When you have expectations, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
There’s a victory in letting go of your expectations.
I’ve come up with The 0 / 100 Rule in coaching athletes and dealing with expectations from parents bestowed upon them. Even in my brother and my Guinness World Record™ attempts, this rule applied. It’s a way to reduce and eliminate frustration and focus on the controllables, like effort level. 0 stands for the expectation level and 100 stands for the % of effort. Going into any competition or contest, you should have zero expectations of the outcome because the outcome is not fully controllable by you. However, giving 100% effort during the contest is very much achievable. As a side bar, some athletes say that they want to give 110% effort, but there’s no such thing as something above 100%, as this is the highest capacity that you have. That simply means that your 100% was really 90% as your 110% is really 100%. But focusing on the controllable of the effort and reducing your expectations to nothing will reduce frustration because frustration is caused by the disparity of your expectation level and your level of performance. The difference is frustration. Whereas, if your performance level is higher than your expectation level, then you have confidence.
I’m not saying that if you have 0 expectations going into competition, that means you try less hard. On the contrary, you shift your focus to something that you can control, which is your effort. Now some would say that you need expectations in order to have achievement. I suggest that these are goals. Goal setting happens before competition not during it. Athletes would have goals set prior to the contest yet focus on the elements that they can control during the competition. Have a goal that you will win; having the belief that you will win and have the expectation that you will win are different things.
Effort is a controllable just like attitude, preparedness, sportsmanship, and teamwork. These are controllables. If you focus on the controllables, like effort, and you are aware that if your expectations are too high, you could have disappointment, you will have the right mindset for competition.
The irony about our world record in 2008 was that I was the most nervous after we set the record. While we were still rallying, the goal of mine was not to make a mistake. And we didn’t. I let the ball pass on purpose at a one minute past midnight, so we that we could end up with the identical number of strokes, since I started with the serve. The reason why I was the most nervous after we set the record was that I had an expectation in place that I wasn’t going to make a mistake. Once we set the record, and were simply adding to the record total, I had got very nervous for a moment because I had raised my expectations. I had to lower my expectations and accept whatever the outcome was to shake off my nerves. If a mistake happened, not too bad, we had already captured the world record.
If you constantly check yourself and your level of awareness of your expectations to make sure that your expectations are 0, you will reduce frustration and increase your chance of success.
Minimize frustration and maximize success by using The 0 / 100 Rule.
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You can learn more about a couple of tennis GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ that I have been a part of:
Our Inspiration – 2 World Records 2 Minute Video
FOX News Story
MSNBC News Story
Inspirational Tennis Story: Tennis Begins with Love
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