Do the following strategies and advice sound familiar?
Be positive. Be confident. Be aware of your body language. Be grateful. Don’t judge. Love more. Control what you can control. Focus. Never give up. Choose success. Find your passion. Serve others. Be kind to yourself and others. Control your breathing. Think before your speak. Avoid negative self-talk. Promote positive self-talk. Don’t be afraid. Suck it up. See the good in everything. Be a problem solver. Don’t try, just do it. Communicate. Smile more. Be a leader.
This list could go on and on.
Something is Missing
What if I told you none of those strategies work? Why? Because they overlook the influence of our state of mind or mind-set on our behavior.
These strategies increase our cognition, ego, and intellect (our thinking). As our thinking revs up, our head becomes more cluttered and our mind-set falls. What many proclaim to be helpful actually hurts over the long term.
Behavior is a by-product of our mind-set, and our mind-set is a by-product of the amount of thought flowing through or bottled up in our heads. When we are in a high state of mind, loving others, a positive attitude, maximum effort, and serving come naturally and easily; we don’t have to think about it or strive for it.
Conversely, when in a low mood, our willpower is insufficient to manufacture positivity, effort, and encouragement.
Still, many athletes believe they can use willpower (fueled by their ego and intellect) to force a “positive” state of mind in order to enhance performance.
When I explain how the mind works, athletes often nod their head in agreement, but then they ask the following question:
“What do I need to do when I am in a low state of mind?”
The answer is nothing. Simply proceed (as one of my clients likes to say). Stay the course, stay in the game, keep climbing, keep swimming, keep shooting, keep following the path set forth when your mood was higher.
Trouble finds us when we act from a low mind-set and seek relief via the above strategies. As we proceed and realize our mind-set is a by-product of our thinking and not our circumstances, our thinking will clear and our mood will naturally rise. Our mind will self-correct back to clarity (our default state) if our intellect and ego stays out of the way.
Understanding Versus Doing
Living and performing at our best is about understanding the unseen world of our minds.
It is understanding that low mind-sets are not to be feared, and are not a result of circumstance, but a result of a cluttered head (too much thinking).
It is understanding that employing strategies add thought (more clutter), which lowers our mind-set and sabotages our performance.
It is understanding that no matter what we are thinking, our mind-set rises and falls–without effort.
It is understanding that when our heads are cluttered, we experience life as if we are in a dungeon; our perspective is narrow, dark, and gloomy. Everything is a grind, a problem, and difficult.
It is understanding that when our mind is clear, we experience life as if we are on the balcony of a penthouse overlooking a beautiful city; our perspective is broad, options abound, and solutions are plentiful. Life is good.
The best strategy is understanding.
So put away your strategies. Stop trying to do and seek understanding and notice how your life simplifies.
Thanks for reading.