Take 1 step back to take 2 steps forward

Goal Setting, Achieving Goals, Set Goals

Take 1 Step Back To Take 2 Steps Forward

I often tell people it’s wise to “take 1 step back to take 2 steps forward”, but it’s rare those who actually follow through. The reason is that the brain operates with what academics call “positive intent“. The brain’s desire to please itself here and now rather than later on. It’s a complex psychological force that is much more powerful and persuasive than you might think.

In squash (or tennis) for example, during a long rally, the brain will feel the fatigue and will attempt to end the point prematurely to get some rest (instant gratification) rather than play out the rally and win the point (delayed reward). It is such a powerful force that it prevents otherwise skillful players from reaching the top of the rankings.

Overcoming this force is much easier said than done.

In business it’s not all that different. Going for the quick sale rather than the long-term market share building initiatives plagues most small businesses.

So what can you do about it?

First, recognise that a change or improvement is necessary.

Second, identify what needs to change and then commit to changing it when it’s most convenient (after a tournament is preferable to doing it just before…)

Third, accept that at first, the 1 step back means you’ll lose more points before you start to win. If you’re not willing to go through that, don’t bother.

“Lose now to win later.”

Again, easier said than done, but well worth the investment and eventual rewards.

BUT and there usually is a but…

But, when you do take the 1 step back, you have to follow through to take the 2 steps forward otherwise you only end up where you were (1 back, 1 forward = zero improvement) with a lot of wasted time and effort.

Therein lies the rub. You either commit or don’t even start.

My recommendation is  you make the investment during your “off season”, in-between tournaments. Give yourself as much time as possible because often, the change will take longer than anticipated.

Just remember that most athletes are not willing to do this, so when you do commit, the rewards will be there for you. Once you’ve had this much needed breakthrough, you’ll be at a whole new level, beyond your current peers.

That’s why you want to do this – to excel and become the best you can become.

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