What follows is an excerpt from Chapter 4 (“Staying in the Game”) of The Path of No Resistance. The book is due out on October 14th. As always, any questions or comments, reach out.
In chapter 3, I said that Syd Banks once claimed that wisdom is everywhere. Here’s one of my favorite words of wisdom. Writer, actor, and director Woody Allen once said, “Showing up is 80 percent of life.” Indeed, if we let grass grow under our feet, there’s a chance that opportunity might pass us by. But when we choose to show up for work, a class, or a training session, we put ourselves in a position for consciousness and success to collide.
After I coined the word “stillpower” and wrote a book about it, I found that many people assumed I was promoting the act of remaining still, rather than the power of a still mind-set, in order to find excellence. I remember one client asking me, “Are you saying that it’s best to sit on the sidelines and wait for things to clear when I’m in a low state of mind?” Not for a second.
Let’s say you’re a boxer, and you’re in the midst of training for a championship fight. Your daily schedule includes some serious training because if you don’t train seriously, chances are you’ll suffer some physical harm—let alone lose the fight. Yet one morning you wake up with perplexing thoughts: “Should I go to the gym or not?” As confusion reigns, you assume (because of the confusion) that you’re better off staying home, even though you still feel uncertain and, perhaps, guilty too.
But what if you misread your own feelings? In this book, I’ve shown how often that takes place. Truth is: When you really need a day off, that notion won’t be one bit confusing. That morning you’ll be so tired that you’ll sleep straight through your blaring alarm clock. You won’t have to think about what you should or should not do.
A feeling of uncertainty, therefore, is a sign that you ought to show up; you need to get out of bed and into the gym; you must stay in the game. Your thinking—not your training—is getting in your way at that moment. No matter the situation, you’re better off carrying on in the midst of chaotic thoughts, since, when they occur, you’re temporarily unequipped to deviate or think outside the box.
Don’t forget: Your feelings are there to guide you. When it’s time to change things up, the feeling will be direct, immediate, and resolute (i.e., no thought). When it’s time to stay in the game, the feeling will be scattered, confused, and ambivalent (i.e., too much thought).
Here’s a different illustration. Most business people, athletes, or doctors with whom I work have fast-paced jobs. They, too, sometimes get confused about when to sit back and when to go for it. A surgeon might say, “I see what you mean, my feelings are a barometer of my thoughts and mind-set. But I work in an operating room. If I feel rattled, I can’t just stop and wait for clarity to show up.”
Precisely. Surgeons who understand that they feel their thinking, and not what happens in the operating room, have no reason to stop and wait for clarity. They don’t get bogged down by the self-created perceptions that come from a temporarily cluttered mind-set. They keep engaged, deflecting any external distractions. They remain resilient; they become clear.
I understand. This paradigm is different—particularly for those of you who believe that something is actually wrong when you don’t feel quite right. However, a lack of clarity is never a call to intentionally pull back and sit on your hands or chill. A lack of clarity is the normal byproduct of the fact that you think; there is nothing broken. And that’s all you need to know to allow your psychological immune system to return you to balance.
As I told you at the beginning of The Path of No Resistance: Don’t fret if it doesn’t make perfect sense right now. Just stay in the game with me; let’s explore a little deeper.
You never know, your muddled perceptions might clear up before we finish this chapter.