I have spent many years adding to my life; making my life harder, trying to find solutions to ‘problems’ I perceived I had. I’m not saying they weren’t there but at the time I didn’t realise where my experience was coming from. I have invested in so many self-help books over the years, moving towards self-development (so that I wasn’t completely broken but ‘could be better’). It has always been an interest of mine.
The thing I have come to discover is that all I have been doing by practicing the latest tool or technique is actually adding more on my ‘To Do’ list. Therefore, without realising it, I was not reducing my feelings of inadequacy or overwhelm but adding to them! I have created more to do in my life as I have had to practice these things to get better at them and then often given up due to time constraints or not really gelling with them; leaving feelings of failure which just meant I needed more development (or so I thought!). I have come to be aware that we perform better with less on our minds.
Why can football players play really well throughout a match, but when it comes to taking penalties look like they are three years old kicking a ball? It is not that they are not talented, skilled or even lack commitment. It is noisy, contaminated thinking they have affecting their focus; full of doubt about themselves, what their team will think, what the fans will think.
Quite often people who do well have nothing on their mind at the time. Before running races, Usain Bolt spends time with the fans and crowd having fun and taking selfies. He doesn’t look focussed on what lies ahead of him but he has said that he performs better when he has less on his mind and not thinking about the task ahead. Skills and knowledge are definitely important but mental clarity is always the determining factor in performance.
We perform better with less on our minds. The realisation that my clarity of mind and where my experience is coming from has made a big difference in my life; with my relationships and my productivity at work. I’m not suggesting adding to your ‘To Do’ list with learning and practicing a new technique. Thought is invisible and the majority of our thoughts are subconscious but the more we become aware of our thinking (and we can do it by using our feelings as a barometer; sad feelings=sad thoughts), recognise when we have clear thinking and when we don’t, we can develop motivation and productivity effortlessly and we can live our lives with greater ease.