Why is it that we occasionally perform our best the first time we attempt an activity but then we are never able to achieve that standard again? It is counter-intuitive to how we have been taught our entire life. We have always been told that "practice makes perfect" or "work on your skills and you will get better over time". Our entire educational system is based on the concept that the more we do something, the better we will get at it. Then why do we sometimes get worse the more we do something? The answer is typically "expectations". When we do something for the first time, we go into it with little expectation and our brain is free to allow our body to do what it is capable of doing. Unfortunately, as we work on the skill associated with the task, we begin to form expectations and that inhibits our physical abilities. We are usually more capable after time but our expectations inhibit our performance. That is why the "clean slate" mentality is beneficial. A "clean slate" is a state in which you are starting an activity or process again, not considering what has happened in the past at all. When we do approach a task with this mindset, we soon see all of the things we have learned along the way from that first performance and it should bolster our confidence. Unfortunately, our memories are both short and long. They remember our failures no matter how long ago they happened but our memories forget all of the hard work and the accomplishments we have had in the recent past. We need to give ourselves permission to succeed and not focus on the ways that we should fail. Clean the slate!