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.

Mar 06, 2021 Association News

Bonus Episode: When Nicole Met Boyd

On this episode of the Equiratings Eventing Podcast, show host Nicole Brown talks to Pan American Games gold medalist and U.S. team stalwart Boyd Martin about his career to date, highs and lows, and coming back from injury.

Mar 05, 2021 Eventing News

US Equestrian Live Webinar: EHV-1 Outbreak Information

On Monday, March 8 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern, USEF will host a member webinar providing updates on the impacts of the case of EHV-1 (neurological) reported in Ocala, Florida. This case is similar in nature, but unrelated to the neurological strain of EHV-1 impacting Valencia (ESP) and other European countries.

Mar 05, 2021 Competitions

The Entry Fee is Only the Beginning: Part Two

As competitors rise through the levels, they often see the costs associated with competition rise and, unfortunately for most organizers, this can’t be avoided. With fewer competitors requiring more jumps, officials, footing management, etc., the expenses for running higher levels – especially FEI – are greater than lower levels.

Mar 04, 2021 Education

Pressure Proof with Daniel Stewart: The Anxiety Cycle is not a Bike!

Our sport is going to present you with many amazing opportunities, and some equally amazing challenges. While you’re sure to enjoy the opportunities, it sometimes takes a little more effort to enjoy the challenges. Contrary to the common misconception (from non-equestrians) that our sport is easy, it’s actually one of the hardest and most demanding sports of all!

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