Winning and losing, and the science of success.

Unfortunately, the expectation of winning is not enough to produce the results that we are looking for, and it is an interesting psychological phenomenon that we are witnessing, in Team USA and the 2020 Olympic gymnasts.
Honestly, we were so high on the ‘Simone Biles’ juice that it is no wonder that we are now drunk and facing the reality of such drunkenness.
I too, am disappointed with the performance thus far, though I am far from surprised. I hope that this is enough evidence to prove that greatness is never cultivated in the public’s eye; greatness is the results of years of quiet struggle and determination, which is only callused by hard days, hard days and more hard days.
In the public’s eye, false expectations are set, and failure is likely when we make such a public showing of the things that we admire.
I was quite disappointed by the number of media accolades that she received right as she was preparing to embark on one of the most difficult tasks of her career yet; it was obvious that the media had nothing positive to talk about on many occasions, and Ms. Biles’ name became the nerve that they rested on incessantly.
Listen up, Simone is human, guys and despite her limited performance in Tokyo, the exhaustion on her face can only be explained by the emotional turmoil that she must be going through.
I have always maintained that emotional energy is chief to physical energy, and it can affect the body in so many ways that its importance cannot be ignored as we consider how to groom one another for the big and small events of our lives.
I have always maintained that emotional energy is chief to physical energy, and it can affect the body in so many ways that its importance cannot be ignored as we consider how to groom one another for the big and small events of our lives.
As a world, we fail to put into action what we know, and we all know that people get tired of hearing the same things over and over, and people get tired of meeting others’ expectations, over and over, and going into this Olympics, it was obvious that the populous was becoming satiated with all of the positive news on Simone, and I can imagine her over-promising her delivery because she was distracted by being so positive all of the time.
On a documentary a couple of days ago, I noticed Laurie Hernandez complaining of how unrealistic expectations are of gymnasts, for they are expected to be “bubbly” almost all of the time.
Simone’s best attribute has been her ability to perpetuate this persona, which has clearly affected her ability to be grounded at the time that it was needed.
I was tired of the many, different ways that people tried to capitalize on Simone’s good fortune, and I know that I am not the only one who was tired of the over-the-top headlines that painted her as a god, despite the fact that she was doing something dangerous. I am a fan of Simone Biles and all that she represents, and even as a fan, I was overwhelmed by all of the media coverage, as I felt that she was not getting a chance to rest, as there seemed to be this expectation that she would be always on the go.
I have seen the same phenomena negatively affect Serena Williams, as undue media coverage becomes a distraction that creeps in and affect the game at inopportune times. Surprise losses and injuries are usually the aftermath, and athletes have to take time to reassess to understand where the shift happened, which can take months and even years.
Because gymnastics is a mental sport like tennis, it is heavily affected by tension, which can constrict body movements and cause injury, as the body is unable to be fluid when it is in the throes of anxiety, which induces the fight, fright, or flight syndrome.
When the body feels under attack, which it does in situations of negative surprises, it activates large muscles and it constricts the thinking to only see according to emotional “bursts,” where the mind begins operating as if it is a danger zone, and automatic thoughts become the all too common driving force to the mental lapses that we see in performance.
So, while “another one bites the dust,” with Simone Biles, I would force American culture to consider its strategy for success, if we can even call it that.
So far, it has just been a strategy to promote capitalism, and as we use athletes and other media junkies to promote our world, it is important to remember to give them time and space to breathe, as the bright lights can be blinding, and I’ve seen one too many led astray by the glitz and the glamour of being in the spotlight — especially athletes, who are just ordinary people thrust into a role just to promote buying and selling.
We all know that we do our best work when we are free from distractions, yet, as a culture, we load people down with undue expectations, sponsors and the need to be successful, even as we crowd their space and limit their opportunities to do just that.
For some reason, despite the constant negative results that we get, we still continue to follow this formula, and I am not sure why.
Maybe it is just the broken arc of an uncontrollable system, or the deliberate efforts by some to destroy, rather than to build.
Naomi Osaka has been trying to create that safe mental space that she needs so that she could achieve her goals, and publicly, it has not been going so well. Despite the support that she has received, the rules still remain the same, and she is still expected to participate in press conferences like everyone else.
I think Ms. Osaka is conscious of the phenomenon that I am describing, and efforts to set boundaries for herself have only caused her to be called out by others in and out of her sport, negatively.
It is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t, phenomenon, as efforts to not interact with the media will only earn you bad press, while too much media, inflates your persona and creates unhealthy breeding spaces, and distractions from your goals.
I do think that athletes deserve the freedom that they are seeking, as fans are not as nosy as the media is letting on, I strongly maintain. I think many of us would rather carry on with our lives and let them carry on with theirs, without all of the hoopla and videos that are designed to get us to know them better so as to please their sponsorships and to inflate bank accounts.
However, no one seems to know how to fix this beast but I have to say that the first part of change is talking about it, and noticing the need for it.
As people continue to navigate this world, I wish that they could realize that they do not have to accept the expectations and the pressure even though it is in line with their own goals, because when we achieve, we never do it off of our own strength; it is always a gift from God, who gives us victories every day. If we continue to have this mindset and attitude for each of our successes, then we do not accept the pressure, as we are operating from a mindset that says, “This is not entirely up to me,” even as we do our part it.
It can help us to accept results better and it can help us to remain levelheaded even as we achieve success, which is the antidote to the managing the pressure that is sometimes lanced by others.
I do think that athletes deserve the freedom that they are seeking, as fans are not as nosy as the media is letting on, I strongly maintain. I think many of us would rather carry on with our lives and let them carry on with theirs, without all of the hoopla and videos that are designed to get us to know them better so as to please their sponsorships and to inflate bank accounts.
To do so, requires humility, privacy, calm, and space to be as religious as it would take to bring about such a mindset and truthfully, it would require us to say ‘no’ often, as many opportunities would require it, if we are working to safeguard our spirituality to the utmost.
Today’s world highlights economic success as the driving force of all behavior, and it reinforces behaviors based on this outcome, which frequently puts individuals at odds with what is spiritually expediate and what is economically profitable.
For this reason, we see many people choosing economic success as their arc of guidance, sometimes unaware of the dissonance that it poses in their lifegoals, at least, not until after the events have passed.
I strongly believe that paying individuals to promote certain products, under certain conditions can either put that person at a spiritual advantage or disadvantage, and it will have drastic effects on that person’s performance, because the source of motivation has changed, which will affect training, choices and therefore, results.
While the vast majority of us will not suffer from being like Simone Biles, we will all suffer from the same feelings in the same situation, where we are constantly expected to be something, and we are not give enough spaces to cultivate it privately.
I am happy for Simone, in that at least the pressure is over, and despite the private, difficult days that are ahead for her, I expect her to pull through, because she has shown the maturity and the grit that is necessary to remain great, even in the face of unexpected results.

WRITTEN BY

Odetta A Fraser