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The Head Leads the Body

The head leads the body.

​I’ve been saying this to athletes for years to help them understand the importance of their head position and how it affects their body mechanics and ultimately their performance. Whether a hitter or pitcher, swimmer or runner, where your head goes your body follows. It’s fundamental to having good, efficient technique.

Until last week I had only used this phrase to describe the “physical” significance it has and never considered its mental relevance.  After hearing it used on the Daily Stoic podcast, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Of course the head leads the body, even MORE SO on the mental side.  I’ve always stressed mental preparation and how that directly relates to performance, but never communicated it in this way.

All events, in and of themselves, are neutral. It’s up to us to add interpretation. To add meaning. To assign significance.

Our perception is our reality.  Many times, simply changing the way we “see” or judge an event will change our feelings toward it and can either help or hinder our future performance.  There are so many things we cannot control. However, when something happens in our lives we can control how we see it.  Whatever happened, it’s neither positive nor negative.  It’s ultimately up to us to decide how we want to interpret it.  Once we understand this very simple fact, once we are able to control our responses to the things that happen to us, we will unleash a mental power that will skyrocket us toward our potential.

How are you interpreting your world?  Your successes? Your failures? When things don’t go exactly how you want them to, how do you react?  When someone says or does something that you do not like or that is hurtful, do you give their words power?  

This doesn’t mean that good or bad things won’t happen to you.  It just means that you get to decide how you respond.

Picture these scenarios:At a crucial point in a game, the official makes a call against your team.After working hard all pre-season, you get cut and do not make the team.Your coach tells you that you are not a starter on the team, but will have an important role off the bench and in practice.You get cut off by an aggressive driver while on the highway.After writing a paragraph-long text message to your friend or significant other, you receive a one-word text back.You injure your knee at practice and the doctor tells you that you need surgery and will miss the rest of the season. What is your response to these scenarios?  Emotional? Rational? Do you react impulsively or under control?  In any of them, will your response change what had just occurred? On the flip side, will your response influence your mindset going forward?  These are important questions to ask yourself. How you label and interpret events such as these will impact your mindset and the decisions you make in their aftermath.  And that interpretation can lead you toward glory or self-destruction.

Remember, all events are neutral.  The head leads the body. Once you start controlling how you interpret the events in your life, you will gain an incredible power over every situation and you will be on the road toward becoming your best-self.

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