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.

Oct 19, 2019 Competitions

The Fair Hill Daily: Cross-Country

Derek di Grazia’s cross-country courses at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International is the setting for all the action today in Elkton, Md. Here is what you need to know to follow along:

Oct 18, 2019 Young Event Horse

2019 YEH East Coast Champions Collect Their Crowns

With 70 percent of the scores coming from the second day of the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East Coast Championships, the 4- and 5-year-olds had a big moment in front of them to impress the judges Chris Ryan and Sally Ike. The horses were judged over a set of show jumps (15 percent) then moved directly into the cross-country portion (30 percent) before finally showing off their gallop and earning an overall score for their jumping (15 percent) and general impression (10 percent).

Oct 18, 2019 Competitions

Ladies Top the Leaderboards at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day

At the end of a busy day wrapping up the dressage phase of The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day (FHI), two new riders took over the top of the leaderboards. Mara DePuy and Congo Brazzaville Z moved into first in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championship with their 28.6, while Alexa Gartenberg and Louis M claimed the pinnacle position in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship on a 25.9.

Oct 18, 2019 Education

PODCAST: Prepare Your Horse for Winter with Emily and Dr. Jeff Beshear

On this week's episode of the USEA Podcast, prepare to "winterize" your horse with tips from both a rider's perspective and a veterinarian's perspective. First, five-star eventer Emily Beshear shares her tips for helping your horse adjust to the cooler temperatures. Then, her husband Dr. Jeff Beshear provides tips from a vet's point of view on how best to care for your horse as the season changes.

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