What the “Mental Game” Requires

Here’s what the mental game doesn’t require: A.  Personal responsibility B.  Effort C.  Searching D.  Memorize E.  Practice F.  Repetition G.  Strategy H.  Mindfulness I.   Coping

Here’s what the mental game does require:

A.  Nothing

Fact is, the only way to reinforce the plethora of so-called psychological issues that give rise to the need for mental coaching or counseling in the first place is to foucus on A through I above.

In other words, doing anything for the purpose of finding peace of mind is the surest route to obstructing it. Why? Because the human experience is meant to flow from insecurity/unrest to confidence/tranquility and round again. Trying to fix what can’t be broken—one’s psychological functioning—is an impossible and debilitating quest.

This past weekend, for example, a player who had fallen under the spell of the above misunderstanding visited my New Jersey office. He’d employed several sports psychologists during his career and read scores of books on the subject. Thus, he was convinced that he needed to spend as much time on the mental side of the game as the physical side; he was sure that the more learned mental tools he had at his disposal, the better. Plus, even though he felt more and more insecure as he tried and tried to perfect his mental game, he was certain that this was just part of the resilience-building process, so he kept trying, to the point of exhaustion.

Goodness gracious.

My role, on the contrary, was simply to remind him that he was fighting, or working against, the normal flow of the human experience. And as a result, he was not only holding the feeling of insecurity in place, he was stonewalling insight and the inner wisdom (answers/growth) it naturally brings. I explained that all feelings are normal. That all experience is transient. That resilience is innate. Most important, I reminded him that his propensity to love, serve, care, excel, and remain utterly whole is unwavering.

Remember: Insecurity/unrest perpetuates itself by trying to get rid of itself. Insight, however, is effortless. That’s the reason the mental game requires nothing or no doing whatsoever. But you knew that already, I promise.

Inward and up, Garret