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Reframing Your Possibilities By Kevin Seaman
Reframing Your Possibilities
By Kevin Seaman
An excerpt from his book, The Mind Game Of MMA
“Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.”
Most of us have heard the term Frame Of Reference. The term actually comes from the way we perceive something due to our belief about that subject. In my book; The Mind Game Of MMA, I briefly covered the implications our references play in what we believe to be true or false and how it pertains to Combat Sports in Lesson One called The Mental Toolbox. References are supports that confirm why we feel something is actually the way we believe it is. OK, here’s the punch line! What you believe becomes your reality. And, this is true regardless if it is actually, in reality, real or not. Whether or not others believe it, it’s still your reality. These Support References will be Personal, Second Hand or Imagined, usually a combination of all three. Here’s an example: You know you’re a great fighter. How? You generally smoke most of your competition (Personal), your coach and training partners tell you how awesome you are, you see it in the write ups and on video (all Second Hand), and finally you see it in your head (Imagined). You dream of being the best, you play the mental pictures over and over in your mind’s eye of outstanding future performances (Imagined). These references support your frame of belief to help bring you one step closer to being the best. This powerful triadic support drives you confidently, boldly and unerringly toward your victory again and again. But, sometimes our mind creates conflicts of reference, and establishes conflicting beliefs. And sometimes those conflicts create a feeling of uncertainty. What do I mean? Have you ever driven your car out of your driveway with your parking brake on? You’re accelerating, but there is resistance from the brake and you can feel it holding you back. That’s what conflicting beliefs do… create resistance!
I’ve seen athletes who usually do well, blowing through the competition, suddenly put that emergency brake on. There’s a term in psychology for this known as “Approach Avoidance.” With a fighter, it could be that he/she has been successful and on track, and something or someone influences their belief that they will succeed. In many cases, their imagination does the rest, creating a disruption in their direction and yanking the emergency brake on, so to speak. Another possibility is that they feel they are not worthy of the success they are achieving or that people won’t treat them the same, if they become too successful. Other times it may be because they have a conflict in their values. I want to become great, but have seen what’s happened to fighters that have been on that road. That’s not who I am or want to become. These are all valid concerns. The question is, “What’s most important to you?”
"To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are." - Muhammad Ali
Mental Exercise #1
Here’s a great exercise to help confirm your beliefs. Draw three ovals on a page side by side in the Journal Entry area in the back of the book. Above that write your belief about something pertaining to you, your training, an event you’re involved in, your skill sets, etc. Now, write in the ovals Personal, Second Hand and Imagined. Starting with the first oval-Personal References, draw a line to another oval and write an example (reference) you’ve personally experienced in the past that proves you are capable and have accomplished something similar. Next, draw another line with another bubble and continue your list, creating as many bubbles as you can. Next draw a line as you did previously, now for the Second Hand References. Who’s told you “you can do this”, where have you seen it done before, who else has done this? Find as many examples as possible. Last, draw a similar line and bubble connecting to Imagined (references). Here write what you see in your head, how do you see yourself succeeding? What do you imagine yourself doing absolutely excellent? Imagined References are the most powerful! Think of an instance in history where there were no Personal or Second Hand References, yet people still accomplished amazing feats, feats accomplished in exploration, science and human rights. Imagination ruled those references in the heads of pioneers.
Substantiating Your Beliefs
According to my friend Greg Nelson, who is an amazing trainer, currently known for developing the talents of several outstanding competitors in Combat Sports, with his most recent fighter being Brock Lesner. “The belief in those around (training partners especially) is huge. If a fighter feels his training partners abilities and skills are second to none in preparing him for an upcoming fight, his confidence is definitely heightened.” Greg has long been driven by his powerful beliefs and emulates what it takes to be a champion at his academy in Minnesota.
I worked with a fighter once who had five consecutive wins, yet as his next fight neared I could sense he was very unsure. After talking to him, it was evident he was focusing not on the previous Personal References, but rather Second Hand References of what he had heard about this next competitor. Then his imagination took over, and apprehension seeped in. I recognized the problem immediately. His focus was on what he’d heard about the other guy, not what he’d done personally to his last five opponents. Once he realized I was right, his face changed immediately to confident and calm. Two days later he KO’d the guy in less than a minute. Most of the time your beliefs will be relative to what you focus on. Bottom line, if you look, you will find enough evidence to substantiate your belief and then move in the direction as if it were true.
