Who among us has never had a bad attitude? We’re all human and we all have bad days at work, but most of us don’t have our bad days broadcast for the whole world to see.
In January of 2019, the current world #5 ranked tennis player, Naomi Osaka, had a rough day at the office as she suffered a tough 6-2, 6-4 loss to a strong competitor, #24 ranked Lesia Tsurenko. It was a tough match as Naomi was broken three times and clearly was not at her best as she showed a lot of frustration on the court.
The most interesting part of the story, though, is her honesty in owning up to her main problem. After the match, she apologized to the tournament organizers and her fans who had to watch her perform so poorly.
“If I’m being really frank, I just feel like I had the worst attitude today. I feel like I didn’t really know how to cope with not playing well. I was sulking a little bit, and like there are moments that I tried not to do that, but then the ball wouldn’t go in, and then I would go back to being, like, childish and stuff. I feel like last year I did a lot of that.”
Recognizing the problem is a first great step. To perform at our best, we have to stop negative thinking in its tracks. The next step is to do the mental work to be positive. Naomi went on to say,
“I’m trying to change it more, and I think I have. I think today I learned.. what I can do to improve the situation.”
Wow! That shows some positive accountability and a willingness to work at improving her mindset.
Here’s the deal with negative thinking. It’s like coming in from the cold and wrapping yourself up in a freezing, wet blanket. Who likes that? We get frustrated or angry and our body gets tense. Negative thinking tightens us up and often leads to choking or poor performance.
On the other hand, positive thoughts are like a comfy, warm blanket. Positive thinking opens our minds up and creates space for us to work and play with more swagger. Our minds are wrapped in that warm blanket of optimism and belief that we can accomplish whatever is facing us. We then put ourselves in position to perform at our best.
Training yourself to think positively takes time. You must work at it every day.