Whether it’s the snake oil of days gone by, the modern day Power Balance bracelets or Phiten titanium necklaces, people are always trying to get an edge. Occasionally people will get results from these products, but it has nothing to do with the outlandish claims made about them and everything to do with the more primitive concept of belief.

I always tell my clients, that if you think you can or can’t you are probably right. Unfortunately most people are filled with doubts about their own abilities, which are what get in their way. That’s where these products often fill the void. You may not believe you have good balance and therefore are always on the lookout for failure in this area and thus making failure more likely to happen. Now put on a Power Balance bracelet and it magically takes away the doubts that are your real problem, because you now believe you have good balance, thanks to the “effect” of the Power Balance bracelet.

It’s your lack of doubt in your balance that has changed inside your head not the bracelet that makes the difference.

Using gimmicks like these are diametrically opposed to everything I teach my clients. I want them to learn to trust their abilities and believe in themselves. Part of achieving success is taking responsibility for your own growth, failures and accomplishments. Putting your belief into some external product diminishes all your accomplishments and gives you a built in excuse – my bracelet must be wearing out, I better get a new one – when you fail. The truly great athletes know what it takes, both inside and out, to reach their potential and most of them relish the hard work necessary to get there.

I think it is a slippery slope for high level athletes to fall prey to these claims, because these products give them a false, temporary mental edge at the expense of developing a true mental edge, that sustains them and their performance level. I realize many athletes are simply endorsers of these products and wear them solely for their personal financial gain and I have no problem with that from a performance standpoint.

Throughout history, athletes and people have turned to quick fixes and gimmicks in an effort to avoid dealing with the real issues they are facing, rather than putting in the necessary effort to overcome those issues. Others buy into these gimmicks in an attempt to feel closer to their sports heroes that wear these items. In either case, their decision to purchase these types of products is an emotional rather than rational one.

The placebo effect is real, and I think it’s a fine instrument for most people. Even my wife has a Phiten titanium necklace and claims it makes her neck feel better. I have no problem with that use, as if it makes her feel better that’s great. Besides, it’s actually a cute necklace and costs thousands of dollars less than one at Tiffany & Co., so it’s making both of us happier. However, people who aspire to perform at their maximum level are doing themselves a disservice when they are seduced by these products, and I would advise them to stay away from them.


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