The missing ingredient to performance

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How often do you think about your state of mind in any given moment? Or the link between your state of mind in the moment and your performance whether it’s at work, at home or any other situation you find yourself in?

For years and years the field of professional sports has taken the state of mind of their sports people seriously knowing that it is a critical factor in their performance. So many shock results happen that on paper should have gone the other way but another variable in the moment has been at play.

The field of sports professionals can clearly see that physical fitness, experience and skill can get a player so far but state of mind can trump all of these.

Yet other fields have lagged behind in placing their focus on state of mind, even though it has as equally powerful impact on performance outside of sports as it does inside. Maybe that’s performance in a meeting, the quality of a conversation between a father and son or the ability to create a compelling proposal.

The default state of our mind is clear and with that comes feelings of peace, clarity and creativity. Much like a snow globe, the natural state of the mind is one in which the swirling thoughts or snow settle on the bottom, leaving a clear picture. You are able to be fully in the moment.

Yet when our mind is a commotion of thoughts, the picture becomes murky as thoughts whizz around uncontrollably and the mind becomes a raging storm. All sense of peace, clarity and creativity is gone and our ability to perform in the moment reduced. Maybe we become more hesitant, stuck in old ideas and unable to see a way forward, or distracted and unfocused. Our experience in the moment shifts and often we become more insecure in our thinking.

So how do we keep the clear, peaceful and creative state of mind that results in our best performance?

Understanding the true nature of our thinking can make a big difference to helping us switch off the thought storm in our mind. Here’s three ways to help us get clearer on how our minds work;

  • Our thoughts create our feelings 100% of the time. Knowing this means we can shine a light on the illusion that our feelings are created from what goes on outside of us. For example, when we feel stressed because we have to go to work tomorrow it is not our work that is making us feel this way (as much as it seems this way in the moment) but it is our thinking about the work. Likewise we can wake up on a sunny morning feeling good and we can attribute our good feelings to the sunshine but on another sunny day we wake up feeling bad and blame it on something else, forgetting we thought it was the sun that made us feel good on a previous day.
  • It’s really helpful to remember and become aware of the fact that thoughts can come and go like the weather. If we choose to attach to a particular thought, we are more likely to find it hanging around. Whereas if we see it simply as what it is - a thought that can come and go - we are less likely to feel any lasting impact.
  • Just because we think something doesn’t mean that it’s true. It is incredible how real our thinking can feel to us whether it’s our thoughts about ourselves, our colleagues, our work or our family. They come into our mind and most of us see them as truth, as facts. When we can remember they are thoughts, just like a cloud, we can lose our sense of attachment to them and discern whether they are helpful or unhelpful.

When we get closer to understanding the true nature of thought, we’re able to get closer to our default clear and creative state of mind. The opportunities for peak performance that lie in this default setting is immense for all areas of our lives as well as the opportunity to influence those around us.

If you are interested in finding out more about how to access a clear and creative state of mind we’d love to talk to you or your team.