There I was, on stage at the PGA show last week with several other mental-performance coaches and authors, and one of them (a well-known psychologist) tells the audience that my contention that the human experience is created from inside to out is preposterous. Not only that, he claims that “the research” undoubtedly proves that circumstances and experiences do have the power to affect the feelings, states of mind, and lives of human beings.
Talk about a dilemma: Just as he made the statement above, a terribly insecure and frustrated feeling washed over me (frankly, I wanted to smack the guy). Hmm, was my feeling connected to circumstance (his statement), as he suggested? The data seemed to indicate that it was. Maybe he was right, after all.
Not so fast. I kept my bearings, and before you know it, I felt composed, assured, and relaxed. In spite of his attack, and the initial appearance that my upset resulted from it, I now experienced a deep inner peace. Rather than counterpunch, I waited for the microphone to come back around, and when it did, I shared what had effortlessly popped into my head: “An experience can’t create your state of mind because an experience is a projection of your state of mind.” And as I looked upon the audience, I sensed a collective aha moment set in.
Remember: Because it’s normal for it to look like circumstances or experiences cause our feelings, if measured, this outside-in trick of the mind actually appears provable (to me, the world of psychology has innocently made this mistake for years). But two things happening at the same time doesn’t prove causation. That’s why, when it comes to the human experience, knowing that it can only be generated from within, allows us to rise above bad feelings, not smack back, and, instead, point toward truth and connect with others from the heart.
P.S. Here’s one of several similar notes I’ve received from the audience since the PGA show. It reveals the power of this article’s message. GK
Good morning Garret,
I must say, first off, I appreciate you taking the time to speak at the open forum last night, sharing the universal truth of the inside-out paradigm with the coaching community. Facing much condemnation for what you shared, I thought you expressed and handled yourself quite well—something that someone who didn’t understand that his feelings are not caused by the actions of others would not have been able to do. In fact, it was so interesting that each speaker on the panel presented a few examples of what you were saying, and of the mind’s psychological immune system, without putting 2 + 2 together. They, unfortunately, attributed a fresh perspective or good feeling to a change of environment or mental strategy. I am currently in debate in my sports psychology class over external strategies such as positive affirmations, imagery, and so forth. But like you say, others will not realize what is actually working until they look within themselves. Seeing both the danger in falling for the outside-in illusion and that human beings can only work inside-out has completely transformed my life. From my golf game to my relationships, to my work ethic and helping me get past a few terrible addictions. I thank you for all the work you continue to do and look forward to seeing more future insights you may provide. And more insights from within myself as well!