This article/letter is guest blogged by Paul Hoffman from My Two Cents: Thoughts of a Small Town Therapist. His previous article was titled Notes from Underground: A Rookie Master’s Sprinter Diary and Asafa Powell is NOT a Choker.
Dear Mr. Bolt,
There is a very fine line between confidence and overconfidence. Confident people are certain of their abilities and expect to succeed. Overconfident people take things for granted, border on a kind of arrogance, and lose sight of important details by virtue of assuming infallibility.
You are a very confident guy, as well you should be. But at the World Championships last year, your overconfidence and complacency probably contributed to your loss of concentration, your casualness, and the resulting false start. You learned the hard way.
Matthew Bothner is a German professor and business consultant. He has done research focusing on “the exact point where extremely high status begins to foster complacency, diversion, and potential failure.”. He goes on to say that “ if you look at your sprint times since 2009, you’ll observe a distinctly downward trend that coincides almost exactly with dramatic increases in sponsorships, prize money, commercial endorsements, and worldwide fame. Could it be that your increased status will contribute to a big upset in London?”
Mr. Bothner offers some interesting advice:
- Don’t surround yourself with people who inflate your ego. This helps to maintain humility and perspective.
- Never be content [complacent], no matter how successful you are.
- Display the perfect mix of confidence and humility that inspires continuing performance while reminding yourself of your own humanity.
Shakespeare said: “A fool thinks he’s a wise man, a wise man knows he’s a fool.”
You have a chance to achieve penultimate legend status. Try to reproduce the same mindset as the FIRST big race of your life. Take nothing for granted. Be humble. Maintain inner confidence.
Oh yeah….. and WAIT for the gun.
About the Author
Paul Hoffman is a Masters sprinter, psychotherapist and musician in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. He writes a blog entitled My Two Cents: Thoughts of a Small Town Therapist.