I made it my purpose to start to really find out how I had that peak experience. What I learned took me deep into the depth of the mind and the human soul in order to understand how to replicate that performance and experience. What I found changed my life forever and supported me in getting to where I am today.
The mind is made up of conscious and unconscious thinking, and its momentum is huge. It likes to stay in charge, to control situations, circumstances, and people, and run the game of life. Our conditioning and our programming, all stored in the unconscious mind, are the source of our focus and thinking. Between all of our thoughts, emotions, and underlying conditioning, we have so much to manage and deal with it sometimes can become overwhelming. To be able to learn to still that mind and really put it aside is a great skill, and, in my opinion, is actually the number one skill that anyone who wants to perform highly needs to learn.
Let’s take a look at the top three reasons why people should learn to still their mind.
1. The mind with its negative programming can get in the way, and it can sabotage us and our results. So if we can learn to transcend it and still it completely, that programming will not affect us anymore.
2. Our thoughts and emotions, if they’re unresourceful, create stress, and stress kills performance. The higher the level of negative stress, the lower the level of performance. Refer to the following diagram.
3. When our mind is still and we are in the present, it creates a lot of flow in our life, and things happen without effort. Bruce Lee mentioned that the more relaxed you are, the faster you can strike or the harder you can hit. Sprinters who tighten up at the end of the 100 meters are the ones that start to slow down, and the ones who are able to let go and relax through the last 20 meters of the race are the ones who keep top speed.
How can we stay calm and relaxed to allow top performance to occur? Well, we have to learn to get out of the way of our own selves and master our mind.
If we haven’t taken the time to be still on a regular basis, then we have so much momentum in our thinking that when we sit down and try to be still, we find our thoughts just continue automatically in the background. This is called inner turbulence, and in everyday life, we aren’t aware of it because it’s in the background all of the time.
This inner turbulence is an example of a mind not being still or of us getting in the way of our own self. It’s this inner turbulence that is actually stopping us from getting out of our own way and performing clear, the to our full potential. We have to learn to still the mind and switch it off, and this is a major challenge if we have been taught all of our life to do and not to just be. This happens because these techniques are not taught to us as children—they are not taught to us, period. We have to look for those answers by becoming aware of problems and how to overcome those problems.
The challenge is clear, the challenge is achievable, and like any challenge, it takes commitment and desire to accomplish it. You have to make it, for a period of time, the most important focus in your life. Most importantly, you need to understand why that is the case. Why do you want that? How will that support you? What will happen if you don’t do it? Do you want that? Ask yourself those big questions and find out your big reasons for doing it, because when it gets tough, and it will, you want to be able to remember what the purpose of all this was in the first place.
An excerpt from The Evolutionary Leader – 5 steps to dramatically develop people and performance by Timothy Carroll.