Date: June 8, 1998
Title: Dan Jansen”s Olympic Secret
Author: By Dan Teitelbaum
Section: MENTAL TOUGHNESS
Dan Jansen had a problem. He was widely recognized as one of the world”s top speed skaters; but every time he competed in the Olympics, he would fall at some point in each and every race.
The first time it happened, a family member was in the hospital with leukemia, and his focus was seriously affected. He then fell in his next Olympic race, and in each subsequent one. Jansen was more than just perplexed. He knew he could take one of the top medals, if not the Gold. But for some reason, if the race he was competing in was at the Olympics, down he”d go.
At the Lillihammer games in 1994, Jansen was down to his last Olympic competition in the 1,000-meter skating event. In four years, he might be too old to compete.
Jansen employed the help of a well-known sports psychologist, Dr. Jim Loehr. Loehr prescribed one simple exercise for Jansen that he was to practice on a minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour basis. All Jansen had to do was repeat one phrase to himself, over and over, hour after hour: “I love the 1,000.” Jansen took Loehr”s advice on faith and repeated the phrase to himself over and over. In his last Olympic competition, Jansen took the Gold medal.
If you”ve been following this column, you”ll know that we use a computer model to explain how the brain works and how you can program it most quickly. In this model, we”ve compared the brain to a computer, with your conscious mind–everything you”re hearing, thinking and seeing right now–being similar to the computer”s screen.
Your subconscious mind is analogous to the computer”s hard drive, and we defined the next part of this working model your local subconscious. This area of your brain is just like a computer”s RAM memory, with several software applications running in the background, just beneath the surface.
As you”ve been reading this article, you may have clicked on the icon marked important calls, and for several seconds, your mind focused on important upcoming phone calls before returning to this article.
Finally, negative thinking about your goals comes from computer virus, and we gave that virus a name: Stanley.
Now, let”s hypothesize what happened to Dan Jansen with an initial question: When you look at your computer screen at home or at work, can you actually see the computer code running at the hard drive level?
Of course you can”t. All you”re aware of is what you see on the screen itself. But by observing what”s on the screen, we can infer what”s running at the deeper levels.
As you may know, there are a tremendous number of individual beliefs at the brain”s hard-drive level that control how we perform, how we see ourselves and how we interpret the world around us.
Let”s bring this back to the world-famous speed skater we were just talking about. At the area in Jansen”s hard drive that controlled his belief about his skating ability (which must have been tremendously high at all other competitive events), there must have been a line of code that read: IF: Event is non-Olympic, expect to win, skate at your best. IF: Event is Olympic, you will fall.
So as he prepared for, and then began skating each of his Olympic events–prior to working with Dr. Loehr–the software loaded into his local RAM memory from hard drive was directly influenced by Jansen”s belief that he would fall. Once that specific software was running in local subconscious, his chances of falling during the competition were increased greatly.
Once Jansen started repeating the phrase, “I love the 1,000,” over and over, to the point that it was always present in his conscious mind–and then in his subconscious–it eventually began to overwrite the old, negative beliefs at the hard-drive level.
Once the old belief had been overwritten, it was gone for good. In Jansen”s last race, as he began skating, the software running in his local subconscious was of the highest, most effective kind. In other words, he skated his usual race and he took the Gold medal in his last possible competition.
I”d like to suggest that you identify (1) the most important project you”re working on now, (2) the best-case scenario you”d like to see happen, and (3) exactly what the moment of victory will look like when you get there.
And remember, if Stanley, that negative voice in your subconscious, speaks up to tell you it won”t happen, shut him off quickly!
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