It’s the start of a new year and a time when many of us will be wanting to make changes in our lives and start afresh. Many of us will be making New Year’s resolutions, perhaps to train for a marathon or to land a better job, but more often than not our good intentions fall by the wayside as the year goes on.
With the explosion in digital media, combined with information overwhelm and the increasing pace of change, it’s easy to become distracted from our goals and to lose focus. But it doesn’t have to be like this. It is possible to regain clarity of thought and to focus your mind on the things you want in life, without distraction. Jamie Smart, Clarity Practitioner explains to Elysium Magazine how simple changes can result in better performance in sports, business and life.
The outside-in misunderstanding
A subtle but pervasive “optical illusion of the mind” means that all too often we get caught up in contaminated thinking such as worry, anxiety and doubt. This contaminated thinking can temporarily obscure our innate capacity for clarity, resilience and wellbeing, and is the result of what I call the outside-in misunderstanding. This is the mistaken belief that our feelings are coming from something other than thought in the moment (for instance past events, future prospects, current circumstances, other people etc).
The mind is a self-correcting system. We have a natural capacity for mental clarity, the gateway to connection, creativity and high performance. As you deepen your understanding of the principles behind clarity, you start “waking up” from the outside-in misunderstanding, and aligning your experience with the inside-out nature of life.
Improve your sports performance
Every sports person has had the experience of playing at their best, with a clear head and the kind of magical performance that accompanies it. That kind of clarity is an innate capacity; a natural function of the mind. Yet, all too often, athletes are given techniques, rituals and routines in the innocent but misguided idea that you can clear your mind by having more to think about. But it doesn’t work that way. The mind is a self-correcting system, and you’ve experienced that capacity countless thousands of times (otherwise you’d still be angry about everything that’s ever annoyed you!)
This self-correcting mechanism applies in relation to worries and concerns, for example fears about getting injured or losing a game, as well as to pressures and desires such as the desire to beat your PB, get picked for the team or win the cup. When we’re caught up in future or past thinking, we’ve wandered away from the only place where high-performance can happen; the present moment.
We all get tricked from time to time by our mind’s belief that our security and well-being can come from (or be threatened by) something other than thought in the moment. It’s only when you come back to the present moment you experience the source of clarity, resilience and high performance.
Succeeding in business
The above mentioned approach can equally be applied to the business world. Contaminated thinking can get in the way of achieving your goals at work or cloud your focus with feelings of stress and anxiety. It really can seem like those feelings of pressure are coming from a future deadline, or that your stress is coming from the number of emails in the inbox, but it can’t possibly work that way.
Just as a little child is fooled into believing their feelings of comfort and security come from a teddy bear or a blanket, the power of thought fools us into believing our feelings are telling us about external factors (e.g. the holiday we’re looking forward to or the presentation we’re dreading).
The mistaken belief that our feelings are telling us about something other than thought in the moment is the source of the majority of stress, pressure and anxiety.
A deeper understanding of the principles behind clarity is the key to improving your sports performance and navigating the uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of the modern business environment. This fresh new approach will help you to enjoy a clear mind, high performance and impactful results that matter to you.
Jamie Smart is an internationally renowned trainer, coach, consultant and author of the best-selling book CLARITY: Clear Mind, Better Performance, Bigger Results, priced £8.79 from Amazon.co.uk. To find out more, visit www.jamiesmart.com