To me, the human mind is designed to regulate to clarity and consciousness—if we don’t try to fix, or fight through, our lows. In effect, stillpower is the opposite of willpower. Finding peace of mind and performance excellence is built into the system. Human beings aren’t supposed to use self-help techniques or external tools which only thwart our intuitive functioning—not to mention our free will.
As all top performers would attest, the zone is a state of no thought. So, to me, it makes little sense to add thought (even positive thought) when we are not in this state. Again, finding the zone (becoming conscious) is part of our innate functioning; if we interfere, we only go backward. Think of it this way: We’ve all witnessed very young children have meltdowns, even tantrums. But with no trying, technique, or strategy, they quickly return to a high level of well-being—to the zone. This happened by design with no effort at all.
Stillpower stops the cycle of athletes (or anyone) becoming victimized by their circumstances and, thus, behaving badly. Rather than tell athletes what to look out for and what not to do, I remind them that their state of mind creates their experience; not that their experience creates their state of mind. In other words, you are free to act as you see fit; however, productive actions are the result of acting from high mind-sets and pulling back from low mind-sets.
This is a funny story. I was scheduled to meet with a pro hockey player on a Tuesday afternoon, but on Monday he frantically calls me and wants to come in. I agree. He sits down and starts ranting about what an SOB his coach is and tells me that he wants to be traded to a different team. I talk to him about how his perceptions of his coach are based on his own state of mind—I insist that it’s got nothing to do with the coach. The next day he comes in for our scheduled meeting and he tells me how respectful he was treated by the coach that morning and what a great guy his coach is. Now, obviously the coach hadn’t changed overnight. This was all the proof I needed to teach this player that our perceptions of others are created from the inside out. So when we are low on the inside, stillpower and not willpower is the best option.
All of us live in a continuum of moods, of states of mind. From the penthouse to the basement, we all ride the mood elevator moment to moment. When in the penthouse we are loving, resilient, compassionate, determined, secure, and understanding. When in the basement, we are resentful, vulnerable, judgmental, anxious, and insecure. Once this is understood, people stop taking their own state of mind, and the state of mind of others, as a given. Preaching about what is right or wrong no longer seems like a productive option. In any walk of life, Stillpower points people inward. It promotes acting on instincts and freedom. When people act instinctively and freely their actions tend to be productive—not just for them, but for their coworkers, family, and community as well.
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