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Made You Think

Dec 12, 2017

The best of them know that their peak performance never comes when they’re thinking about it.

In this episode of Made You Think, Neil and Nat cover The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey. Before you say “I don’t play tennis,” it’s not really about tennis. It teaches you how to better learn and teach by getting your conscious mind out of the driver seat, and letting your true ability present itself. If you enjoyed either The Way of Zen or Finite and Infinite Games, you’ll like this book as it describes many similar ideas.

We cover a wide range of topics, including:   

  • Improving your sense of calm during stressful situations.
  • The nature of the subconscious and conscious minds.
  • Getting into the flow-state and letting the subconscious express itself.
  • How to better trust the subconscious mind.
  • Why you should take time off to play more often.
  • Learning things easier by observation and imitation.
  • Why you should sometimes let things happen, rather than make them happen.

And much more. Please enjoy, and be sure to grab a copy of The Inner Game of Tennis and to check out Nat’s Notes on the book!

If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to listen to our episode on The Way of Zen by Alan Watts, to learn about Zen Buddhism and improving your life with it, and our episode on Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse, to learn how to push past your own self-limiting beliefs and to rethink everything.

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0:00 - Introductory quote, a bit of background on the book, and some discussion on the flow state. “Trying to get into flow is paradoxical.”

3:44 - Some similar books to this one, examples of this book in popular culture, and a bit on the paradoxical nature of trying things that should happen more naturally.

8:38 - A common complaint found in most sports and how this applies to many different areas of life. Also, the issue of how our actions often do not match up with our thoughts. “It’s not that I don’t know what to do, it’s that I don’t do what I know.”

10:45 - (Tangent #1) - Thoughts on consciousness and being in control. The conscious mind, instinct, and the subconscious. “The mind is a three-part system and like a chariot. You’ve got two horses pulling the chariot which are desire and passion. The driver is reason.”

15:45 - Some more discussion on the mental dialogue that goes on and the correlation between “out of your mind”, “being in the zone”, and being in the flow-state. Also, a bit on agitating other players to get them out of the flow-state.

19:42 - Using high-intensity interval training and trying to calm down as fast as possible afterward, to transfer that into calming down much faster in stressful situations.

22:15 - The discovery of the two-selves (self-one: the conscious mind and self-two: the instinctual mind) and the differences between them. Also, a bit on trusting the instinctual mind more and a bit on the struggle between the two selves.

24:53 - Actions performed by the subconscious versus the conscious, and some discussion on the nature of learning various things.

26:55 - A bit more on trusting the subconscious mind, some positive examples of the subconscious mind, and an example of how consciously trying to do things can sacrifice natural fluidity.

30:33 - How to quiet your conscious mind so that you can get more into the subconscious state of being. Letting your subconscious express itself more. Also, a bit on the benefits of taking time to play and naturally explore things that you’re interested in. “Man is a thinking reed but his great works are done when he is not calculating and thinking.”

36:24 - More on taking time out of your day to play, and why television is not a good idea for play. Also, a bit on video games in general, games taking you out of the conscious and bringing you into the subconscious, and some of Nat and Neil’s experiences with gaming.

41:08 - A bit more of letting go of the conscious and letting go of judgments, as well. Trusting the subconscious and letting things happen, rather than making them happen.

43:08 - Discussion on learning by imitation and some thoughts on the importance of observing someone do something, since they may not be able to teach you everything through description. Also, a bit on why apprenticeships are so effective.

48:50 - The five levels of expertise and why you need different methods of learning at different levels.

51:05 - Changing your habits and changing your perspective from wanting to have control of everything to a more relaxed perspective where you trust the subconscious. Also, a bit on how things seem weird when you consciously focus on them, and how complex reading and communication seems.

55:34 - Thoughts on repeating things over and over before they become innate knowledge. Some discussion on simple processes emerging into something greater and the problem with programming these processes or innate knowledge.

1:00:36 - Trusting the subconscious and the difficulty with that. Some thoughts on what may help you trust the subconscious and get into the flow-state.

1:04:12 - Avoiding all ads and the negative impact of advertising on your subconscious mind. A bit on Tylenol and ibuprofen, hangovers, and the placebo effect.

1:09:17 - The recent backlash against wisdom teeth surgery, how only a third of people getting the surgery actually need it, and the negative health consequences. Also, how teeth back in the primitive times were perfect with no issues and how modern-day grain-based diets have negatively impacted our teeth and jaw formations.

1:12:50 - Discussion on allowing yourself to focus and some tips for getting out of the conscious and into the subconscious. A few examples of common transfers of conscious to the subconscious here, as well.

1:16:56 - The next section on the meaning of competition and some discussion on finding the balance between easy and difficult challenges, to maintain focus without getting bored or frustrated. A bit more on games, the competitive aspect of them, and antagonizing others for an advantage.

1:21:38 - The last section on taking the inner game off of the court. Responding appropriately to situations and maintaining an inner-balance. “The people who will best survive the current generation are those who can keep their heads while all are about to lose theirs.”

1:24:02 - Wrap-up, some closing thoughts, and some information on the bonuses included with a newsletter subscription.

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