Creating Momentum

Creating Momentum
By James W. Ahola, B.A.Sc

We hear in sports how important it is for a team entering a break in the action to have a lead; that’s especially true if they previously trailed. It is called momentum, and we hear sportscasters say, “They’ve got the momentum,” as if it were a tangible possession.

If we remove all the emotion and hype from the equation, we’re left with two qualified teams of talented athletes competing in a game for points. If a team has a one-point lead or they’re tied, logic would seem to dictate that the game should be a toss-up. But we don’t live on the planet Vulcan where emotion has been banned. If one team has momentum, watch out. A team’s performance is affected by more than numbers on a board; it is greatly impacted by the players’ thoughts and emotions. If they have been winning and gaining points, it creates an emotional high and a winning thought pattern that are hard to beat.

If a team has come from behind to tie the score with seconds to go, that team has a united purpose. Their thoughts are clear and sharp, and with a flurry of focused activity they create and seize opportunities. If you asked them, they would say they can taste victory.

Conversely a team that has been losing or giving up points to its opponent begins to develop a huge emotional handicap that is hard to overcome. Even though the match may be tied, they are more frantic. The threat of defeat rises in their minds and the fear of failure begins to cloud their judgment, as victory seems to slip away.

Momentum in sports is a product of the mind but its presence can be felt and it is as real as the ball or puck that is being fought over.

Momentum is not unique to sports. It affects all aspects of life. And while momentum is real it’s not some mysterious force that shines on you or overlooks you. Momentum is a product of the mind and can be intentionally and willfully generated. It all depends on what you are thinking: where does your mind dwell and on what?

We have all experienced successes in our lives. These successes, small or large, current or past, are the building blocks to generating momentum. Relive and rehearse these successes in your mind. Experience them in your mind as if they had just occurred. Feel the excitement and relive it, then add other successes to this wonderful movie, which you purposefully play in your head.

And don’t keep the game in your head. Get excited, jump up and down, shout or clap your hands. React the way you would if you just achieved the success you’re experiencing in your head. As you experience this emotional high, look ahead to your next challenge. See it with the eyes of a winner, envision the opportunities and challenges it presents and how you could take advantage of them. Armed with this vision and momentum, you are in the right frame of mind to tackle your next challenge.

Some might argue that this is just smoke and mirrors. I disagree. Momentum works two ways. Some people relive their previous failures, along with the feelings of disappointment and sadness that come with defeat. To avoid this feeling they often dump their dreams before the pain of reliving failure becomes too much.

A positive dream sequence is just as real and valid as a negative one. Some sequences are created instantly and involuntarily while others are intentionally fabricated. Positive or negative, fabricated or not, momentum is always part of the equation. It creates the atmosphere in which we approach our challenges. The question is whether we are factoring it into the equation and making it work for rather than against us.