When I mentor pool players the first thing I clarify is the “mental game”. It’s actually quite simple to demonstrate. I take them to a pool tournament and ask them to listen closely to what the participants say, especially after each game is concluded.
Pool players are notorious for the way they express themselves after winning or losing a game. The difference is that those who lose a match, but go on to eventually win, are normally the players who are expressing positive, winning words. They are mentally preparing themselves to do better and be their best. On the other hand, it is very easy to identify those who will usually not improve and move forward, because they are typically expressing every reason why they lost, why they are off their game and why the other person won or even worse, why “something” is holding them back from excelling. (If you watch the movie “The Color of Money” listen to what Paul Newman tells Steven Mizerak’s character after Steve loses and states “I didn’t deserve that.” Paul Newman tells him “Yes, you did.” If you watch the scene you’ll discover why Paul said that. Hint: it was because of Steve’s negative self-talk.)
Not all players ”get” this lesson, but those who do tend to become rather good pool players. It doesn’t matter how good a player’s mechanics and technique are if they do not believe they can win. Winners think affirmative thoughts and cultivate a positive mental attitude and that’s why we often see players with subpar mechanical skills win tournaments and championships, because in the end the winners are the ones who believe they can win, regardless of their technical skill level.
In all walks of life, people who are successful focus on what they can do, what their strengths are and do not focus on their limitations and weaknesses. They seem to ignore the supposed “rule” that they should master their weaknesses. A winner rarely gives any reasons why they can’t do something or why they are unable or otherwise constrained, even if they do have legitimate reasons. Of course, they have weaknesses and limitations, but they find ways to work around them or use other tools to overcome them. In other words, their positive mental attitude helps them look for solutions and possibilities constructively, without thinking they will never find ways or that the ways they find will not work.
Even with ADHD you can cultivate a positive mental attitude, although, yes, you have legitimate “technical” difficulties due to ADHD. A sincere positive mental attitude will help you find ways that work for you. The secret to PMA is that it is a life-long integral part of one’s thinking process and cannot simply be tried on for size. If you want to do better, accomplish your dreams and live a happy, fulfilling life, you may want to consider cultivating a positive mental attitude in “what you can do” that is unwavering even after a loss. I believe you can do it, even if you have ADHD!
A positive mental attitude is no way a cure for ADHD, but it helps put us “in” the game of life and find ways to become an achiever! If you’ve read my book One Boy’s Struggle: A Memoir, then you know it is the mental game of playing pool that assisted me in seeking help for my ADHD. I still use aspects of the “mental game” in order to manage every day with ADHD. That has also helped me develop the philosophies I share on my blog and in my books. I tell you what, I used to be able to talk myself out of putting one foot in front of the other… it wasn’t pretty!
I highly recommend sports / games that require a high level of psychological conditioning for people with ADHD. It seems to me that some people who love to play and improve in a specific sport are willing to go through the rigors of developing a positive mental attitude, even if they do not realize it will help them in other aspects of their life. Sports such as golf, tennis, pool or even bowling, and many others, put one in the grips of failure more often than not, but the love for the game itself may help compel the “player” to seek the mental conditioning required to overcome those failures (Perhaps with the help of a coach, mentor, therapist and books etc.).
As they say, such games mirror life and give a person something definitive to work on for improvement, which in daily life is sometimes very difficult to “see”. A great book to read on this subject is: The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance (You can replace the “Tennis” with just about any sport or activity you want. I have never played Tennis!).
Stay tuned – in a few days I will be posting my new eBook How to be Happy Every Day even if you have ADHD!! It will be a free download. It’s my holiday gift to you!