You want excellence? Train your body and mind!
The fact that regular training is important for health, performance and well-being has meanwhile been understood and internalized by many people. But when we talk about “training”, what do you think of? Probably the picture of your running route or your fitness studio immediately comes to your mind. (I’ll explain in this blog post how you can best respond to the needs of your body). Just as if training were something purely physical – but that’s only one side of the coin. And the other side is at least as important in order to achieve a healthy balance. Those who only train the body, unnecessarily sacrifice much potential. Just as you can only expect performance from a trained, strong and healthy body, you also need a trained mind if you want to act clearly and effectively.
As soon as I have reached this point in my coaching sessions, I usually get perplexed and confused looks. Train the mind? I beg your pardon? My mind is working perfectly, or is he trying to tell me that I am confused in my head? I don’t want to hurt you, but I want to make it very clear: yes, that is exactly what I want to say.
The wild horse
Every untrained mind has difficulties with clear focus and real concentration. Don’t you think so? Then why don’t you do the following “simple” exercise: try concentrating on your own breathing for a minute. How you inhale, the air flows into your lungs and then slowly escapes again. Sounds almost ridiculously simple, doesn’t it?
Most people can’t even do it for five seconds without their thoughts wandering. It may only be a short jump, a flickering – and yet: at that moment your mind has escaped your control. It was not you that controlled your mind, but the other way around. At the same moment your concentration was gone. And so you are unconsciously constantly repeating this process. Your mind jumps around like an unrestrained horse, without you having much influence over it, let alone being able to hold it by the reins.
Not you have thoughts, thoughts have you
In this untrained state we think we own a brain – it’s the other way around. Your mind constantly vanishes into the past or the future instead of staying in the present and paying full attention to it. We can’t even focus on something as banal as breath for more than a few seconds off the cuff.
Do you want to achieve something significant, are you striving for excellence and top performance? Then I can only advise you: start training your mind. Without presence, awareness, concentration and focus, you will only be able to realize a fraction of your potential. So make a start today on training your mind exactly for this ability.
You can imagine your mind as a garden pond: if you don’t take care of it, if you simply leave it to itself, it will become cloudy over time. Small mud particles swim around unhindered. Without you noticing it yourself, your perception becomes clouded, you show the same reactions to supposedly identical stimuli, you act with the same patterns. In short, you live on autopilot. Your clouded mind steers you and you don’t even notice it. This may sound efficient and comfortable, but in practice it is fatal. Ask yourself: In this state – who decides here? About you, your thinking, your acting, your life, your company …?
Workout for the mind
Meditation clarifies this murky pond. If you can see to the bottom unhindered, you will immediately recognize with which thoughts and emotions you react to which stimuli. You develop an awareness of when your known patterns take control. And above all: you can decide when which thoughts, feelings and behaviors are appropriate and effective and when not. In short, you can choose, you become freer, more relaxed and more effective. From now on you are the master of the house and the spirit is your good servant – not the other way around.
How do you do this? Start with the concentration on breathing described above and try to expand this focus second by second.
Next week I will go into the topic of “stimulus and reaction” and explain to you how you can free yourself from your prison of thought.