Monday, August 11, 2008


Ever heard the story of the four-minute mile? For years people believed that it is impossible for a human being to run a mile in less than four minutes until Roger Banister proved it wrong in 1954.

Within one year, 37 runners broke the belief barrier. And the year after that, 300 other runners did the same thing.

What happens if you put an animal in a pond? Any animal, big or small, will swim its way through. What happens when someone, who does not know how to swim, falls in deep waters? You drown.

If an animal who has not learned swimming could escape by swimming, why not you? Because you believe you will drown while the animal does not.

You have used a computer keyboard or a typewriter. Ever wondered why the alphabets are organized in a particular order in your keyboard? You might have thought it is to increase the typing speed. Most people never question it.

But the fact is that this system was developed to reduce the typing speed at a time when typewriter parts would jam if the operator typed too fast.

These three cases show the power of our beliefs. There is no other more powerful directing force in human behavior than belief.

Your beliefs have the power to create and to destroy. A belief delivers a direct command to your nervous system.

And that is what is missing in Malaysian athletes of late – the belief factor. And our archers exit at the Beijing Games is another indication of lack of self belief.

Many a battle is often won in the dressing room or even at the training ground but our athletes are oblivious to this fact. They think that by going out and performing well on the match/event day, they will taste success.

In the case of the archers, they were doomed as the Team Manager took the spotlight away from them, though he will claim he was taking away the pressure. But if these athletes cannot handle pressure, then they have no business being there.

But it is the hard work that they put in during the training sessions that makes the difference between fame and shame, and sadly for those who have exited the games, it was not entirely their doing.

And there is the question of self doubt within our athletes and this is something that only they can overcome.One has to compete and overcome the burden of self doubt if they are going to be successful.

No coach will ever know the outcome of any match or contest in advance for even the best can be beaten.

For many it is their apprehension that provides the fuel for their outstanding competitiveness.

The other side of this is that the paralyzing inertia of doubt that can make one risk averse and indecisive.

The great battle between belief and doubt is fought everytime one competes against worthy opponents, and it is an ever present obstacle to overcome.

It is also our belief that determines how much of our potential we will be able to tap. So you better examine some of your beliefs minutely.

For example, do you believe that you can excel in whatever you do? Do you believe you are bad in mathematics? Do you believe that other people don't like you? Do you believe life is full of problems? What are your beliefs about people?

No belief is right or wrong. It is either empowering or limiting. A belief is nothing but the generalization of a past incident.

As a kid if a dog bit you, you believed all dogs to be dangerous. To change a particular behavior pattern, identify the beliefs associated with it. Change those beliefs and a new pattern is automatically created.

Have you heard about the placebo effect? People who are told a drug will have a certain effect will many times experience that effect even when given a pill without those properties.

Perhaps that is what Malaysian sports needs, a dose of self confidence that will last a lifetime.