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If you were a goalie approaching a gold medal hockey game, what would you be thinking about?

The 2014 game between Canada and Sweden should be a good one. As in all games of the “lose once and you’re out” variety, goal-tending is crucial. A hot goalie can easily be the difference. Recall the Canada-Latvia game where Canada outshout them 57-16 and was life and death to win 2-1.

Sweden’s goaltender is New York Ranger all-star Hendrik Lundquist. He has already won an Olympic gold medal, Turin 2006, and he can anticipate that he will have a busy day Sunday. Will he be ready?

It would be interesting to know how he prepares.

There is a some insight into this process. Mike Zeisberger, in Saturday’s Toronto Sun, has an interesting column about it. Here are some of Lundquist’s observations prior to the gold medal game in Turin, 2006:

“Things can go wrong at any time. I know that, but it’s stupid to focus on the negative. It’s going to be tough, but we have a good shot at the gold medal and we have to be ready.”
“If I go into one of those games — any game, actually — thinking: ‘What if I make a mistake?’ then you will do it. As a goalie, you must stay positive. And if you do make a mistake, well, those things happen when you play my position.”

I doubt Hendrik’s observations are wrong and I am certain that they apply to more in life than being a gold medal seeking goaltender. Here is the summary for the non-goaltenders.

“It’s stupid to focus on the negative”
If you think, ‘What if I make a mistake?’ then you will do it.
“You must stay positive”

Your mind is a goal-seeking machine. (No pun intended.) Whatever it focuses upon becomes reality. If you focus on negative, then negative will appear. It is like the baseball coach going to the mound and telling his pitcher, “Don’t walk this guy.” He might as well tell the pitcher to send the batter down to first. He has created the dominant thought “Walk.” Brains fail to understand negative instructions.

The right instruction is simpler. “Throw strikes.”

Sometimes we are lucky enough to be not paying attention or perhaps dealing with unknowns. Mistakes happen then.

“Things can go wrong at any time. I know that,”
“If you do make a mistake, well, those things happen”

These are the results that teach you. Mistakes provide sound lessons. They are valuable if you get the message. To avoid mistakes is itself a mistake.

Be like Hendrik Lundquist. Accept that mistakes might and do happen and learn from them when they do. But expect to succeed. Remain positive because negative thoughts about the possibility and especially about the effect of mistakes prepares the way for their occurrence.

Mistakes are your friend, but not until after you make them. Avoid befriending them too early.