The Winner’s Mentality

Every time I watch a game, I am reminded again of my utter lack of a killer instinct and winning mentality in sports. Hapa Papa says that is because I don’t play any.

I beg to differ. I’ll have you know that I played on the tennis team in high school.

I can say with great assuredness that any time I started losing momentum, I would almost immediately resign myself to having lost the game and pretty soon, game, set, match, I’d given up the game.

Now, one could argue that had I more competency in tennis, I would’ve been more confident and sure of my win. Or it could be my being female. Who knows? All I know is that I am not a clutch player. I would rather take the guaranteed loss than risk my heart and try, then lose.

But I suppose Hapa Papa could be right. Perhaps if I had grown up playing sports and had enough proficiency, I too would want the game winning shot.

All I know is that thought terrifies me. I think it’s also part of the reason I wasn’t more successful as a Financial Advisor. (It has an 80% fail rate.) Even going into the job, I didn’t think I could do it. How could I succeed with an attitude like that?

I was always waiting for my manager to call me in his office and say they were letting me go. Any time a client called, I would internally freak out that they were going to tell me they were unhappy or wanted to leave. (Although when clients fire you, you usually just see the account transfer out. There rarely is any advanced notice.)

What is my point with all this? I guess that fear pervaded so much of my life. It was in my bones. And I can’t tell whether that is because this Loser’s Mentality is because I just wasn’t confident and competent or whether this is because I have a character flaw and am destined for failure in all that I do. (Which, logically, I know is ridiculous. Because if I failed at everything, wouldn’t that mean I succeeded at failing? This hurts my brain on a Monday morning after a late night JT concert.)

 

One thing I am pleasantly surprised about, though. For someone who yells at my kids a lot, I am actually rather calm when “crises” occur. I have taken multiple calm trips to the ER (mostly for Cookie Monster because this boy sure gets injured!) and have even administered an Epi-pen shot (also Cookie Monster) without totally going berserk. Not sure how I’d react in situations that require CPR, but I did learn it (a few years ago – I should have a refresher course) and if someone were to require it, I’d probably be able to do so. Especially, if that someone were my kid.

Hmmm. Now that I think of it, I read a book called Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing by Po Bronson (affiliate link used) that does explain a lot of it. (Same authors of NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children.) You can read an excerpt/NY Times article here.

The tl;dr version is that we all have two copies of a COMT gene. One version makes us a Worrier (excellent under every day circumstances and crumbles under pressure) and one version makes us Warriors (bored under every day circumstances and thrives under pressure). 50% of us have a copy of each gene while 25% of us have both Worrier genes and 25% of us have both Warrior genes.

They ran experiments for performance under stress and found that while you would think the Warriors would perform best, it was also not entirely true. Under similar beginner skill levels, Warriors would perform best. However, once the level of experience increased, Worriers would perform better because they had more experience and a better memory from which to draw.

Anyhow, my blathering aside, I guess that it just means I do not have the skill or experience needed to be a clutch player but I DO for parenting my children. That’s comforting on a Monday morning. 🙂

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