Fail like a sportsball player and all professional athletes by training your author mindset to be a high performance mindset. 

“I have been truly blessed with the ability to compartmentalize the many competing agendas in my mind. Because of this I can shut it off and enjoy the moment.”

Arlene Dickinson

How does a sportsball player keep getting up after they fall down? It’s as if the “fail” never happened. 

A big reason that professional athletes are elite in their fields (so to speak), is due to their ability to compartmentalize, especially after something doesn’t go well. And yes, I’m firmly entrenched in the football playoffs right now, so I’ll use football analogies to make my point.

When the quarterback throws an interception, when the receiver drops the ball, when the kicker misses the kick, they are professionally obligated to reset – and fast. There is no time for wallowing in failure, feeling bad, getting stuck in imposter syndrome, taking it personally, or fleeing to the locker room for a good cry. Athletes, football and otherwise, are trained to fall down, pop back up, and try to do better next time.

I will admit that I watch athletes, whether figure skaters crashing to the ice, baseball players striking out, or football players throwing that critical interception and how they move on from failure amazes me. That’s some incredible mind power, being able to reset that quickly, and quite often in a spectacular, game winning manner.

How can you do the same thing after a bad writing session, after receiving a poor book review, following a query rejection, or after some other temporary setback?

Without being a sportsball player and having no idea of their mental tricks of the trade I don’t have a magical pill to prescribe. I’m quite sure it’s more difficult than simply convincing yourself to get up, forget the thing happened, and move on. I suspect it’s called compartmentalizing because athletes at that level are able to lock the fail into a mental lock box and move on to the next task at hand.

Like any other mindset strategy, this takes practice. You can’t expect your mind to compartmentalize failure just because you really really want it to.

It might involve training yourself to be mindful. You might have to practice the process of returning to the present moment, especially when your mind wanders into the fear and anxiety zones of the past and future, where nothing productive can occur.

Or perhaps it would benefit you to do some self-reflection journaling on what failure means to you on a deep personal level. Is the idea of failing, even on occasion, contradictory to how you see yourself? Do some digging so that when failure happens, it’s less likely to level you and freeze you in your tracks.

Your mind is a powerful thing. Feed it with good ideas, tell it what you want it to do, and it will follow your lead.

P.S. Speaking of…. Have you been trying to write a book but it hasn’t yet happened? I’ve created a cartoon for you. Check it out!

Related Articles:

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Operating With an Olympian Mindset


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