they would win.  They expected they would win.  They knew they would win.

If you have a serious stretch goal to reach, deal from your strengths.  I recommend having thoughts of goal attainment as you wake you up in the morning and just before you sleep at night.  Picture executing your strengths as you achieve your quest. What you think in these two times of your day are recorded and replayed at least 15-20 times while you sleep.  Repeating this will program your subconscious from simple belief to a sense of knowing and ultimate success.

This simple repetitive technique is helping students make straight A’s, companies garner record profits and athletes from every sport turn in personal, team and even world records.

Unfortunately, most readers will not spend the time to program themselves for success.   The toughest task is repetitively “selling you on your strengths.”  It’s about believing, expecting and knowing your strengths are enough to be successful. This self-discipline is a stumbling block for most.

To ensure success, “selling you on your strengths” needs to happen, especially during the following times.

  • Just as you awake
  • Within 30-minutes of sleep
  • Just after you make a mistake
  • Just after you do something awesome (this anchors the positive feeling)
  • Immediately upon receiving negative results
  • Immediately upon having a negative thought
  • Immediately upon verbally putting yourself down
  • Frequently during training or practicing for goal achievement
  • When working on your strengths
  • When thinking about your areas of growth
  • Immediately after defeat

Do you have the three levels of optimism?

Most successful people in life, business and sports have climbed the ladder of optimism on the rungs of belief, expectancy and knowing.  Taking the leap from the pro golf tour to the PGA or catapulting from minor league baseball to the “MLB Show” demands this. The business landscape is littered with failures that only needed unwavering optimism. Start-up companies today are by-passing decades old, industry icons with optimism that provides an edge over their seasoned competitors.

Believe in your goal-oriented routines that are based on your strengths.  Expect your strengths to produce great results.  Know that your strengths are enough.  Keep honing your strengths.

Be in the Zone!

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