Have You Been “six-packed” by Your Thinking?

Ok. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know I like to take every day situations, and think about the effects they are having on my business and personal success. You wouldn’t believe the long list of interesting and useful things I have to talk about.

Last night I played volleyball in a local league. It’s been many months since I’ve played, and to say I was rusty would be a serious understatement. I used to be a pretty top-notch player, especially for someone who had nothing but “on the job” training (I played in pick up games, and worked my way up to better and better teams–throughout my 20’s in the bay area).

Today I’m sore, and stiff–in a good way, since I need the exercise, but that’s not why I’m writing.

I noticed something that I’ve noticed before, but never really equated it to anything important.

In reality, it could be one of the most important lessons I could learn, as long as I recognize it, and make the necessary course corrections in my life. It also may also be familiar to you.

So… Here’s the situation.. I’m rusty and not playing as well as I used to… I know this, and am beyond frustrated with myself. Every time I do the slightest thing wrong, my self-talk puts me in my place. I shoulda been faster. My timing should have been better. I should have “dug” that “spike” or “dink”.

I was focusing on the things I did wrong, instead of the things I did right. This is a sure-fire way to continue to struggle in life, love, business, etc..

Basically, the “Law of Attraction” states that you will get what you focus your attention (and take action) on. Focus on your failures, and you’ll get more failure, focus on your success, and you’ll get more of that too. I did the worst thing possible, and focussed on my “failures”. It was automatic, and emotional–the worst possible combination!

Here’s the funny thing. I played as well or better than most of the other players, and whenever I was congratulated on a good play (yes, there were quite a few of those as well), I shrugged it off. Can you believe it? I couldn’t take a compliment on my success! I also didn’t acknowledge my own strong plays myself–which is something that I’m sure is holding me back in other areas.

The term “six-pack” in volleyball slang means to be hint in the face by an opponent’s “spike”. This is a ball that is hit so hard and fast that it hits you before you can defend yourself. I see focusing on failure instead of success as and failure “six-pack”. It hits us in the face. Then does so again and again.

Or does it?

Maybe you’re like me, and just keeping the failures in your mind, and don’t focus on the “digs” (volleyball slang for being able to pass a “spiked” ball). We probably have many such successes, which are not celebrated nearly as much as the failures.

What do you think would have become of Einstein, Edison, Bandler and many other great thinkers if they focused on their failures instead of their successes? Do you think they’d have made the breakthroughs the they did if they focused on what didn’t work?

How about in business? Do you think Terry Dean, Bill Gates, Jimmie D Brown, and many others focused on what didn’t work? NO! They worked at things until they found formulas that worked for them. They focused on what worked, and moved from there. They didn’t (and don’t) dwell on whatr didn’t.

This shift in thinking is probably responsible for more successes and failures than anything else.

In fact, it brings up one of the most valuable articles of Terry’s I’ve read:

Why Believing in Yourself Will Change Your Life

If you and I do nothing but read that post, and start to recognize, and then change our self defeating behavior, I have no doubt at all that the success we desire will find us.

Please share any ideas you have in regards to “digging” the spikes that life and business throw you, and avoiding getting “six-packed”!

About Tim Gary

I live in Reno, NV with my wife Careen, and the ever so talented kitty named Milo. Programmer by trade, web surfer and learner for fun, I have a ton of interests, and you'll hear about each of them in time!

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16 Responses to Have You Been “six-packed” by Your Thinking?

  1. Rod@British Lions Tour 2009 March 22, 2009 at 11:38 am #

    You see this a lot in individual sports too. I watch a fair amount of tennis, and whenever you see a player start to throw their racket around, shout, and berate themselves, you know they’re in trouble. It must be great to see this as an opponent, because you no longer have to beat the other guy; you just have to help him lose!
    And yes, it applies just as much in daily life. Right now I’m trying to work on accepting challenging situations courageously, and not giving in to doubts and the fear of failure, but rather to embrace the challenge as an opportunity to grow. And guess what – so far it’s working!

  2. Richard@Littman Bros. January 5, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    nice post. its amazing how far confidence can get you. it really is a huge part of whatever you do.

  3. dave@irish gift store October 29, 2008 at 6:16 am #

    Excellent article. I’ve only just found your blog but I like what you talk about. My father always says that a positive mental attitude is essential for success.

  4. Check by phone October 24, 2008 at 2:36 am #

    It’s your encouragement that make us appreciate and more than a little appropriate after reading this article doing in this blog. I’m glad i’d enjoy reading it I’m sure common sense approach this.

  5. WP@Liability Law September 19, 2008 at 3:31 am #

    It is also interesting to see how those who lack self confidence are trying to put others down. I’m not sure why this is so, but I believe these people have to make themselves feel better.

  6. Kelly@Learn real estate investing August 20, 2008 at 2:10 pm #

    I was reading the article on how believing in yourself will change your life and I can’t agree more. Self confidence is one of those things that many people seem to over look but its one of the most important things in life and work.

  7. Justin@Rap Beats August 18, 2008 at 2:30 pm #

    Great volleyball metaphor–especially since I’m watching the Olympics =). Part of the problem is people have a real stigma when it comes to correcting these problems.

    Pride seems to stop people from seeking help on issues and gets in the way of success and self improvement.

  8. TR@Help An Alcoholic August 10, 2008 at 2:53 pm #

    Anytime I try to explain this to people that it’s all about believing and looking for the good they think I’m crazy. But it’s true – it can really make a significant impact on how successful you can be.

