Jumpstarting Yourself

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If you read, every once in a while, you’ll find something and say, “why does that just apply to X? Why wouldn’t that work for Y, Z  and W?”

Sometimes, the topic is medical — like noticing that the same protein is involved in both Alzheimer’s and concussions. (See previous blog.) Sometimes, the topic is far more universal.

Science Daily reports on a mind-training technique that improves the performance of athletes. (1) From the brief description, the program uses a step method (what program these days doesn’t?) and meditation to enable athletes to exclude mental distraction and focus on performance. Athletes who have gone through the program have been able to improve performance and importantly maintain the improvement over time.

The authors talk about enabling the athlete to block out distractions such as anxiety.

The basic premise is that half of athletic performance is mental and that conventional sports training ignores that aspect of the game.

I can certainly accept that. Great athletes have the ability to pay attention at a greater level than others. It’s said that legendary hitter Carl Yastrezmski could see the spin on a fastball and legendary racer Dale Earnhardt could see the wind coming off the car in front of him. The difference from others is in their uncanny ability to focus.

What could you do with that ability?

The larger questions is: what human activity isn’t at least 50% mental? That rule seems to apply to everything including sex.

  • Great levers aren’t great because of some physical attribute but because of their ability to focus on their partner.
  • Great teachers can sense what their students needs, whether the student is a visual or oral learner or requires some other form of coaching and instruction.
  • Great leaders don’t just have vision about where to go, but the ability to motivate their followers or employees — knowing what will get them going.

We even know that the ability to survive and recover from serious illness is largely mental. Part of the sales pitch for supplemental insurance is about removing financial distractions to enable patients to focus on recovery.

And who doesn’t have distractions like anxiety?

So, who wouldn’t benefit from “mindfulness training”? The authors focus on athletes because of the money to be made there, but the concept applies to everyone in all aspects of life.

I’m not endorsing the book or specific method that’s the subject of this citation. However, there’s a lot to be said for improving the ability to focus and exclude distractions. The ability to focus can improve everything you do. There are a number of roads to that goal — including meditation and tai chi. Which method will work for you is something you learn by trying. So try.

There’s even an app for that!  (4) No, I’m not endorsing that either, at least not until I try it myself.

 


Sources:

  1. American Psychological Association. “New mindfulness method helps coaches, athletes score: Sessions can help athletes at all levels develop mental edge, psychologist says.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 August 2017. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170804091350.htm.
  2. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/mindfulness/definition
  3. https://www.pocketmindfulness.com/6-mindfulness-exercises-you-can-try-today/
  4. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-mindfulness-app-meditation-for-everyone/id417071430?mt=8
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