How I Became an Expert and You Can Too

17 Tips from New Toughness Training for Sports

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becoming an expert is much like becoming a pro basketball player, reach high, start small

We all want to become masters. Experts. Pros. But what we do, think, believe, and feel change like the tide. As we realize our strengths, and shoot for mastering a craft, we must realize the resistance, loss of trust, confidence, and self-belief, especially in the beginning of our journey, is normal.

Becoming an expert takes performance and belief, but what comes first?

As an expert in the field of professional athletics (basketball), there is something to be said for jumping into the deep end and behaving like an expert right from the get-go. But there is false picture that experts, pro athletes, and successful high level people paint; that they never lacked confidence, self-belief, and faith in their skills.

I call B.S.!

Mental toughness in building habits, or working on your dream/goal/craft continually may come before belief in yourself. Most of the time, I realized faith or confidence in myself was just a state of being — a series of thoughts/emotions/behaviors that came and went like the rain.

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becoming an expert

The New Toughness Training for Sports*:

  1. Change your thinking to change the way you feel.
  2. Change the picture if you don’t like the feeling.
  3. Take full responsibility for what you think and how you think.
  4. Practice positive thinking constantly.
  5. Never think or say ‘I can’t’; never think or say ‘I hate.’
  6. Think empowering thoughts.
  7. Think humorously to break up negative emotions.
  8. Think more energetically.
  9. Learn to keep a here-and-now focus during competition.
  10. During critical moments of execution, focus your attention outside yourself.
  11. Practice strategic visualization constantly.
  12. Be more disciplined in the way you think about your mistakes.
  13. Be clear why it’s important to fight. Before the battle begins, make the commitment.
  14. Use adversity to get stronger.
  15. Constantly remind yourself to love the battle.
  16. Use positive brainwashing to break negative mental habits.
  17. Focus on ‘Just for today.

I always try to act with a growth mindset type thinking, to detach from (micro) failures, and just act like an expert writer, businessman, entrepreneur, startup guru, and dog owner. The confidence, self-belief, and life lessons will come.

Just start performing. Working. Even if you don’t believe in yourself, just start doing what you want. If you love doing it, go. Live it. Work. Chop the wood, master the craft.

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Expert Training Tips

An insightful book on this is Steven Pressfield’s, The War of Art. Resistance is brutal. Your mind is a savage. Rarely, when starting off, does self-belief and confidence align in your efforts to be an expert. I found the opposite to be true. Self-belief is rarely the thing that got me through to being a professional athlete.

If anything, it was my faith in something greater than myself, in my daily workout plan and habits, the work of the “Universe/God/Energy/The Things Unseen” we can all tap into, my constant obsession of creation, and everything else I couldn’t see or touch. In the beginning, I lacked confidence, belief, and always felt like I wasn’t good enough to reach my goals. It was my battle to slowly change those limiting self-beliefs.

Faith in yourself, in something greater than yourself, helps, no doubt. But I bet most pros or experts (most wouldn’t want to admit this), in the beginning, had more self-doubt than self-belief when they started. I bet they (just like me) had more fear and distrust when they were starting their expert journey, finding their way as athletes, (and this goes for CEO’s, parents, entrepreneurs, etc), failing and playing in front of growing crowds of people, wondering if they were good enough at nigh.

Budding experts, athletes, and learners must have enough belief that they can trust themselves to change their behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and habits in the moment to make a change for the future.

Maybe the only initial belief you need to have is in your passion to change for what you love. That self-awareness is all you need to begin that path, that small step, in building the first brick of your own Rome. This small sliver of hope could be the starting point to acquire any information, any accreditation, and realize competing with the best in your field is the game and to be in the game means one must love the battle and the daily ins and outs, ups and downs, in becoming an expert.

Don’t wait around for support or validation. In some arenas, there is no proof, no one choosing you as an All-Star, no selection committee that says you are an expert all-star! It may be just you staying true to your craft, your business, your passion, and beating the daily resistance.

Belief is over-rated in my opinion. That comes as you build your successful habits, work ethic, and craft; when one day years later, you realize, “Damn, I am a really really good { }!”

I never once thought: I believe I’m an expert pro basketball player. No, in fact, I prayed, obsessed, and visualized waking up tomorrow morning to work hard on acquiring more information on my craft, and execute the insane training game plan I had built around my passion.

In the beginning, I would let my body of work reflect my love for the game.

My super duper expert advice:

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by Helloquence on Unsplash

Make your reservoir of creation, your skill set, your art, your craft, your passion, your purpose so big, so good, so amazing, you can’t be ignored. Then one day you will step back and look at it and believe in your process, in yourself even more.

One day you will realize your doubt lives in the shadow of your own creation.

The self-belief will come from the work, from the obsession of thoughts, feelings, visions, and purpose you built for yourself. If you want to change your beliefs, change your behavior, and start beating the resistance.

*Jim Loehr, The New Toughness Training for Sports: Mental Emotional Physical Conditioning from One of the World’s Premier Sports PsychologistsPaperback — November 1, 1995

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