“Close your eyes and envision yourself drawing the bowstring back. Now release the arrow. In your mind’s eye, watch it travel through the air and strike the center of the target.” That was the sage advice given me by an archery coach many years ago. It worked; I won a class tournament later that year.
The Mind Is A Powerful Thing
That advice transcends the archery range. It applies to other areas of life as well, such as sinking a putt in golf, making a free throw in basketball, or breaking a board in tae kwon do.
By mentally watching yourself excel before you attempt something, you can train yourself to expect success and actually improve your physical abilities.
Preparing For Danger
Mentally preparing for adverse or dangerous situations beforehand is even more important. Planning ahead of time for how you’ll react in various circumstances can literally save your life. You won’t be caught trying to determine the best course of action in the midst of danger when every second counts.
What would you do if:
- a man wearing a hoodie approaches you in a dimly lit parking lot. His hands aren’t visible and his eyes are darting left and right?
- while having dinner at a restaurant with your family, suddenly two men grab a another man from his seat a few tables down from you and start beating him badly?
- during an overnight backpacking trip, a rough-looking teenager thanks you for finding “his” gear and implies bodily harm if you don’t return it promptly?
- a meth addict knocks on your back door?
- you awake one night to the sounds of a stranger in the next room quietly rummaging through your belongings?
What would you do?
Don’t just say “I’d fight back.” Be specific. What exactly would you do? What would you say?
See yourself responding to the threat. See a quick and decisive response. See yourself fighting back.
Mentally run through the scenarios. View yourself taking the necessary actions to ensure your safety. See yourself fleeing once the threats have been neutralized.
Practice And Perfect
The vision is not enough, though. You cannot imagine yourself doing 100 push ups and then realistically expect to actually do 100 push ups. The mental component is only part of the equation. Without physically training, the mental preparation is for naught.
Practice. Get in shape. Take some self-defense classes. Work with your handgun until it becomes second nature, until you can use it without having to stop and think “What do I do after disengaging the safety?”
Plan and practice. And know your rights. Can you legally carry a concealed weapon in your state? Can you defend your property in the case of a break-in? Can you come to the aid of a neighbor whose house is being burglarized?
As we tell our kids, make up your mind ahead of time and know what you’ll do in certain situations, before you get in the heat of the moment.