Mind Games. When we talk about it, we would often picture ourselves in another person’s head, wreaking havoc on him – or her – and winning the battle even before it begins.
This is also affectionately called “living rent free in someone’s head” and is a common phrase in competitive sports which means by initiating mind games, a team or persons would already have won the initial “mental warfare”.
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2 mental strategies to get a winning edge over your rivals
The first strategy to get a winning edge over your rival is to realise that all you have to do is focus on yourself and not on another person.
In sport psychology, this is termed “controlling the controllables”. This means to only worry and control about things that are within your control – training, diet and game plan, among others.
You would only be spending wasted resources into things which are not in your control – how your rival trains, how fast they run, their diet, the placings of other people. Instead, focus your resources on something that could potentially help you.
The goal that you should have in endurance sports – marathons, long distance triathlons – is to beat your personal best, not to beat your rival. If you beat your personal best, that will indirectly help you to beat your rival as well.
The second strategy is to live by the saying “Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer”. If you are really concerned about getting a winning edge over your rival, gather the courage and ask if you can train together with them. Then, both of you would not only be on the same playing field, but that might just be the push you need to keep improving.
Having a healthy rivalry will help you to become better versions of yourselves.
Focusing on yourself will also lead to you not “caring” about what others do and let that upset you, as long as you believe in your process and training. This will inevitably help your own performance as you are more focused on yourself. Often, we get so caught up with what other people are doing, and what we can do to get into their head, that we end up letting them in our head instead.
Let us turn those people who are rent free in our heads pay up. If they are going to be in our heads, let us make the most out of it. Use that as a resource, a motivation, to better ourselves.
Let us learn from our rivals. Let them push us to even greater heights than we have ever dreamt of.