  9. Olivier @ 7 laws of attraction July 14, 2008 at 11:07 am #

    Negative thinking is not something that is easily beaten. Not even if you are dedicated to it like myself.
    It takes a lot of effort not to think after each success: I did not really deserve this, or: this will be followed by a large set back. But practice does make perfect :-).


  10. Doug May 13, 2008 at 8:19 pm #

    You make a lot of great points. I like to tell myself “that wasn’t an effective way to reach my goals” rather than put myself down (which was my old habit), and then–like you mentioned–focus on the positives.

    The other thing that can be hard to do is learn from the one who just beat you. Sometimes it hurts to look at others’ successes but the best thing we can do is learn from it.

  11. I haven’t played V-ball since I moved to Ireland. I did notice some college club paying when going back and forth from Aikido training. I keep telling myself I’ll go join in, but never do. I sure miss it.

    I do know what you’re talking about with the negative talk. I constantly remind myself of the time I took part in a King of the Court tournament and took dead last…

    Of course, I had pnemonia and played from the right most of the day… but I still am embarrased by it.

    I’ll have to take advantage of the good Montana weather this summer and put in a few hours! I just need to concentrate on the things I do well and quit beating myself up for the things I don’t.

  12. Strategic Thinking April 29, 2008 at 11:52 am #

    This is a good article. While I am not a volleyball player, I can still relate with this article. I think having this attitude really brings down the people around us. This could be anything from a sports team to a team organized at work.
    It is important to recognize your accomplishments along with your failures. This will help you recognize your improvement and keep you positive.

    Good Post.

  13. Roger Baillargeon April 26, 2008 at 1:47 pm #


    I Really did Appreciate this Article.

    And Thank You for Submitting the article to my Blog Carnival…


    Regards, Roger

  14. Jack Keifer April 24, 2008 at 7:27 am #

    Really great article, Tim. I can so relate from other competitive events that I’ve participated in such as Tae Kwon Do & Darts (what a combo, LOL). Like James said, we tend to set the bar based on our last great performance. Of course, it wouldn’t be a sport if we were on top every single time without fail. Without the challenge, it would soon become boring.

    It took me a while to equate this with the law of attraction. About 12 years ago, it hit me, that this applies to sports just as much as anything else. I guess what I’m rambling about here is that we all tend to set ourselves up for that six-packing if we’re not careful how we look at things.

    Whether its business, competitive sports , or just everyday life in general, the law of attraction is immutable.

    The fact that you realized this even after the fact, is going to get your game on even stronger next time around.

    Thanks for a great read!


  15. Tim Gary April 15, 2008 at 9:58 pm #

    Hi James!

    OF course we both are/were into volleyball. Seems we have a lot in common.

    Man I’m sore from Sunday’s session. Even my fingers hurt from something (blocking? Attempted Blocking?). It’ll be really funny when I get out to some doubles sand ball up in Tahoe this Summer.

    Yes, it’s very easy to take the low road, and make things worse by focusing on the things you’re doing poorly, rather than what you’re doing well. It’s also interesting to note that most of the time, the others on your team are way more likely to accentuate the POSITIVE. Which is something I was going to convey in the post, but will have to do so hear instead!

    As for six-pack being a hit in the stomach area vs head… I’ve never had anything resembling six-pack abs, so that definition never stuck with me. I did do a quick bit of research, and the volleyball terms page on Wikipedia primarily says that it can be a hit to the face. Then goes on to give other possibilities, like the hit to the tummy you mention.

    I really like your comment about having a “short memory”. This can be applied to so many things!

    As for the PS’s… Too painful to expand on ;-b and.. never managed to get any of the cool digs, hits etc.. Though I have a wicked outside roundhouse serve I pull out from time to time–against the wind.

    Thanks again. C U Soon.

  16. James Lee April 15, 2008 at 1:29 am #

    Whew Tim!

    Talk about hitting me right between the eyes with this blog post’s title!

    I was thinking, “Tim couldn’t POSSIBLY be talking about volleyball… and yet that term is unmistakable!” And sure enough it was.

    I’m a former volleyball player (bit of a highschool standout, played a little at UC San Diego before getting injured) and man, do I KNOW what you’re talking about!

    Volleyball has got to be one of the most frustrating sports to pick up again after you leave it for a period. You tend to hit into the net, shank your passes, and and your digging reflexes are all slow.

    It’s frustrating because you have all these thoughts of the “old you” when you were a juggernaut crushing balls and “six-packing” the opposing team! (By the way, I always thought a six pack was when the ball hit you in the chest?)

    But like any endeavor worth conquering … it pays to have a VERY short memory in volleyball. You can “tank” very quickly, wouldn’t you agree?

    Then the shanking, the mistiming, and the slow reflexes start working their way into your neurology… and you start having a bad game, a bad season, a bad… career?

    Love the post. The message is so powerful, but the volleyball analogy drove it home for me.

    Great job!

    -James Lee

    PS – Do you remember what a “sachee” is? I don’t know if I’m spelling it right. But it’s worse than a six pack. It’s when you hit a ball right at a guy’s feet and it bounces up and hits his… yeah. I’ll leave that to your imagination.

    PPS – On those short hits have you tried keeping your hands up for one of those cool “crocadile digs”? Awesome!