Want to know something silly I used to do as a young hockey player?
I would get really really passionate about preparing for the season and set massive goals for my points, assists and goals. Yes, I get the irony of having goals for goals.
When I was younger, this passionate goal-setting strategy seemed great because I was motivated by my passion and worked very hard.
This passion would carry me for most of the season, except when things started to go wrong.
When I hit a scoring slump or a losing streak, things would change, my passion would dip, and I would simply just feel sick of hockey.
I would feel as if all of my previous work was a failure because I was not going to hit my goals.
When you feel like you are not on the right track, your brain stops feeling good (dopamine release drops significantly) and I call this the Passion Dip.
Most players that I have seen who hit this Passion Dip later in their careers shift away from the sport and often quit because the sport stops giving them that good feeling it used to bring.
All it takes for someone to quit when is a passion dip is a mean coach, or a highly pressuring parent or a little social pressure from an external source, and boom… hockey is done.
All of that love and passion and hard work for the sport gone because it stops feeling good.
I want to suggest that being driven by passion and goals is not the most effective strategy because passion can run out and who knows what your goals will be.
What also makes setting goals ineffective is that they may not be the same goal you have further down the road.
Let’s say you enter the hockey season with the massive goal to score 50 goals, that’s great, but what if you get sent to be a defensive forward for the first half of the season by your coach? You can set a new goal, but ultimately you will know early on that you are going to fail to hit your goal.
That feels like sh** and we want to avoid this because hockey is still supposed to be fun.
The solution is to take a systematic approach.
A systematic approach to this same situation is to be a strong shooter and get good at creating shot angles.
So you study shooters and scorers, learn the techniques and stack these skills onto your current Talent Stack. That way even if you are put in a different role, you can find ways to express these talents. This way you are never waivered by external situations, instead your system flows with them.
You can’t lose in this situation and you will always feel good as long as you feel like you are progressing in your Talent Stacking. This removes the risk of the Passion Dip destroying your career because you are driven by your own internal game
When you set a goal, you are a failure until you reach it. When you set a system with goals in mind, you are succeeding every time you follow the system.
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