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The Part that Character Plays in Success!

By Hobie Billingsley
It is possible to score about 900 points for a male 3 meter diver and about 750 points for a female 3 meter diver.

The ability to achieve such a score requires:

1. The inherited strength and athletic ability.

2. An excellent training program

3. The four mental strength requirements for success: Honesty, unselfishness, self-discipline and ambition and as well

4. A persons self-esteem level is essential.

A mathematical expression of the score for an individual might be:

S=I2 x T x (H + U + D + A) x E x MS

I = inherited potential %

H, U, D, A, expressed as percents: (Honesty, Unselfishness, Discipline, Ambition)

T = Training potential %

E = Self esteem %

MS = Maximum score 900 or 750

A person with 95% of the physical inherited potential and 95% of the facilities and coaching needed and 70% of the H, U, D, & A possible should have a score equal to 60% of the maximum for their event or 540 points for a male and 450 points for a female on 3 meter. This is with 100% self-esteem.

It would be difficult to improve the training facilities and impossible to change the inherited potential but a diver who improves his or her honesty, unselfishness, self discipline and ambition by 20 % could go to 718 for a male and 600 for a female. Of course some people may be higher or lower in each of these mental strength categories and if you are already at 90 % then it is very difficult to improve. Therefore the areas, which you are lowest in, will give you the greatest room for improvement.

The most common problem is performing well under various types of stresses. Stress can be considered anything that resists what we are trying to do. Much as if someone or thing were pushing us backward we must then push forward with a greater force or effort.

Then there is stress endurance or the ability to deal with stress for a long period of time. If we do not have a high enough strength of mind or stress endurance than we will not be able to move continually forward and will stop at the same score for a long period of time. If we do not do exercises to strengthen our minds that score will be as good as we can get.

What kind of exercises can we do? Of course the most specific exercises are in the diving training and competing. Diving tired, scared, nervous at meets, sick, pressure to win, etc. so while we train our bodies we train our minds. However we only train 30 hours out of 168 hours each week. Therefore we can work on our mental strengths in the 68 hours we are not asleep or training. Here is how this can occur.

Honesty includes exaggeration, rationalization, procrastination, omission, not honoring a commitment, forgetting, escaping, etc. On a daily basis we must examine what we say to reduce the tendency towards saying or doing the easy thing. Being honest makes us mentally stronger and more logical.

Honesty equals facts. Facts equal logic and logical decisions.

As an on going series of exercises to improve our honesty we must examine what we say. For example we might say there was a thousand of something we should correct our self after reflecting and do a better count and say about 750. This is precision and honesty. By constantly putting effort into being honest we become stronger mentally. As well when we are honest it forces us to be disciplined enough to live up to our commitment when asked to account for whether we have carried something out.

Self Discipline The U.S. Marines train people to handle the pressure of possibly being killed. (G. I. Jane). This same kind of training is needed to be able to handle high intensity stresses as well as enduring long periods of stress without losing our focus and continuing to be able to make logical decisions. Honesty (logic) and discipline give us precision, which is the ability to do what we have to do exactly when we have to (Such as the hardest dive in the biggest meet of your life.)

As we know discipline is mainly learned in training but must be practiced everywhere in order to become stronger. For example. A) Always be 15 minutes early for every thing. B) Pick the first thing that has to be done at home that you hate doing and always do it within 1 minute of noticing it. ie. The dishes, making your bed.

When you can do this perfectly, make it 2 items.

C) Make a list of things you have to do away from the pool and never miss one item. ie. Take pills, stretch, visualize etc. D) When in training do all of the things you know the coach wants before being asked, right to the last detail. If asked to do something that you don’t want to, or don’t think is necessary do it without complaint and gain in mental strength. If you ask the coach and he gives you an explanation you will be more motivated to do it, which is good educationally, but now that you are motivated you are not exercising your self-discipline.

Motivation gets you going. Discipline keeps you going!

When the coach gives you a task or says something, which could upset you, this is a challenge for you to learn to discipline yourself and control your emotions so that you can stay focused under stress. The coach will periodically, deliberately do this as part of training. If you refuse to accept this part of training you will fail at the high stress/ high performance level.

Unselfishness (Or generosity.) Doing things for others takes extra care and discipline and pays off in a good social environment, such as working with people who like you and want to help. Nobody wants to help somebody who thinks everything is about them. Being unselfish with no recognition or return favor is hard but it builds character. People who have empathy and care for others will learn to care for themselves in the future using the same consideration for what is best for the “future you” as compared to instant gratification for the “present you”.

If you are diving for yourself you have nobody to let down but yourself when you stay up late or don’t stretch. But if you are diving for someone or thing more important than you, then if you are unselfish you will not let them down. For example if you’re diving for your mother or sick brother, for God or for your country or to set a good example for young people, you will be much more successful and admired if you don t think it is all about you!

Ambition Ambition requires setting major goals and intermediate sub goals with time lines. Ambition also means working hard in preparation for these goals. Ambition is the opposite of laziness and requires belief in ones ability to be successful in achieving your goals. Ambition is of no value without honesty, unselfishness and discipline otherwise all the training can be wasted. Ambition is synonymous with desire and motivation.

Self Esteem is the average of all your self confidences especially in the following areas.

A) Your intelligence and education

B) Your appearance

C) Whether you are a good person

D) Your social acceptance

E) Your athletic ability

Someone with high self-esteem has high self confidence in themselves in all areas and will not feel inferior to others or to a task in which they have confidence. People with extremely low self-esteem will not believe that they can do difficult things or even apparently easy things in worst cases. Even though others know that they should be able to. This is especially true under pressure of loss or injury.

People with low self-esteem cannot accept criticism as it tends to lower their already low self-esteem and reaffirms their self doubt. Because of this they cannot accept that they make mistakes and they avoid dealing with these situations by becoming angry or by quitting.

People with high self-esteem accept criticism and examine it, discard it if it is not valid and try to improve if it is valid. If they make a mistake, they examine how to avoid making this or other related errors again. To improve ones self-esteem we must accept our faults, change them and feel good that we are a better person.

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