Think of an athlete for a moment. Before he practices he
puts on a different set of clothes. And on the day of a big game,
he puts on a uniform.
The champions often have certain “lucky” socks or shoes that they
wear – and the mere act of putting these on helps catapult them into
a successful state of mind.
A surgeon is no different. He has his typical everyday doctor geat – but
before performing a surgery he goes to a scrub room, washes his hands
and arms extra good, then puts on different clothes.
Dr. George Thurber, who performed Lasik eye surgery on me back in August,
told me that just as he watched videos of judo matches the night before a
tournament, he watches video of surgery the night before he does Lasik. He
does this to make sure he is mentally ready for “game day.”
Think of this idea for a moment. Do you have “practice” clothes; clothes you
wear when you are practicing and working on becoming a professional human
being? Do you have “game day” clothes; clothes you put on when it is time
for the moment of truth?
When I’m in China I often notice that the best tai chi players are always dressed
in silk. The students who haven’t quite gotten serious yet are usually dressed in
normal workout gear. There are few exceptions to this observation.
Now, some of the people who are practicing tai chi have been doing so for years –
yet that doesn’t mean they’re serious about the training. Time involved in an activity
is not the same as time devoted to an activity. Being active is very different
from being devoted.
Some months ago I spoke of my desire to learn to play the saxophone. I haven’t begun
yet – but it is on my list. One thing is for sure, when I begin to play, I will go all out – not
Here is he evidence: A friend of mine gave a saxophone teacher he knows my email
address. The man wrote me and said that he had a “used” saxophone I could practice
When I get involved in something, whether it is a sport, a martial art, or learning to play
a musical instrument, I do NOT want a “used” instrument – unless it’s the instrument used
by somebody famous – and in that case I would put it away for safe keeping.
A used instrument – in almost all cases, is an instrument used by those who quit, who
gave up, who were not devoted. It has that sort of energy written all over it. I don’t
want any part of that. I want my own instrument that I can infuse with devotion and
Whilst in China I spoke with a lady whose father teaches people how to play the
saxophone. I asked her if he gives new students used instruments to play with.
“Oh no,” she said. “They must get their own.”
Any instrument you use when you practice is also part of your success clothing.
It’s not necessary that you invest in the most expensive instrument – but I do
think it’s important to practice with something that is owned by YOU.
When you don special clothes and practice with instruments you own, you create a
mental framework for success. Once you have the framework for success you can
create the circumstances of success. The two are closely tied.
Putting on professional clothes, whether at work or at home in private, becomes an
act of devotion, an action that tells your subconscious mind that you are different,
that you are somebody – and that you’re a person to watch.
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