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Garret Kramer

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Your Thinking or Your Life?

Posted: 10/23/2013 12:29 pm

One of the first things I noticed when I got involved in this line of work was how my peers -- mental performance coaches, sports psychologists, and self-help authors -- seemed to be complicating something that, in principle, was so simple.

That is, if a person was struggling, these experts would have the person analyze and then try to cope with his or her problems. When, in my opinion, this is the last thing a coach or counselor should do. Why? Because doing this requires thinking. And an excess of thinking is what makes a person feel bad and struggle in the first place. It energizes problems that don't really exist.

Me, I'm interested in one thing when I work with people: To what degree do they grasp that their feelings come from their thinking and not from their life? How I uncover the answer to this question is also quite simple. Here's a demonstration:

Person A: I'm really struggling, Garret.

Me: What's going on? How come?

Person A: My wife's driving me crazy, my contract's up at the end of the season, my left knee aches, and my coach doesn't understand how to motivate me.

Now, this person doesn't understand the direct link between one's thinking and one's feelings. He's formed an imaginary connection between his life circumstances and how he feels. And if he keeps looking in that direction, he'll feel and perform worse.

Here's the opposite example:

Person B: I'm really struggling, Garret.

Me: What's going on? How come?

Person B: My thinking is all over the place; it's getting the better of me right now.

This person understands the thought/feeling connection; that the source of his discontent comes from inside of him. Like Person A, Person B's wife, contract, knee, and coach might look like problems at that moment. Yet, he knows that when a person's head gets jammed with thought, everything looks that way. Person B won't try to cope with things that have nothing to do with how he feels. That's why, in short order, his feeling state will improve, answers will appear, and his problems will wither away.

Yes, it is that simple. In fact, if you want to know how well someone understands the workings of the human mind, just consider how they answer this elementary question:

Your thinking or your life?

And it always comes down to your thinking. The human mind is built to self-correct when fault is not placed on external events or circumstances. It might look otherwise, but you create your experience from inside to out -- 100 percent of the time.

 

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