Case Study: Not Giving A Shit What Others Think

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Do you ever get nervous when you’re surfing around other people who are better than you and are afraid to make mistakes, fail and get laughed at in front of everyone?

Do you start to think what others think of you, overthink and freeze in contests and when people are aggressive in the free surf?

Would you like to overcome fear of making mistakes, getting embarrassed and not let thoughts of what others think of you cause you to underperform and give up?


Malcolm was having serious challenges surfing in front of surfers who he didn’t know or who he thought were better than him and who he looked up to.

He was worried what they might think of him and how they might laugh at him for making mistakes.

Malcolm was most frustrated about the fact that he got so nervous in front of others that he was underperforming and making beginner mistakes.

This happened both when he was free surfing and when he was competing.

Not being able to consistently surf at his full potential was slowing down his progress as an athlete and growth as a person.

Malcolm is one of the most positive and funny guys I’ve met, he’s humble and driven to improve and become the best he can be.

Unfortunately his fear of making mistakes, wiping out and getting embarrassed had slammed him onto the plateau and he didn’t know what to do so he asked for help. Brave man.

I recommended that we’d jump on a quick Skype Performance Breakthrough session to see if he was right for the training and if I could actually help him out overcome his mental obstacles.

Progression starts by telling the truth.


Malcolm initially wanted to work with me because his nervousness and fear of messing up was causing him to perform way below his normal skill level when surfing in contests and in front of other surfers who better than him.

The fear of getting embarrassed and laughed at made his knees wobble and turned his internal dialogue (the way to talk to yourself in your mind) into judgemental critic.

This in turn led to making mistakes and not even feeling like surfing and totally destroying his confidence.


With Malcolm we used various different mental tricks from the MG180X mental game system. I developed it in the past decade during my own career as a pro snowboarder and coaching world-class action sport athletes from Olympic medalists to multiple X-Games winners and US Open Champions.

It’s funny, a lot of times we think we know ‘what other people are thinking of us’.

Yet I’m pretty sure neither me or you can read people’s minds.

Better yet, the thoughts we think others are thinking of us are most of the time negative. Thinking they are laughing at your mistakes, scrutinizing and judging what you do.

These kinds of thought patterns effectively destroys your self confidence and leads to second guessing which in turn causes you to make mistakes, fail and get embarrassed.

Exactly the thing you are trying to avoid.

Have you ever asked what someone is thinking about you? Try it out, you might be surprised what they say.


Because most of the time they are thinking the same exact thing you are thinking. “I wonder what that guy is thinking of me?” “I bet his waiting for me to fail and laugh at me.” “They probably think I’m such a looser.”

I asked Malcolm if he had ever asked what the surfers who he respected thought of him. He said he hadn’t even thought about it.

In the next training session he had news for me. He had gone and talked to one of the guys at the line up who he thought was laughing at him and judging him.

Surprise surprise the guy had actually been admiring Malcolms skills and wondered why he didn’t surf at that break more often.

We humans are quite self centric. We like to think a lot about ourselves, not about others so much.

Please do not think you know what others think of you especially if it’s negative because you don’t. And it just chews up your self confidence and spits out insecurity.

So instead of focusing on what others think of you, focus on your surfing. Distract yourself by focusing on the waves, how you feel in the water by using MG180X Tune Out method for example.


I’ll let Malcolm do the talking.

Here’s an additional written testimonial Malcolm gave:

“My mental game was the weakest part and now it’s the strongest. Getting psyched out with other people it throws you off so much and you’re not on your game and focused so all those exercises that we did really help me I’m able to get into my own zone and focus on my own performance rather than worrying about everything else happening around me.”

-Malcom Daly, Surfer from Canada

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