Reframe Your Outlook
When Goliath came against the Israelites,
the soldiers all thought, “He’s so big we can never kill him.” But David looked at the same giant and thought,
“He’s so big, I can’t miss him.” -DALE TURNER
What is reframing? Reframing is a method of changing the way we may look at something by placing it in another frame of perception to a person’s viewpoint about the subject, changing the meaning and there by changing the emotion attached to the previous view or frame of reference. Our emotions are dramatically affected by the meaning we give to our experiences, and the meaning we give to any experience is shaped by the lens or filter through which we perceive it. The quote from Dale Turner is an awesome example of the power of reframing. Whereas the other soldiers all
were afraid of Goliath’s mammoth presence, David saw the situation in another, entirely different way. His frame of reference enabled him to feel powerful instead of petrified. After all, what we will do in any given moment depends not as much on our ability, as on our state of mind. Reframing is an invaluable tool for creating a Winning Mind Set. It gives you the opportunity to see things in different, more empowering perspectives.
Thomas Edison offers a classic example of reframing. It took him something like 10,000 attempts to invent the incandescent light bulb. When others chided him for failing so many times, and asked when he was going to give up his crazy idea, he was reported to have said, “I didn’t fail, I just figured out another way not to invent the light bulb.” He reframed what others saw as failure into a new distinction. He saw it as gaining more knowledge because he now knew one more approach that did not work, and so he could save time and effort by avoiding going in that particular direction. Because his reframing made him feel empowered and excited, he persevered. Had he been discouraged because he had failed yet again, chances are high that he would not have had the motivation to continue.
"The strongest leverage for all achievement is passion and desire. Weak desires, bring weak results, strong desires produce powerful results. The most difficult person to stop is the person with a burning desire"
- Kevin Seaman
Mental Exercise #2 How can you reframe a situation? Easy, all that you have to do is ask different questions. Consider the following in regard to any recent issue you may have experienced:
How might this be seen in a positive way? How can I use this constructively? What is actually good about this that I may not see, may be overlooking? In what ways does this get me closer to my goal? What did I learn from this that I could use in the future? What did I learn about myself? What lesson can I take from this? How will this experience make me better?
Be sure to write your results down in a Journal, this helps materialize your thoughts.
“Everything we are at this very moment in time, is a result of each and every decision we have made in our life up until NOW. If we don’t like the answer, time for us to ask better questions.” –Kevin Seaman
When a fighter loses, it is essential for him to process the event mindfully. The challenge that many have is that they look into the future and project their current failure. So instead of feeling down only about their current result, they project it to include all future results. Their internal self talk might go something like this: “If I messed up here, and I’ve done it before, I’ll probably do it again or I can’t believe I keep doing this. I’ll never get any better, I don’t even know why I even bother…” One objective of reframing is to limit the emotion of “failure”, which may include feelings of guilt, frustration, apprehension, and dejection, to the present experience only so that this negative emotion is not projected into the future. The other objective of reframing is to change the meaning you may have of the current experience from a negative, disempowering one, into a positive, empowering one; from a feeling of “I can’t believe I screwed up so badly,” to “I just learned what not to do in that situation.” Be truthful with yourself, what do you need to work on next? Who can help you who is extraordinary at this skill? Get to work! Using reframing to focus and direct your emotions into positive change creates a Winning Mind Set, and motivates you to continue to strive towards reaching your goals.
“If we change our frame of reference by looking at the same situation from a different point of view, we can change the way we respond in life. We can change our representation or perception about anything and in a moment change our (emotional) states and behaviors.”
– Anthony Robbins
One of the best examples of reframing I’ve ever heard came from World Renowned BJJ Black Belt John Machado during a class I was taking at the Inosanto Academy in Los Angeles. It went something like this, “When you tap, do not think of it as giving up. When you tap, you are thanking your partner. Thank you for showing what I need to work on, thank you for showing me not to get into that position again, thank you for helping me to learn. Thank you my friend”
“When you believe and think I can, something extraordinary happens. You activate a part of your brain called the Reticular Cortex. This small human bio-instrument immediately begins searching for all the possible ways for you to be successful. This creates drive, motivation, commitment and excitement. These qualities all directly relate to your success and the opportunities will disclose themselves!”-Kevin Seaman
Kevin Seaman has been in the martial Arts for 40 years, an instructor in the TBA, and a student of Ajarn Chai since 1986. He has written 3 books, The Winning Mind Set, The Mind Game Of MMA and Jun Fan Gung Fu: Seeking The Path Of Jeet Kune Do.