Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Self Image

Lanny Bassham, Olympic shooter and author, discusses the roles of the conscious and subconscious mind in his book “With Winning In Mind.” According to Bassham in addition to the conscious and subconscious mind the other factor we need to consider, and one most people don’t think about, is the “Self Image.” In order for us to perform at our best the conscious and subconscious parts of the mind must work and be in balance with the self-image. In other words, to perform properly we must have confidence in our skills.

In classes we always discuss the conscious and subconscious mental aspects of fighting, and the importance of both. The subconscious mind can process an enormous amount of info, and if we’ve practiced an action enough to have actually learned it the majority of tasks performed can be executed at a subconscious level.

Performing at a subconscious level permits the conscious mind, which can only think about one thing at a time, to focus on the problem at hand, making decisions on what is necessary to solve the trouble.

During a recent class I discussed the aspects of self-image during a talk about the mental aspects of fighting. The next week, Paul, one of the students, told me that the self-image part of the equation was one of the most important things he got out of the class. We were working the moving target with bystanders and the drill required a surgical shot to stop the threat. “I knew I could make that shot when the threat was right behind the bystander,” he explained. This is what I re-learned: your self-image and performance are always equal.

When you know through practice that you can perform an action properly, whether it’s marksmanship, weapon manipulations, or using cover, it creates confidence. “If faced with this type situation,” you say to yourself, “I have the skills needed.” This is not a question, but a statement of fact. When you think you’re not up to the task your performance will suffer. Have faith in the fact that you will do well and you will, at least to the best of your abilities considering training and practice.

The self-image applies to our tactical preparations as well as our everyday life, which if you think about it should be one in the same. At the start of the day I tell myself this may be the day I’m forced to fight, and if so I’m ready. Mentally prepping yourself at the start of your day puts you ahead of the game if a fight does develop, and reinforces your self-image, strengthening your confidence

At same time don’t overestimate your skills. Remember we’re not in a movie; this is the real world where we are limited by the laws of physics and our physical abilities. Having confidence is a lot different from a superman type ego.

To create confidence takes training and practice, working to improve your skills and recognize your personal limits. Then, when the time comes, there are no questions.

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July 14, 2011 - Posted by | Defensive Mindset

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