‘It’ll be all right on the night’ is the philosophy that a performance will be successful, overcoming problems earlier. Performers can be athletes, sports players, stage artistes, musicians, artists, writers or orators. The presence of an audience, other competitors or judges can possibly stimulate achievement surpassing what they had attained previously in training, practice or rehearsal. A performer who has a large home crowd on the edge of their seats usually does her best.
A performer can’t count on rising to the occasion. Having achieved a personal best in training is an advantage. Not all training is for fine tuning. Training can be done for preparation, technique development and refinement, physical testing, assessment, familiarisation, habituation to venue and climate, lowering of perceived effort, hypertrophy and to build self-confidence. Practice and rehearsal aim to anticipate performance and competition conditions. At an elite level, ‘It’ll be all right on the night’ is less acceptable and instead many performers follow long, intense training programmes.
In my novel ‘Time is Gold’ Maxi experiments with and learns to use Extreme Flow for an attempt on the world marathon record, coached by her physicist partner Jack and a team of experts in psychology, physiology, neuroscience and Zen. The story is futuristic and describes fine-tuning for top performance. Available on Amazon https://martinknox.com
Short of Love is a satirical fiction novel telling of Tom’s loves and career from school, university, oilfield engineering to Chief Executive Officer of an international oil company. He falls for Vicki in an agonising love story when he is studying hard and tries to put her off until later, like in a commodity short. They are brought together in an African country and oppose famine and exploitation. It is a fast-moving page-turning love story from the Beatles era to recent times.
Seligman in 1991 published ‘Learned Optimism’ and reported results of an earlier experiment that measured psychological effects on physical health.
Groups of rats in 3 cages had a few cancerous cells injected under their skins. Cage 1 received no shocks. Two of the groups, Cages 2 and 3, then received electric shocks at random. Cage 2 could escape from the shocks by together pressing a switch, which they quickly learned to do when they rushed to the end of the cage and pressed on a bar that turned the shock off for a time. Cage 3 could not escape from the shocks.
After a time, the rats that were still alive were checked for presence of cancer tumours. Rats with tumours that had grown to more than 6mm were euthanized and recorded as ‘died’.
|CAGE||GROUP||REJECTED TUMOR %||DIED %|
|1||no shock (control)||50||50|
|2||switch off shock||70||30|
The results were dramatic and surprising. Most surprising was that the rats who mastered the shock and switched it off did better than the rats that had no shock at all.
The rats in Cage 2 had control over unpleasantness, seeming to strengthen their resistance to cancer with lower mortality. The experiment demonstrated a phenomenon ‘Learned Helplessness.’ When an inescapable unpleasantness has to be experienced, the individual’s resistance is lowered generally. Conversely, through overcoming the unpleasantness, the individual’s resistance is strengthened.
Helplessness is a default reaction to bad events which when it turns on the dorsal raphe nucleus in the limbic system, turns off the hope circuit activated by mastery and anticipation of control. Regardless of the outside world, it produces all the symptoms of learned helplessness: the panic, the passivity, the sadness. If the dorsal raphe was anaesthetised and turned off they didn’t become helpless and their immune system increased activity.
Being in control of even a stressful environment is better for health than being helpless.
It is hypothesised that individuals able to exercise control over unpleasant aspects of restrictions and treatment would be more likely to recover from COVID-19. Individuals could have control over their access to care, personalisation of the testing and treatment environment, diet choice, exercise opportunities, limited isolation and social interaction opportunities. Nurturing of control by patients over their treatments and environments would improve their effectiveness.
The focus of news about COVID19 has been on changes overnight, because long term success has seemed uncertain. If you don’t have a way of taking future uncertainty into account in present actions the situation could be worrying. The following ways of dealing with uncertainty are commonly used.
- Trust in God assumes divine intervention. I normally use one of the methods below.
- Hypothesising is guesswork made credible by academic qualifications.
- Forecasting is induction that looks for a pattern or trend in past data. An epidemiological model could help.
- Time discounting or net present value is for investors to compare alternatives of delaying expenditure and advancing recovery, to get a high return.
- Expected value analysis calculates the probability-weighted consequences of possible outturns.
- Cost benefit analysis to consider outcome alternatives.
- Flow or optimal experience is an existential psychological response with individual focussing on a personal goal, applying of skills and totally mentally engaging, becoming oblivious of passing time.
Using one of the above techniques could reduce your worries about COVID19.