I’ve been reading The Mindful Athlete by George Mumford. It’s a great book that’s all about performing at your peak.
It has some great advice for performing at your best level. This is something you can aspire to throughout your life.
One of the core lessons?
Sometimes you have to reach rock bottom before you can find your superpowers.
Individuals find enlightenment in manners that are other. Some journey to India; others do yoga. The author, for George Mumford, it was the pain of reaching rock bottom that drove him to find mindfulness and, consequently, his own superpowers. Here’s his story:
Mumford was a talented basketball player. He appeared poised to get a professional career. And then he got injured while training. Instead of letting his body regain, yet, he kept playing; his body was worn down by this, and destroyed his shot at a career in professional sports.
Instead of playing for the NBA, he went to the University of Massachusetts, where he studied finance and abandoned his vision. Since childhood, he’d known merely one way to take care of pain, whether mental or physical: drown it in booze. To fight the long-term pain brought on by his injuries, in addition to the mental pain caused by his dreams that were compromised, he began self-medicating. And his medication of selection was Seagram’s Seven whiskey.
Mumford did pot or n’t smoke cigarettes because he was concerned about how his physical growth would be affected by them, so he went right for heroin, when he started taking drugs.
In 1984, he got a staph infection that was serious. Mumford calls AOF, or this his Ass On Fire situation. His AOF motivated him to finally make a change, so he joined his first twelve-step program: Alcoholics Anonymous.
Where he was first introduced his AA program was Through meditation and yoga, he learned to listen to his body rather than dulling his pain.
For years, Mumford eventually left his job as a financial analyst to devote himself to others to teaching mindfulness and continued practicing mindfulness at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center.
That’s how Mumford came to develop the concept of the five superpowers: trust, concentration, penetration, right effort and mindfulness. Let’s look.
Key to high performance, the ##Mindfulness, is about focusing on your inner self.
Imagine you’re giving a presentation. You can’t focus because you’re worried about just what the audience thinks of you. Mindfulness will be the savior here. But just how do you become mindful?
Mindfulness comes from inside. Everyone has a quiet, internal strength that could protect them from outside distractions.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, the godfather of mindfulness, said that mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment as in case your life depended on it.
Because we’re always surrounded by distractions needless to say, that’s easier said than done. Our heads jump from topic to topic like a monkey swinging from branch to branch.
Buddhists call this monkey mind. The monkey mind is hard to command, but it can be pacified by you by practicing Buddhism. And once you get to a high state of self-control, you’ll discover yourself in the Zone.
The Zone is the best experience; when performing at their maximum potential degree, it is entered by athletes.
The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi believes the Zone experience happens when your ability and also the situation’s challenge are high and equal to each other. The Zone is much like the calm at the centre of a storm. It’s what keeps the mindful athlete in the present moment.
And that means you should be alert to emotions and your own ideas. You can practice mindfulness meditation by focusing on your breathing sitting still and practicing simple recognition: remaining aware of what’s going on in your body and mind at the present moment.
It’s easy to get distracted while carrying this out. You remember a pleasant memory, and might sense a breeze, by way of example and begin to dwell on it.
By being a Watcher, you can avoid this. Being a real Watcher means watching what’s occurring in your mind instead of letting it control you. Stay in charge of your ideas. Don’t let it be the other way around.
Here’s Mihaly giving a Ted Talk on Flow.