Do you know how to win the inner game with your mind?
Timothy Gallwey developed this concept in his bestselling book Inner Game of Tennis. You will find out more and more ways to win the game in tennis and they apply to all other areas of life.
Inner game is actually rarely a game. How is that? Well, usually we just listen to every thought that comes into our consciousness and listen to it. It’s like having the radio stick to your ear and repeating everything you hear.
Playing the game means you have influence on your opponents. But if we just listen to every thought that comes to our mind, then it’s not a game, it’s obedience. 🙂
The first step is to become detached from your thoughts. It’s just your mind, it’s not you! It only releases thoughts from your unconscious realm and there is no end to them.
So how can you actually play the game with your mind?
Here are 5 ways you can win your mind game:
1. Fighting the mind The most typical example of fighting the mind is when we are afraid. Courage is actually a victory over fear – and that’s when we fight our thoughts. Our thoughts say something and we don’t do it. There are several other internal or external motivations that move us through fear.
Fighting fear can produce very surprising results if we persist. When we are in a fearful situation and we overcome fear, we gain confidence. When we are faced with that or a similar event later, we overcome that fear more easily. We feel that the fear is less. Finally we won the internal battle and the fear did not arise again. We don’t have to spend our nervous energy overcoming fear, so we can be much more effective in other mental activities at that time.
2. Fool the mind This concept is the main idea in the book Inner Game of Tennis. We trick the mind into focusing it on something relevant and something interesting – seeing how the ball is spinning or watching the ball’s flight path and stuff like that.
We play the game with our minds and even though we know we’re going to trick the mind and mind knowing it, it still falls for the trick. Not always but we get better with practice.
3. Listening to your thoughts When we develop a good sense of our thinking, we choose what we will believe. We choose whether some thoughts are important or not. Again, these are not some of India’s mystical abilities; we do this all the time.
Not? Have you ever thought about hitting someone and you didn’t? Or are some people on the road driving in front of you and you want to crash in their car? And you don’t? You choose not to follow thoughts! You see how useless and destructive that will be in the long run.
That’s what we need to do in tennis. Hitting the winner from 3 meters behind the baseline on the run is not a thought to follow. If only after a bad line invokes thoughts like this appear:
Everything is against me; I can’t possibly win this, so it’s not a good idea to follow!
4. Ignoring thoughts – the door to the zone This is a higher ability to possess than just listening to and choosing thoughts. When you ignore thoughts it feels as if you are watching TV and the radio is on. You are so focused on the TV show, that you don’t hear the radio. But it plays just fine.
And the same can be done with our minds. We can focus so much on the game of tennis that we don’t even hear and realize what the mind is talking about.
5. Mind deadly – entering the zone This is the main ability and allows the player to enter the zone. Mind-shifting occurs when you have ignored the thought for a long time. Some thoughts come but you just don’t care and you just keep playing. Whenever a thought pops up you just let it pass.
What happens after a while (and that is my own experience) is that the mind seems offended. Because we didn’t pay attention to the thoughts of chatting, we were so angry that we refused to talk to us anymore. Suddenly there was silence in my mind.
And you can play. There is no past or future. They only exist in thought. What is now.
So this is progress in taming the mind. It gets a little harsh at times, but eventually the mind seems to give up especially when we don’t care. And there lies freedom from ideas, concepts and confidence. Only after the match do you let go of this state of the zone and return to your normal beta state of brain wavelengths. Come back with your mind friend.