It was January 1, 1980.
My family was glued to the television for the whole thing. It was the biggest thing to come out of my hometown for as long as I had been alive. Time stood still. Nothing else mattered. Not the phone. Not what we were doing tomorrow. Not even what we were having for dinner.
What were we watching?
Georgia versus Notre Dame playing for the National Championship in the Sugar Bowl!
If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can watch the whole game here.
There Was a Lot of Noise
Nobody thought the Georgia Bulldogs had a prayer of winning that game.
But the fans did.
So did Hershel Walker and the team.
There’s a lot of noise in your life, too.
At work, they expect you to perform at a certain level or you’re out the door.
At home, they expect you to be loving all the time and never get upset about anything.
In public, they expect you to be quiet, not make a ruckus, and mind your own business.
All these things are like the crowd in the stands of a big game. You can hear shouts of approval from your side, urging you on. You also hear boos and hisses from the other side, designed to lead you to give up, pack it in, and go home a loser.
That’s a lot of noise to deal with, isn’t it?
The Internal Chatterbox
Everyone talks to himself.
You can either be your biggest raving fan or your own worst critic.
While you can shut out those other noises, you can’t shut out your inner voice.
Let’s take a look at how to manage all the noise in your life so you can shut it out. Only then will you be free to zero in on what’s important.
3 Ways You Can Shut Out the Noise and Zero in On What Matters
1. Write out some big goals. When you’re done, hide them in a drawer and forget about them.
This is the exact opposite of what the rest of the world is telling you, isn’t it? How can that possibly work when you want to be excellent?
Coach John Wooden would predict beforehand how he thought each season would end. He guessed at how many wins and losses the team would get based on what they faced. When he was finished writing, he would file the list away and forget it.
The funny thing is that most of the time he was pretty accurate.
What set him free was that he freed himself to do this …
2. Focus on what you’re doing today, not tomorrow.
The truth is that if you want tomorrow to be great, you’ve got to start with today. After all, that’s the only card you can play, isn’t it? You can’t play tomorrow’s card until tomorrow. So quit worrying about tomorrow. Make today a masterpiece and tomorrow will have a better start.
Think of it like taking a long trip on a bicycle. If you bike 20 miles today, you’ll be further along tomorrow, won’t you? If you stay where you are, you’ll be behind tomorrow.
So zero in on what you can do today.
That’s what the Bulldogs did. They focused on doing their best every game. The result was a winning season.
The principle behind this is …
3. Treat every opponent with the same respect.
We all know every contest is not the same. Some opponents are stronger than others. Sometimes the noise is so loud, it can be deafening.
When you relax because you think you can win, you set yourself up to lose big.
If it’s a tough game, and your opponent has something to prove, you can be sure he’ll practice until he drops the week he faces you. He’ll try every strategy he knows to sharpen his edge so he can kill you with it.
So you better prepare for that, too.
Besides, wouldn’t you do the same thing when you’re the weaker one?
Now Shut Out That Noise and Zero In
Now you know about all that noise in your life.
It comes from your coworkers and superiors who all have expectations of you.
It comes from competitors who want to beat you and make you disappear.
It comes from critics both inside and outside that think you can’t do it.
So shut out the noise. Focus on today – what you’re doing right now. Don’t give your inner critic any food for thought. Cover your ears and turn yourself into your own biggest fan.
Then, maybe to your surprise, all those dreams you filed away will have the best chance of coming true!