Heard of the “Pink Elephant” theory? You may or may not have, but I can guarantee it’s probably had an effect on a lot of games you have played in. Let’s take the player who comes up late in the game with the tying run on third base and the winning run at second base. To make it even more interesting, let’s now say that – up until this point, this player at bat had hit three home runs in his previous three trips to the plate. The count is 1-1, and the third pitch of the at bat is a ball out of the strike zone, over the batters head. However, the player swings and misses.
Immediately, this player may hear, “Come on! Don’t swing at the pitch over your head! You can’t hit that can you? Come on now we have two guys on base. We’re counting on you! Don’t swing at that pitch!” Or he might hear, “Come on bud. That’s over your head right kiddo? Don’t worry about it. Don’t swing at the pitch over your head. You can do it. We all believe in you. Just don’t swing at the pitch over your head.”
A perfect example of the “Pink Elephant” theory.
The intriguing part about the former description is that the end result is typically the same. The batter doesn’t swing at the next pitch over his/her head. The problem is they don’t swing at another possible pitch – the one right down the middle for strike three. The game is over and the player doesn’t care that they hit three home runs. They feel they let everyone down and lost the game.
I invite you to try it sometime. When was the last time someone told you not to worry? Were you able to just stop worrying right then and there in that moment?
The more we try to force these things, the more bound up we get and the harder it is to perform freely and to our potential.
Don’t think of a pink elephant. Got it? Don’t think of a pink elephant.
Thinking of a Pink Elephant right now?