How Your Beliefs Are Influencing Your Riding Outcomes
One of the biggest misconceptions that many riders operate under is that beliefs are somehow a static entity, separate or divorced from action and results. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Beliefs are actually a fundamental building block in terms of riding behavior and outcome; what a rider believes, what he thinks is possible or impossible to a great extent does actually determine the outcome.
Why is this so? From a biochemical and neurological perspective, when you don’t believe in something, you are sending your nervous system consistent messages that limit or eliminate your ability to produce a result. It’s the glass ceiling effect; you have essentially created a boundary or limitation of what it is that you believe to be possible for yourself, and as a consequence, your mind accepts the limitations and no longer searches for ways to break through those barriers.
While this may seem trivial, it is actually fundamental. Why? When we repeat or reinforce a belief consistently, we give it a sense of permanence that breeds pessimism, procrastination and inaction. Think of yourself when you are in this state. Are you likely to take the necessary action to move you closer towards the situation that you want? When you are feeling pessimistic or like you “don’t have what it takes” are you more likely to look for “ways out” that stop you achieving your goals, or do you create the types of emotional state that will keep you moving forward in times of adversity?
Changing your beliefs about yourself and how you view your riding capability is critical in moving forward.
So what is the difference between riders who experience success and those who don’t? Successful riders have beliefs that allow them to gain access to their most resourceful states on a consistent basis. Our beliefs tend to determine what value we give to something. Nothing is inherently bad or good. Value is how we represent it to ourselves. We can represent things in a way that puts us in a positive state, or we can do the opposite.
The key to producing the kind of results that you desire in your riding is to represent things to yourself in such a way that puts you in such a resourceful state that you are empowered to take the types of quality actions that will create your desired outcomes.
Let’s take the following examples, and frame it from that of a negative belief and value system. Instead of viewing a single incident, such as falling off your horse, a “bad day” out at competition, or dealing with a frisky young horse as exactly that, a single incident or moment in time, limiting beliefs cause us to focus our attention consistently in this one incident or area. From here we create labels, and furthermore, we bask in a sea of disempowering questions. We are hopeless, unskilled, a chicken, useless, incompetent. Why does this always happen to me? We can never seem to get it together. It’s not fair. It’s never my turn. Better off doing nothing than completely wreck my horse.
If we were to turn it around and focus on positive solutions that arise from more empowered frameworks, we might ask ourselves, what would I have to believe in order for this to be possible?
For example, if you have just taken a fall of your horse and ever since he is sitting in the paddock, take a few moments to clarify what your goals are. They might be as simple as walking and trotting a few laps around the arena, or as advanced as taking your horse to Grand Prix.
If you think at this stage you are hopeless, inept and unskilled, then the chances are if you are not already, then you are certainly headed that way.
Instead, think to yourself, what would I have to believe in order to accomplish my goals?
You might have to believe that you are determined and willing to do whatever it takes to make your dreams happen.
You might have to believe that you are resourceful enough to get the professional help that you need to see you moving forward.
The answer is always consistent action. And consistent action comes with the belief that you have to ability to turn things around regardless of past performance, of past experience.
The minute that you begin to doubt your own beliefs that things are permanent, you break down the seeming “permanence” of your situation. Challenge them. Beliefs only hold power when they go unchallenged.
Jane Pike is an Equestrian Mental Skills Coach at www.confidentrider.online.