Jun 11, 2018

Daniel Stewart's Tip of the Month: Bandwagon Bias

USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Last month we began a seven-part series on limiting beliefs, our unintentional tendency to sometimes place limits on our ability to succeed - not because we’re incapable of success, but because we tell ourselves that we’re incapable of it! For example, if you tell yourself that you never ride well in front of judges, there’s very little chance you'll ever really ride well in front of judges (be careful what you wish for, you might just get it!) Tell yourself, however, that the judge’s comments will make you a better rider in the future and you might just remove the limit standing between you and your success.

So starting this month - and continuing for six months - we’re going to talk about six tricky ways that limiting beliefs can disguise themselves (after all, if you know what to look for, you’ll know what to avoid!) Together these tricky limiting beliefs are called blindspot biases - unintentional limiting beliefs that hide just beneath the surface - but like the blindspot in your car, if there’s something there, there’s a pretty good chance it can cause you a lot of trouble!

The first blindspot bias we’re going to talk about is something called bandwagon bias: the unintentional habit of adopting a belief simply because others hold that opinion. For example, if someone tells you that the judge is overly critical - and you begin to worry about it - then you’re suffering from bandwagon bias. You’ve just placed a limit on your ability to succeed - not because the judge really is overly critical - but because someone said she was! In the end, the real problem hiding in your blindspot isn’t coming from the judge, but from all the wondering (why she’s like that), wishing (she wasn’t like that), and worrying (about what she’s going to say about you)!

So this month, really think about it. Is it possible that you might have the habit of sometimes jumping on the bandwagon by adopting the beliefs of others and believing something to be true simply because others said it might be (also called group-think)? For example, has anyone ever caused you to wonder, wish, or worry by telling you that horse is impossible to sit, that rider is unbeatable, this course is too hard, or that warm-up arena is just too crazy? If so, remind yourself that these beliefs - and the limits attached to them - belong to someone else and that you’re not going to let them to place a limit on your ability to succeed.

In the end, never allow bandwagon bias, limiting beliefs, or group-think to convince you to fit in when you know that you were born to stand out. To do that, jump off the bandwagon, form your own opinions, believe in them - and most importantly - believe in yourself!

Please consider joining me at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs or Lake Placid this summer for an Equestrian Athlete Training Camp where we’ll be spending four days discussing rider fitness, mental coaching, athlete nutrition, team-building, yoga, and much more. Riders of all levels and disciplines are welcome and members of the USEA receive a $255 scholarship. For more information, click here.

Dec 07, 2021 Young Event Horse

The YEH Yearbook: Class of 2015

Over 40 horses competed in the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) 5-year-old East and West Coast Championships in 2015. The YEH East Coast Championships were held during the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International in Elkton, Maryland, while the YEH West Coast Championships took place at Galway Downs in Temecula, California. Following 2015’s YEH finale, many of the graduating class of the 2015 USEA Young Event Horse Championships have gone on to make their mark on the upper levels of eventing.

Dec 06, 2021 Education

USEA Podcast #298: Ask The Experts

Nicole Brown is joined by a panel of experts including top FEI veterinarian Dr. Emily Sandler-Burtness, five-star eventer Will Faudree, and professional eventer and horsemanship expert Tik Maynard to answer all of your biggest questions.

Dec 05, 2021 Education

Pressure Proof with Daniel Stewart: The Present is a Gift

I’d like to start my Holiday Pressure Proof Tip with an excerpt from my new book Bolder Braver Brighter.

"Imagine leaning against a tree while your horse grazes happily beside you. You feel the warm sunshine and breeze on your cheek, hear the chirping of nearby birds, and smell the fragrance of the grass and wildflowers. Your horse nickers quietly and all you can think about is how lucky you are to have this horse and this sport and this life… right here, right now.

Dec 04, 2021 Profile

Now On Course: The Four Year Journey with My Horse Cross Match

On a crisp morning in December of 2016, I dragged my husband to Penn National to look at some horses to hopefully be my next eventing partner. I also had a horse to look at in Maryland at Kate Chadderton's farm. Keep in mind every horse I wanted to look at was a gelding. I did have a couple at Penn National that I really liked and then went to look at the one Kate had. After I rode the gelding at Kate's she asked me how I felt about mares. My response was, "I don't, but bring her out."

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