How to Avoid a Personal Freak-out

A freak-out is a common term for losing control.

It happens to everyone, at some point.

But it does happen to some more than others.

Everyone has witnessed a movie where the leading character slaps another to help them “get it together” after losing it. This slap across the face is designed to shake up the character to get back to seeing things clearly – in an effort to make a good decision in chaos.

  • An irrational investor will read a news headline, panic and think s/he better sell
  • A tennis player will freak-out when serving down match point after double-faulting
  • A parent will panic when their son/daughter misses curfew for the first time
  • A quarterback throws a low percentage pass while under pressure

The freak-out is a trick of the mind. It’s not actually reality. It’s how the mind travels in and out of the trigger. Here’s to work around a freakout:

  1. Did you know that if you put spoiled milk back in the fridge, it will soon be ready to drink again?  … Not really.  But this is the cause of the first freakout: Regret about the past. Get over it. The sooner the better. Throw away the milk and start fresh.
  2. Next, is thinking too far in the future. A serious source of anxiety. What will happen if you strike out? What will happen if you lose this point? What will happen if your drop the ball? Squash this thinking the moment you notice this creeping in. Pull yourself together by focusing on the many concentration techniques.
  3. Rafael Nadal has won over 100 matches after LOSING the first set. He has learned to come from behind probably more frequently than he’d like. This last cause of a freakout is ‘not liking your situation’. While some people may thrive in this situation, being down and having to fight back is not favored by anyone. If you find yourself down, but not out, try “observing it.” That is, see yourself from a bird’s eye view 30,000 feet up as if you were watching a movie and pull yourself together.

Create your own mental movie of your positive outcome. Make winning the habit.

Then get to work.

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