Why psych yourself out???

As some of you might know I do some adjunct skills instruction at a local community college. I do classes for both the Criminal Justice and Fire Science programs. I also get asked to help with CPAT testing.

CPat-TestCPAT is the Candidate Physical Ability Test given to most paid firefighters as part of the preemployment screening. Our local college does this testing for all the local paid fire departments.

The other day we ran a CPAT test. Just before the testing kicked off I was talking to a group of the kids who were about to take the test. This group were all kids I had as students in a class last year. One person for the sake of this story I will call “Pat” kept making negative comments.

Pat said multiple times how taking this test was a waste of time he was sure he was going to fail. He said over the weekend in preparing for the CPAT he worked out too much and had some muscle soreness. He then talked about how is breakfast was too rich so he felt like he had a lump in his guts. Over and over he psyched himself out.

He set himself up to fail the test.

And guess what???

Pat failed!

CPAT needs to be completed in 10 Minutes and 20 seconds to be considered a passing score. His time was 10 Minutes and 24 seconds. Seriously FOUR seconds off.

I am not a psychology expert but I know he psyched himself out. As such he did not give 100%. Had he been thinking positive about his ability I think he would have shaved more than enough time off to pass.

This is not the first time I have seen someone psych them self out of passing. At the PD I help with the Cooper Fitness test for our new hires. I hear kids all the time talk about sucking at running or pushups and then they get low scores.

Psych yourself out like this responding to on a call and someone might not being going home at the end of shift. Maybe it is good these people psych themselves out during pre-employment screening. What kind of backup will they provide me in a bad situation… but this also causes me to look at some of my negative attitude co-workers… are they too psyching themselves out???