For those that don’t watch sports, Adam Vinatieri is a 46 year old kicker in the NFL who is widely regarded as the greatest kicker to ever play the game. Much to my town of Indianapolis’ chagrin, the last two games he has missed a career worst number of kicks. Out of 8 kicks, most of them being routine kicks, he has only made 3. That would be bad for a struggling high school kicker, let alone the best to ever play the game.
Most people think that Vinatieri hit some age wall where he suddenly can’t make a routine chip shot - as if his leg deteriorated to the point of being inaccurate from short distances overnight. As such, many think it’s time for him to retire.
In reality, if you go grab Vinatieri when he is 60, I bet he’ll be able to kick 10 extra points in a row without the kind of problems he is having now. It’s not his age. It’s just a typical slump. Slumps happen to everyone, but when you are a baseball player or a kicker in the NFL, your slumps are obvious, measurable and compounding.
The real question is - why do slumps happen and how on Earth do we make them stop?
It’s no secret that who you spend time with determines who you are. Your friends, family, coworkers - every second you spend with them you are being shaped. Hopefully someone’s told you this and it shouldn’t surprise you to hear that if you are spending your time with optimistic, happy, winners - that you are more inclined to be optimistic, happy, and find ways to “win” (however you define winning).
If you want to be happier, you should extend this to the media you consume, as much as you do the people with which you associate. In the era of podcasts, 24 hour news/entertainment, and social media, you are constantly telling your brain what to look for.
The memories that impact you the most are memories that you can step into all over again. When you think about them, it's like you're reliving the experience and not simply watching it from afar.
This is called an associated memory.
If you've never taken control of your mind, your default setting is to make your traumatic memories associated ones. Your brain is designed for survival so it wants you to really live with the things that hurt you. This is ideal for running from lions or wooly mammoths, but not necessarily optimal for giving a great PowerPoint presentation at work or connecting with your spouse.
The best moments of your life, you will remember from a distance, like you're watching a movie instead of living it. Almost like it is a pleasant thing that is happening to someone else.
I can't say enough how powerful a tool it is to change this pattern - disassociate from your traumatic memories and associate your happiest moments.
I challenge you today to go back to a great memory - could be your wedding, a moment where you were flowing at work and commanding the room, or even an incredible sexual experience - and see it all again from your own first person perspective.
This will put you in touch with the most positive states you've experienced and change how you experience the rest of your day and ultimately will help you tap into the best version of yourself.
Your life coach.