A No-Mind experience is a phenomenon that people experience when their mind is completely still. In this state, they have no internal dialogue running, and they are externally focused on the job at hand. Due to there being no thoughts, there is nothing but the experience of the now or present moment.
Here, people feel fulfilled, at peace, content. They are able to perform at high levels under intense pressure, often breaking their own or others’ records. They make great decisions, conserve energy, and have peak experiences. From the observer’s perspective, everything seems to be achieved so easily when seeing this person in action. Their performance is graceful and mesmerizing.
Wouldn’t you agree there is no better place to be? It sounds absolutely wonderful to be in this place. To be in the “flow” or the “zone” is to be able to perform at the peak of your mental and physical capabilities. It is every athlete’s dream to be able to tap into this at will. Psychology says that it can’t be created at will. Having studied the “no-mind” experience for the last 25 years, I am happy to say that there is a way to tap into the “zone” at will, and I am going to show you how so you can perform to your potential when it matters the most.
There is a term called “getting out of your own way.” What does it mean exactly when one “gets out of their own way?” This statement refers to having a no-mind experience. There are no negative thoughts or feelings. There is just a still mind focused on the task at hand, allowing the body to do what it was trained to do, perform! What happens when we train ourselves to switch off the thinking and feeling and enter into the world of no-mind.
PERFORMING OUT OF MY MIND
When I was an athlete, barefoot waterskiing for New Zealand, I had some experiences where I was able to perform to my full potential and basically had what we call a peak experience. There was no thinking; there was no struggling; there was no effort—there was just a flow of performance. It was effortless, and I broke personal bests in those moments.
I was curious: what was that all about? What was that experience? That doesn’t happen all of the time, but when it does, it’s really great, and I want more of that. So I started asking other athletes I knew—what were you thinking about when you broke that world record or achieved a personal best? And they all told me, “Nothing – I’m not thinking anything.”
This confirmed my own experience, and after reflecting on my findings, I realized that not thinking was a good thing—that learning to switch off thoughts before, during, and after a performance was critical for success. Earlier in my career, I had learned that my thoughts affect my behavior, which affects my results. This was taking things to a whole new level. I was learning to not think at all.
After more investigation, I found that there’s a whole science around “the flow” – which is also called “the zone.” When athletes and people tap into the zone, they perform literally out of their mind. I’ve heard a lot of athletes say, “Oh, I performed so well. I performed out of my mind today.” What does that actually mean? Well, it means that they had a “no-mind” experience. When athletes or people perform to their best, they are not trying—there’s no effort—and they are getting out of their own way. Their mind has been put aside and transcended even, and they are entering into a space where they operate at a higher level and peak performance is achieved.
It’s all a matter of quieting your thoughts, stilling your mind, and fully coming into the present. The key is to be able to do this in the midst of dynamic activity and maintain it. Easier said than done, but when achieved, well worth it—well worth it, indeed. I will attempt to keep this as simple as possible and share some “how-to” exercises that, when put into practice, will support you in peaking and attaining top performance.
“Lose your mind and come to your senses.”
~ Fritz Perls
1. Just Be – Taking the time to just be on a regular basis trains the mind to be still. We are human beings, not human doings. If we are doing all the time it creates an inner turbulence inside. The mind gains such momentum that when we try to just be it is impossible as thoughts continue thinking of their own accord. This can lead to anxiety, stress and even insomnia. To learn to just be, go here to download your free infographic guide.
2. Focus in on the Externals – When we focus 100% on what is happening moment to moment, observing what is, this is a sure-fire way to shut off the mind and be super present. Being super focused on the here and now stills our mind and allows us to come to our senses.
3. Practice Acceptance – Every time you catch yourself resisting what is, judging, blaming etc. know that it is your ego at work. Ego stands for Edging God Out, and when we are unable to accept things as they are our ego takes over and we lose the moment. When things get tough, take 3 deep breaths and repeat the quote “I accept things as they are, not as I wish them to be!” Once you feel this to be true, then respond creatively to the situation, circumstance or person.
Use these 3 tools daily and see how they add value to your life. The past is history, the future a mystery and the now is a gift. That is why they call it the present. Give yourself this gift, you may find it to be the best gift you have ever received in your life as I did.
To your total success,