After tennis player Novak Djokovic won the Wimbledon 2011, he stated that he had found a ‘mental switch’ which bridged the gap between coming close to winning and actually winning. This article looks more closely at this question – can you flick your own mental switch..?
Winning Wimbledon was not Djokovic’s first Major win, but the tournament has such prestige that you really need to tick it off your list to have truly arrived at the top of the game.
After his win the 24 year old Serb said he thought that British player Andy Murray also needed to find that switch, so I thought it worthwhile to look at the idea in a bit more detail.
Djokovic had acquired the nickname of the Djoker, because he was well known for having a good time and joking around. Nothing wrong with that of course, enjoying life and appreciating the good things is always worth doing.
What he found though, was that the joking and playing around meant that his focus on his goal was not as razor sharp as other players e.g. Federer and Nadal. He realised that in order to beat those 2 he would need to change something.
So, he eased up on the joking, which in turn sharpened his focus. At the top levels of any field, small changes can make massive differences, and Djokovic noticed the increase in his level of play.
There was also a second benefit which came from the change. He said he suddenly felt he had this mental switch that he could turn on, and it was a switch that gave him belief, an expectation that he would win.
Now, I’ve never won Wimbledon (and I’m not about to anytime soon either!), but I *have* written about these ideas before when to comes to goal achievement and self improvement. Let’s look closer at how you can use the concepts of action, attitude and belief…
Action and attitude are 2 of what I call the 4 magic words beginning with ‘A’. Obviously Djokovic had taken lots of action over many years to get to be the top player he was, and he equally obviously had the attitude needed to put in the work, to make the sacrifices needed.
The key point in his story, and it’s something we can all use, is that he had a good enough attitude to change his own attitude! That may sound odd, using attitude to change attitude, but he realised that his mindset towards his goal, in this case winning Wimbledon, was not the same as the two players dominating the tournament.
He saw that he needed an even more blinkered focus than he had already shown. Having seen that, he was prepared to make adjustments, and took action to make them, turning down the kind of jokey publicity that he had previously accepted.
Once had backed up this attitude shift with concrete action, he found his belief had changed. Him winning Wimbledon now depended less on the others lowering their game, and more on him assuming himself as the winner unless someone else was good enough to stop him.
He expected to win.
Can you use these lessons in your own life? You bet you can! Take another look at your written goals (you do have your goals written down, right?)
Consider your attitude and belief about the goal. Do you genuinely believe it will happen? If not, why not? Do you need to shift your attitude, to sharpen your focus?
Are you really taking all the action steps you can towards it, are you prepared to pay the price needed? Sometimes the smallest change can make a huge difference.
If you get this mindset in place, your belief system will flick on like Djokovic’s, and the two will fall into place together. You’ll have your mental switch and it will take you on leaps and bounds towards your goal or personal development.