The power of belief is curious. It can cripple or it can empower.
Sports and performance represent some of the best proofs of this idea: that belief can be nearly if not more powerful than training. If nothing else, to maximize performance you must believe in order to achieve (the vast majority of the time) at the highest levels of any endeavor.
Failure like success is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
As we lose, it becomes more likely that we doubt our ability, preparation, and ability to perform on a given date/at a given time/against a certain opponent.
Winning becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
As we believe we will win and know this will be the outcome we are not beset by the insecurity, self-doubt, and hesitancy that often results in losing.
You are what you think you are.
You will perform as you expect.
For much of my time spent training, I eschewed the mental aspect of positive affirmations and self-encouragement.
I expected that if I did the work, that the results would follow.
But after my first loss in MMA and the subsequent 2 that followed, then couple with my ACL injury, I looked back and saw how far my barometer of confidence had fallen.
I won my first 2 MMA fights with nothing that resembled MMA training. The opponents were no less tough or skilled than the last 3 guys I fought.
So what was the variable?
I had overtrained for my 3rd fight, experienced a crushing loss, and that shook my confidence to the core. I neglected to come to terms with what had happened and that fear, the paralyzing doubt and wish to avoid what had happened and having it happen again became a toxic, cancerous force in my mind.
I accepted that I was not as capable as I in fact am.
This limiting belief, this acceptance of a lack of ability or whatever trait on my part then became reality as my belief manifested in physical form by limiting my performance.
The vaaaaaaaaaaast majority of people that will tell you that you cannot do something have not done the very thing being considered.
Ever notice that self-made (a bit of a misnomer, I know, as no one is truly self-made entirely) people will tell you that you can achieve and be successful?
And ever notice that those people who are unsuccessful are the ones who will often explain and excuse and list reason after reason why they or you are not or cannot be successful?
Consider the source when someone tells you something, my Mom once told me. Consider the source.