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<<First Name>>, Welcome back to The 90%!
"Ninety percent of the art of living consists of getting along with people you cannot stand." Samuel Goldwyn, film producer. As any professional athlete will tell you, getting along with difficult people comes with the territory. Keep reading to hear how one athlete in particular deals with negative thoughts and people.

I'm headed to the Association for Applied Sport Psychology's (AASP) conference next week. AASP is the leading organization for performance and sport psychology professionals and the sanctioner of the Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) credential. For the first time in three years, we'll get to meet in person. The conference is an invaluable opportunity to connect with other practitioners in the field and to reconnect with old friends. I always come back with new ideas, and I anticipate sharing some of those in future editions of the newsletter.

Aaron Judge broke Roger Maris' American League record for home runs in a season. Fans around the league cheered wildly. In the playoffs, Judge struck out seven times in games 1 and 2 of the Yankees' series with the Guardians. New York fans booed lustily. Such is the nature of professional sports. Emblematic of his approach to baseball, Judge bluntly said, "I wasn't good enough." 

I don't think he's going to dwell on it for long. Since  college, Judge has employed a simple technique to throw negative thoughts away. Between pitches, he'll reach down for a handful of dirt. He'll crush it up, and then toss it away. He describes it as, "Just a way of slowing things down, taking an extra two or three seconds to grab some dirt . . . For me, all my negative thoughts that I have about, 'How did you miss that pitch? Why did you miss that pitch? You shouldn't have missed that pitch.' I just kind of sit there and kind of crush it up, and once I'm done doing that ... I just kind of toss it aside."
Judge is committed to eliminating negative thoughts both on and off the field. In addition to eliminating them in the batter's box, he's working to clean up social media through the Uncap the Possibilities campaign. With a commitment to his craft, the mental game, and being a role model, Aaron Judge is the type of performer we should point our athletes towards.

Nineteen hundred years ago, Marcus Aurelius wrote, "Choose not to be harmed and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed and you haven’t been.” 

Four hundred twenty years ago, Shakespeare, "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

Three years ago, Trevor Moawad wrote, "Neutral thinking means accepting the idea that when something good or bad happens, it happens."

Whether you call it mindfulness, neutral thinking, Stoicism, or rational reasoning, the message is the same. An event happens and that fact can't be changed. Too many times, I see athletes and coaches holding on to an image of what should have been rather than facing what is. Such an approach can lead to frustration, a misplaced focus, and a delayed response. You get a bad bounce. The referee blows a call. The conditions change. You have one choice at this point, and that is to determine how to deal with the facts of the situation. Start by looking at the situation objectively, and then turn to what you can control. The sooner you do so, the sooner you can move forward.

**To start building this mentality, consider reading Hamlet by William Shakespeare, The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday, and It Takes What it Takes by Trevor Moawad.**
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