This is a great extract from a Woody Allen interview and it sums up for me the importance of what I call the Mental Game. That talent or – despite the X Factor – wanting to be successful isn’t enough on its own, and never was.Vicky Christina Barcelona the Mental Game

We have to get our mental games right or nothing will work.

It comes from a interview about the release of Vicky Christina Barcelona written up in The Collider

“I think that the biggest life lesson I learned as a boy that has helped me and is still with me is that you really have to discipline yourself to do the work. If you want to accomplish something you can’t spend a lot of time hemming and hawing, putting it off, making excuses for yourself, and figuring ways.

Just do it

You have to actually do it. I have to go home every single day, no matter where I am in a world, no matter what I’m doing, and putting 30 to 45 minutes of practice on my clarinet because I want to play. I have to do it.

When I want to write, you get up in the morning, go in and close the door and write. You can’t string paper clips, and get your pad ready, and turn your phone off, and get this, get coffee made.You have to do the stuff. Everything in life turns out to be a distraction from the real thing you want to do. There are a million distractions and when I was a kid I was very disciplined. I knew that the other kids weren’t. I was the one able to do the thing, not because I had more talent, maybe less, but because they simply weren’t applying themselves.

As a kid I wanted to do magic tricks. I could sit endlessly in front of mirror, practicing, practicing, because I knew if you wanted to do the tricks you’ve got to do the thing. I did that with the clarinet, when I was teaching, I did that with writing.This is the most important thing in my life because I see people striking out all the time. It’s not because they don’t have talent, or because they don’t want to be, but because they don’t put the work in to do it. They don’t have the discipline to do it.

80 percent of life is showing up

This was something I learned myself. I also had a very strict mother who was no nonsense about that stuff. She said ‘If you don’t do it, then you aren’t going to be able to do the thing.’ It’s as simple as that. I said this to my daughter, if you don’t practice the guitar, when you get older you wouldn’t be able to play it. It’s that simple. If you want to play the guitar, you put a half hour in everyday, but you have to do it. This has been the biggest guiding principle in my life when I was younger and it stuck.

I made the statement years ago which is often quoted that 80 percent of life is showing up. People used to always say to me that they wanted to write a play, they wanted to write a movie, they wanted to write a novel, and the couple of people that did it were 80 percent of the way to having something happen.

All the other people struck out without ever getting that pack. They couldn’t do it, that’s why they don’t accomplish a thing, they don’t do the thing, so once you do it, if you actually write your film script, or write your novel, you are more than half way towards something good happening.

So that I was say my biggest life lesson that has worked. All others have failed me..”

Woody Allen – read the rest of the interview here

The Mental Game

If you want to learn more about how to manage your Mental Game, deal with procrastination, manage time, rediscover what it is to enjoy writing whatever the pressure, my workshops on the Mental Game are great fun. Check out my workshop schedule here.