In his book "The Inner Game of Tennis", Timothy Gallwey focuses on the game that's in the mind of each player. According to Gallwey, performance equals potential minus interference.
A tennis player faces two types of interferences. One is the outer opponent on the court, the other is the inner opponent in his or her mind. More often than not, the inner opponent is the tougher of the two. The inner game reflects the struggle each player has with his/her own mental limitations. Gallway identifies the inner opponent as that part of you that is judgmental, thinks too much, overanalyzes and tries too hard.
The first step in overcoming the limitations of your inner opponent is to become more aware, and focus on what you are actually doing, instead of what you should be doing. Second, and perhaps more importantly, is to let go and trust your natural ability to learn.
We all have been given the capacity to learn. In fact, most children learn to walk before they can be told how to do so by their parents. Children gain confidence from the natural learning process happening within them.
In our relationships, business and health, we all vow to do better. We all have an innate desire to grow and excel in the things we do. But as we grow older, the thinking (and trying) sometimes gets in the way of our innate ability to learn and grow!
Growing up, I remember watching a great tennis match on television with my two brothers. After watching the game we would go outside and replay the match. We modeled great tennis players,like Borg, Connors and McEnroe, from the way they hit the ball to the sights and sounds of their game. These were perhaps the best and most fun games we ever played.
A great way to tap into your natural ability is to model the people who have demonstrated excellence in your field. Look for the difference that made the difference! Find out how they do what they do so well. How do they think? What goals and values do they have? What are the beliefs they hold about themselves and others?
When you study and model excellence, while trusting your ability to learn and grow, you will get excellent results. In order to win in the game of life, you need to win the inner game first.