Mastering my own mind

I have made more than my share of mistakes in life. At times I think I’m balancing out those super-successful, effortless types. All of them.

Being physically uncoordinated (I actually received a “Two Left Feet” award once) is a bad start. That problem has crossed a number of sports off my list altogether.

But there’s perhaps a larger problem that sets me back: it’s the way my mind (if your philosophy does not allow for a “mind,” then feel free to substitute “brain”) functions.

No, I haven’t been diagnosed with any sort of neurological disorder…at least not yet. Yet I often feel and act as if I’m missing the part of my brain that’s supposed to make me step back and focus.

I can’t just chalk it up to senility or memory loss. I bumped into an old college acquaintance today, and I shocked him by remembering what he majored in and his wife’s name all these years later.

Yet I couldn’t remember to take my head out of my ass long enough to buy everything I needed to buy (for work) at the store or get every box into my car before I ventured out prematurely. My flakiness inconvenienced other people, and it quite justifiably made me look foolish and incompetent.

I was searching for a good quote on the subject when I ran across this:

Mental toughness can take you to the top, and mental weakness straight to the bottom.

John Schiefer

If this were just a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of occurrence, then I might not fret so much about it. But I see it as a particularly serious pattern in myself. When things are moving quickly, I simply can’t think straight. I tend to collapse mentally and make dumb errors just like the over-excited defensive end who jumps off sides on the first play of the Super Bowl. Sometimes, when I’m under pressure, I can’t perform even the simplest tasks correctly.

So how does one develop this sort of “mental toughness?” I don’t quite know yet, but I think I owe it to myself and those I work with to figure it out and master my own mind. For too long I have allowed my mind to master me.