At the heart of the work at Mann on a Mission is a central driving purpose and understanding that becoming our best and living lives of full potential comes from applying counter intuitive approaches to performance and wellbeing. So what do I mean by a counter-intuitive approach?
Our instinct and our conditioning so often drives us to force harder, grip on, tense, and strive to produce our best. It is this instinctive response and way of operating that keeps us stuck in cycles of stress and dysfunctional patterns of behaviour.
The analogy I like to use is that of a novice fighter who is emotionally overwhelmed and in an effort to prevail struggles and forces in order to get more performance (win). As the novice waste’s huge amounts of energy, the trained fighter uses their tension and stiffness against them to control and ultimately defeat them.
I have been training this approach for many years, which ultimately has led me to this work. A physical example of this and to keep the analogy going would be when working out on the punch bag. I would mentally and physically exert myself to try and get more power and performance (to control the outcome). Even though I would recognise this wasn’t working, my natural disposition was to try even harder with further and further frustrating results. Even though I knew this approach wasn’t working it seemed the only route towards effective training…
However, having trained for numerous years I am now able to consistently reach a state of FLOW performance through ‘correct efforting’. This approach involves slightly ‘kidding’ the mind through an intention to move, relax and more lightly ‘touch’ the punch bag (rather than smash it!). The result of the paradoxical intention - relaxation, fluidity and counter intuitively effortless power!
Whether it be physical training, hitting a golf ball, playing a musical instrument, speaking on stage, writing a book or performing surgery it is applicable to all areas of life. A truth that when the internal activation is too high the net result is constructive thinking and tense performance. And a truth that although we still have to engage and focus into the activity, toggling down mental ‘efforting’ increases performance!
WHY WOULD THIS BE?
In simple terms we are getting out of our own way, so that we can access the higher functioning sub-conscious. Timothy Gallwey described this in his ‘Inner Game’ series of books by differentiating the conscious and sub-conscious mind as self 1 and self 2. In his work he described how performance is impacted when the balance becomes weighted towards the conscious mind.
So in effect, we are aiming to lessen the mental activity of self 1 (the conscious mind) so that we can move up on the spectrum of FLOW state and tap into the innate potential of the sub-conscious.
In neuroscience technical terms this is called Transient Hypo Frontality, which means in simple terms a reduction of activity in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain. Again this sounds simplistic but working against our instinct takes significant training…
TRAINING THE MENTAL SKILLS
I have had a daily practice of meditation for approximately 10 years where I have observed and trained the mind in the same way. Tensing and striving for the perfect ‘meditation state’ again only results in constriction (I think the main reason why so many people struggle and give up on the practice!). A loose focused intention of “I’m just going to sit” produces a lower expectation, which in turn often results in expansive thinking and a much more transcendent experience (reduced monkey mind).
As I have mentioned this mental skills training is applicable to all areas our personal and professional lives and this is a key understanding. However, because this goes against all our instincts most people don’t commit or discipline themselves to this path. Willpower is not enough but small micro habits which become embedded as a persons way of operating will produce significant ‘compound interest’ results.
I wouldn’t like to leave the impression this is something I have achieved personal mastery in! It is an on-going training, a life pursuit and something that is being lost moment by moment. The nature of the ‘monkey mind’ will constantly pull us into habitual thinking, that is it’s nature. Our training is to create awareness so that we can ‘wake-up’ and see the play of our thinking without judgement.
Like the old master fighter or champions and gurus from all fields this is at the heart of our training so we can be our best. My belief is that in these modern times this skill is a superpower. To be able to recognise that doing more to be more isn’t working and this intuitive, forcing mentality is causing huge emotional and physical stress as well as decreased levels of action and performance.
This as I said is that the heart of this work. It is the purpose of Mann on a Mission and at the core of Mission Mindset programme. To help people train counter intuitive approaches so they can think, feel and act in ways that are conducive to living lives of greater ease, passion and courage.
My invite is to do something different. To take on the challenge of your life time. Lets support each other to become our true potential.
Start the journey…