Jul 03, 2018

Daniel Stewart's Tip of the Month: Telescoping Bias

USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Last month we continued our conversation about blindspot biases - the unintentional and often-times harmful tendency to think in a negative way without even knowing about it. As you will recall, these hidden thoughts are called blindspot biases because they can get you into a lot of trouble - just like a car hidden in your blindspot can get you into a lot trouble! The only way to keep yourself safe from things hidden in your blindspot is to become aware of them and that’s the entire reason for this six-part series of mental tips.

Last month we talked about one of the most common blindspot biases, the bandwagon bias - always adopting the beliefs of others even if there’s a good chance those beliefs might not be true. It’s possible that you might have jumped on this bandwagon in the past so hopefully just being aware of it has already helped you to avoid using it again.

This month were going to talk about a second blindspot bias - called the telescoping bias - that can be just as harmful to your confidence, enjoyment, and success as a rider. When a riders unintentionally uses the telescoping bias, they look at their defeats, disappointments, mistakes, and mishaps as if seeing them through a telescope (so they appear bigger than they actually are) but then look at their strengths and successes as if seeing them through the wrong end of that telescope (so they appear smaller than they actually are). In the end, the telescoping bias can incorrectly convince a rider that they’re hopeless, powerless, and not worthy of praise or success - and nothing could be more harmful than that!

It probably goes without saying that many perfectionists tend to suffer from telescoping bias, but it can affect anyone at any time so it’s important that we all become aware of it (just like becoming aware of that car in your blindspot). The only way to overcome this hidden, harmful, habit is to teach yourself to mentally turn the telescope around so that you give greater value to your strengths and successes and lesser value to your defeats, disappointments, mistakes, and mishaps and in doing so allow your thoughts to build you up instead of letting them weigh you down.

So this month, really think about it. Do you have the tendency to telescope? If so, turn your telescope around so that you can see how big your strengths and successes really are, but at the same time don’t forget to take a tiny peek at your mistakes through the other end of the telescope. Your last mistake is always your best teacher - and with courage will help you to grow - but see them for how small they really are, knowing that when you turn the telescope the right way around you’ll also turn powerless and hopeless into powerful and hopeful!

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

Feb 16, 2020 Education

Grid Pro Quo with Alyssa Peterson

From the time we begin jumping, we are always working on perfecting the canter. Throughout my career I’ve been lucky to train with a variety of top professionals and each had their tried and true method for developing the right canter to jump a clear round. The best instructors have their own methods for helping their students recognize this “perfect” canter.

Feb 15, 2020 Profile

Now On Course: Cindy Rawson Returns from Across the Pond

In 1984, 19-year-old Cindy Rawson (née Collier) and a chestnut mare named Deer Creek finished their first CCI4* at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. In spite of a fall on the cross-country, they completed inside the time and with a clear show- jumping round finished the event in 13th place.

Feb 14, 2020 Education

Featured Clinician: Martin Douzant

For Martin Douzant, experience is everything. As the owner and operator of The Frame Sport Horses based in The Plains, Virginia, Douzant has been able to build a successful training business on a foundation of great education, involvement across equestrian disciplines, and a distinct reverence for the horse.

Feb 13, 2020 Volunteers

New Addition to VIP: The Volunteer Medal Program

The USEA Volunteer Committee is pleased to announce a new Volunteer Medal Program has been added to the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program presented by Sunsprite Warmbloods (VIP) starting this year. The Volunteer Medal Program will recognize the volunteers who consistently volunteer year after year.

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