Writes Arvind Mishra, a Lucknow-based leadership coach, corporate trainer and an Internationally certified Design Thinking Master practitioner.
Today I will start my discussion with an incident from the life of Martina Navratilova. Do you all know her. Her brief introduction for those who might not know her. Born on October 18, 1956 she is a Czechoslovak-born American former professional tennis player and coach. In 2005, Tennis magazine selected her as the greatest female tennis player for the years 1975 through 2005 and she is considered one of the best female tennis players of all time.
I mentioned her date of birth for a reason. When she won her last Wimbledon mixed double title in 2003, she was 47 years of age. Someone asked her, how does she manages to perform at the top level even at this age. She said, the ball which I hit and the racket which I use don’t know that I am 47.
That brings us to a very interesting observation. Real game is not played on ground, it’s played in the 6 inches space between our ears.
PERFORMANCE = POTENTIAL – INTERNAL INTERFERENCE
If you have to live up to your potential, you need to minimize the internal interference. This is where our internal dialogue comes into play. Let’s try to understand internal dialogue with the help of my own example.
I was invited to my son’s college, Sun Beam at Varanasi to participate in a program “Explore your potential”. It was a matter of privilege as well a challenge, only because of the reason that my son was there in the audience.
Those who are living their parenthood can understand this well. There other other eminent speakers too, from different fields like academics, politics bureaucracy and so on. All of them spoke before lunch. Children were enthusiastic and attentive. Applauds and claps were all around for the speakers.
My turn came after the lunch. As I entered the hall, children had their nice and sumptuous lunch. Eating and overeating both have their side effects, and they were visible. Yawns, long faces, and the intention to stretch the bodies were evident. Now, as a speaker, one can have 2 thoughts at this point of time:
1. Hey, this isn’t done. Everyone spoke when kids were fresh and vibrant, and I got the opportunity to address them, when they are physically and mentally tired.
2. Wow, the school has so much faith and regard in my abilities, that they chose me to deliver in the most difficult phase of the day.
Thought 1 creates a protest within, brings the energy levels down and endorphins are reduced or blocked and self-respect is depleted. Thought 2 creates an aura of confidence, eyes light up and thoughts begin to flow.
Being the kind of person I am, I had the 2nd thought in my mind and started with my enthusiastic, participative flavour and soon the children got in sync with me. For about next 2-3 hours every one in the hall had great time, which finished to a standing ovation, and I saw my son clapping the hardest with a shine in his eyes (one can easily guess, why).
So this was my internal dialogue which gave me the right impetus. This inner dialogue does not only determine our thinking, but also the related and produced emotions, as well as the way we perceive our environment. It has an effect similar to affirmations on our mindset and our mood. Our internal dialogue can enslave us into a horrible routine. Superstitions of lots of sportsmen are live examples of that. A particular cricketer always used to put on his right pad first.
It can liberate us to live a life of gusto energy and passion. Remember after been injured by Waqar Yunus delivery, a 16 year boy said “ mai khelega” and became the Tendulkar we all know…
Friends change what goes between the 6 inches’ space between your ears. And see the magic it yields to the outside world. Everything external can only add to our existing internal beauty. Live in peace, not in pieces. You don’t have to win the world, just win in the space between your ears….keep exploring possibilities…all the best...
(This is a weekly column and every Friday, readers will get to read some of his finest motivational thoughts.)