DISCS & ZEN – Confidence, Self-talk, and Focus

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” – Lao Tzu

A few weeks ago, we discussed confidence on the Zen Disc Golf Podcast.

Confidence is  a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something. Confidence seems to come naturally for some people, and for others it is something they must continually work at. Confident people are generally happy people. They are happy at their jobs, they make friends easily and tend to be more resilient when they need to be than less self confident people. people with a low sense of self confidence (and low self opinion) tend to carry a high amounts of anxiety, worry, and often see the world as a dark and bleak place.

There are many books on the market about self-confidence alone that can range several hundred pages, But to put quite simply: the root of self-confidence is your personal self-talk. If you can create a pattern of positive self talk then confidence will follow.

Self-talk is a pattern of thinking, often cyclical, that often goes un-noticed, but noticed or not – it’s there, and it in large part determines your success in life and on the course. Self-talk stems from our experiences of the world. The biggest reason people suffer from a lack of self-confidence has to do with negative experiences that have been programmed in there minds and perpetuated with negative self-talk. If this self-talk is never corrected, it rips apart the foundation of their personal self-confidence. This is why having some type of meditation practice, whether formal or informal (such as simply having a sense of mindfulness on the disc golf course), is so important. You must be a witness to your thinking. You must control your thoughts or your thoughts will control you.

In Zen & the Art of Disc Golf, I stated that positive attitude lays the foundation for focus on the disc golf course. In fact positive attitude (and the positive self-talk that accompanies it) is the bricks of your foundation and confidence is the mortar. The stronger your foundation, the easier time you will have focusing on the course and in life.

Often times we hear people blame others for ruining their self-confidence but confidence is internal. You own it. It is yours. That is why it has the word “SELF” attached to it. Consider yourself a castle surrounded by a deep and wide moat. For someone to destroy your confidence, you must first lower the draw bridge and allow them inside. You must give them the key.

Self-confidence and a proper positive attitude lay the foundation for focus. And as we all know focus is the key to winning on the course and in life.

Use these tips to help develop a solid foundation of confidence on the course and try to expand on these to allow the virtue of confidence TO have overflow into your life:
  • Be mindful of your thinking. Stop self-destructive thinking before it takes root.
  • Practice like every round is a tournament round.
  • Constantly look for ways to step out of your comfort zone. Play new courses, new tee-pads, new baskets. Play with new people. Play with more people. Get used to being watched as you throw.
  • Develop confidence during putting practice by starting close to the basket and making 10-20 short putts. This gets your mind used to hearing chains and your body used to the putting movement. If your start your putting practice from far away and miss a few, you risk adding to your self-talk for the day “I missed a lot of practice putts this morning – putting isn’t my thing today.”

Patrick McCormick

– Author of Zen & The Art of Disc Golf (Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook)
– Host of The Zen Disc Golf Podcast

Featured photo by @lizardee on Instagram

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