The One You Feed
I first heard of this concept when I was with the national team. The belief is there are two dogs/wolves that live inside each and every one of us. One is a positive dog: passionate, loving, courageous, full of joy and compassion, and one is a negative dog: full of fear, doubt, anger, jealousy and hate. In Jon Gordon’s The Positive Dog and Eric Zimmer’s podcast The One You Feed, they both explain how the dog that wins the inner battle is the one we continually feed.
The concept is, of course, simple, but if you are committing to winning this inner battle, it is going to take a lot of work. As I continue my quest to live a minimalistic life and to survive on a tight budget, I can actually listen to this podcast as often as I want because it’s free, and I am learning tips on how to win my inner war from different successful people. What I’m learning about myself, also with the help of my wife (she knows me well), is that doubt and fear have become almost permanent furniture in my mental house, and there is one thing I know for sure – this might be my last hurrah playing the game I love. I don’t want this period to be full of regrets. When I’m at my best, I truly believe I can do anything. The feeling of being brave is a rush like no other. I want to enjoy every moment I’m on that pitch, in training and in games, and I’m committed totally to my positive dog.
I was listening to another podcast called The Tribe of Mentors hosted by Tim Ferriss, and he interviewed Adam Robinson (educator, author, US Chess Federation life master) and asked him if he had a billboard of the words he lives by, what would the words say? Two of his answers were: “If you’re not getting the results you want, change what you’re doing,” and the second was, “If you experience any negative emotion; doubt, fear, frustration, anger, it’s almost always a sign to redirect your attention either to the task at hand, or others.”
I’ve played a lot of my career really nervous or afraid to make mistakes, but I made the decision after my most recent injury not to play that way anymore. I’ve tried a lot of things, and Adam Robinson makes the comment that sometimes when things aren’t working, people start working harder or doing the same thing over and over when obviously something needs to change. When I sit with my sports psych and he asks me about my favourite moments in soccer, it all comes down to a feeling. Oddly enough, I’ve never intentionally focused on that feeling until now. Robinson’s second quote is simply about awareness. No one wants to feel bad, and it’s most likely that we suffer because of something in our past or because of something we are anticipating. If you are feeling negative emotions, it is likely you’re caught up in something that has already happened, or you are fearing something that could potentially happen, and it’s a complete waste of energy.
So, my goal is to live in the present moment. Feed the positive dog. Listen to podcasts; they’re free.