How to Aim High and Hit the Target
In a moment, I’ll tell you a story about my deepest wish when I was 15, which was to ride one of the Lippizaner stallions from the Viennese Spanish Riding School. When fully trained, these horses are arguably the best in the whole world when it comes to dressage, just so’s you know how high I was aiming! Let’s see what happened…
What Locks You out of Your Success?
How to lose the ‘lack mentality’
So much of this marketing malarkey involves growing a positive mindset. But how does this actually happen? How do we make these changes in our own perception of the real world? How do we make achieving our personal goals a part of the harsh reality of life?
“Lack Mentality – Really – me?”
The fact is that Mindset is all about very subtle placements of energy, and training your mind to default into positivity. It has to become your natural state, rather than a trick you play on yourself. It’s so easy to simply try and ‘be positive’ and believe that this is the same thing as having a positive mindset.
Of course, you do have to start out that way, especially if you have a lot of work to do on your attitude at the start (most of us do).
“But I’m trying to be positive…”
Starting out with ‘trying to be positive’ requires huge amounts of conscious and daily effort. It’s an attempt to pull you out of the habitual negative state, by exchanging negative thoughts of failure and ‘lack mentality’ for upbeat and success affirmations.
Soames Forsyte from the famous Forsyte Saga…
Anybody under 50 probably won’t have a clue, but it was a 1967 BBC soap, based on one of John Galsworthy’s novels about a large commercial upper middle-class English family in 1906. One of the main characters is Soames Forsyte, played by Eric Porter in the 1967 BBC version I watched when I was 16! (By the way…that’s Fleur, Soames’ daughter played by Susan Hampshire – one of my all-time favourite stars – certainly when I was 15!)
The relevance of all this is that in 1926, a philosopher called Émile Coué was working on ‘conscious auto-suggestion’ (the Coué method) in the town of Troyes in France.
One of his famous phrases was “Tous les jours à tous points de vue je vais de mieux en mieux” which translates as “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” This was the mantra that Soames chanted to himself in front of the mirror every day, and these affirmations were very much the vogue at the time.
I still use that very same phrase myself, which I picked up from that BBC program fifty years ago. It’s been my own mantra ever since, and helped me to end up living in Austria for 5 years, learning dressage from the Spanische Hofreitschule in Vienna – the best riding school in the world.
By the time I was running a small 10-horse dressage school in the Freudenau , I had very much adopted this mantra into my life. I saw NO BARRIERS to anything I wished to achieve.
I was now teaching riders at Olympic level and above. By the way – the next stage above Olympic level is when you don’t compete at all, and simply continue to elevate yourself as far as you are able and as far as your particular discipline will allow – ‘art for art’s sake.’
This was truly a magical time. By focusing on the GOAL of teaching dressage in Austria, the means of achieving this goal were simply obstacles to be overcome – things to negotiate.
This was a vital time for me, because every achievement served to reinforce my positivity to the point where I knew I would succeed in anything I did. And more importantly, I still have this energy in my sixties – anything I want will arrive.
My best moment ever?
It was a beautiful still morning in 1978, and the sun was just rising over Alps. At about 6am I took ‘Siglavy Alma’ – a Lippizaner stallion – into the indoor school at Schloß Enzesfeld to exercise him. This horse was a retired ex-performance horse from the Spanische Hofreitschule in Vienna, and was one of the finest dressage horses in the world.
By simply focusing, I had truly achieved my ultimate goal in dressage, which was to ride exactly such a horse once in my life.
We can all have these pinnacle moments in our lives…
The point of this post?
“Everything is Gonna be Alright…”