There’s a secret cause of fear in sport
that no one will ever tell you.
…they probably think you can’t handle it.
But I KNOW you can.
So here goes.
The secret cause of fear in sport is learned helplessness.
In ancient times, when a merchant needed to
train his baby elephant, he’d wrap a rope around
the elephant’s leg.
Then he’d tie the rope to a stake and pound
it into the ground.
The baby elephant would struggle and strain
against the rope, but he could never escape it.
Later, all the merchant needed to do was tie a
rope around the grown elephant’s leg.
The elephant would instantly freeze and stay in one spot.
Although the elephant was strong enough to bulldoze
an entire house to the ground, he would stand
there as long as a rope was tied to his leg.
The elephant had LEARNED to be helpless.
A few years ago, psychologists made a scary discovery
about learned helplessness.
It’s that we are just like elephants.
Most of us become helpless very quickly when adversity hits.
Before I did mental toughness training, it happened to me
all the time.
If I didn’t score in my first few shifts, I’d lose my
confidence, and wam!
My teammates and coaches could see it.
They’d look at each other and say, “She’s done now.”
(I only found out about this years later).
It happens to most athletes.
You try to score a point, hit a winner, land a jump
or putt a hole…
…and you FAIL…
…and then you’re infected by learned helplessness.
But, you don’t know it.
All you know is that you feel a bit passive.
Learned helplessness is the secret cause of fear
It’s a “giving up” response.
Most of the time, you’re not even aware it’s happening.
You’re still trying, but something is off.
You’re aggressiveness, your edge, is slipping away from
you, and you can feel it.
You may not feel SCARED (although sometimes you do).
You just feel blah.
And you’re worried.
Because blah is not going to get you winning and keep you winning.
That’s why you need to dig yourself out of learned helplessness
when it starts to affect you.
You can’t ignore it.
That hasn’t gotten you anywhere.
That’s why I’m inviting you to dramatically upgrade your
Because learned helplessness sucks.
And you need a game plan for every time it strikes you under pressure.
That’s why I recommend my Courage to Win in Sport Ebook. You can even download it for seven days for free here.
And to sign up for more free mental toughness tips, click here.
Lisa Brown is the founder of the Courage to Win and is considered the world's leading expert on deep mental toughness for success in career, love, and sport. She has personally coached over 7,200 achievers to new heights and conducted over 1,300 live seminars on mental toughness across North America. She has been featured by major media including the New York Times and Entrepreneur Magazine, who called the Courage to Win “a straight-forward guide to success, highly recommended.”