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Stillpower, Competition, and Olympic Excellence

Stillpower, Competition, and Olympic Excellence


    (Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Garret Kramer, author of Stillpower: Excellence with Ease in Sports and Life. Garret is the founder and managing partner of Inner Sports, LLC. His revolutionary approach to performance has transformed the careers of professionals athletes and coaches, Olympians, and collegiate players across a multitude of sports. Kramer’s work has been featured on WFAN, ESPN, Fox, and CTV, as well as in Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other national publications. For more information on the author visit http://www.garretkramer.com, and you can follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.)

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    I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of an American runner named Billy Mills. Mills was the surprise winner of the gold medal in the 10k at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics. And guess what? When he speaks to groups about his victory and keys to success, Mills admits that (among his many thoughts during the gold-medal race) he actually thought about quitting every single lap. That’s twenty-five laps of negative thoughts during a race where he was at his best.

    Impossible, many motivational or positive-thinking experts might say. Well, not if, like Mills, you understand stillpower.

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    Now, Mills didn’t call it stillpower back then, but clearly he knew better than to attempt to will himself through his low thinking. To Mills, his negative thoughts didn’t present a problem. He realized, however, that if he tried to fix these thoughts, he would be doomed to defeat.

    So, how can you use stillpower as an asset in any competition?

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    First, understand that there is no connection between the quality of your thinking and the competition at hand. Sure, you will be prone to think about the event as it draws closer, yet whether your thoughts are negative or positive is 100 percent random. In fact, you will be prone to having both types of thinking about the very same competition.

    Second, never try to control the thoughts that pop into your head. As Mills experienced, the human mind is like a roller coaster. The quality of your thinking is always in flux. If you try to force “good” thoughts in and “bad” thoughts out, you are working against your own innate functioning (preventing the roller coaster from ascending on its own). Instead, the key is to understand that wayward thoughts are normal and temporary. If you try to manage these thoughts — applying willpower — you will fortify them. If you leave them alone — applying stillpower — your level of consciousness will climb by itself.

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    The bottom line is that many performance experts believe that you must be in “the zone” to prevail; that you must think positive thoughts to find your best effort. The experience of Billy Mills shows this is not so.

    All you really need is stillpower. Left alone, all thoughts prove to be powerless. You are free no matter when or where a negative, or even positive, thought invades your brain.

    (Photo credit: On Your Mark via Shutterstock)

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      Last Updated on June 19, 2019

      How to Practice Positive Meditation in 2 Simple Steps

      How to Practice Positive Meditation in 2 Simple Steps

      Just by simply spending some effort and time, staying positive every day can be easily achieved. All that is required is a fraction of your time, 10-15 minutes a day to cultivate the positive you!

      But first, what is really positive thinking? Do you have to be in an upbeat, cheerful and enthusiastic mood all day to be positive minded?

      No. Positive thinking simply means the absence of negative thoughts and emotions – in other words, inner peace!

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      When you are truly at peace within yourself, you are naturally thinking positively. You don’t have to fight off negative thoughts, or search desperately for more positive thoughts. It just happens on its own. And here are 2 positive thinking meditation tips to empower you:

      1. Relax as You Meditate

      A powerful, simple yet rarely used technique is meditation. Meditation doesn’t have to take the form of static body posture. It can be as simple as sitting in a comfortable chair listening to soothing music. Or performing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises.

      Meditation is all about letting go of stressful or worrisome thoughts. That’s it! If you spend just a few minutes per day feeling relaxed and peaceful, you automatically shift your mind into a more positive place. When you FEEL more relaxed, you naturally THINK more positively!

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      Start with a short period of time, like 5 or 10 minutes a day. You can meditate first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, right before you go to bed at night, or any time. The most important thing is to consciously let go of unproductive thoughts and feelings. Just let them go for those few minutes, and you may decide not to pick them back up again at all!

      2. Practice Daily Affirmations

      Positive affirmations can be used throughout the day anywhere and at anytime you need them, the more you use them the easier positive thoughts will take over negative ones and you will see benefits happening in your life.

      What are affirmations? Affirmations are statements that are used in a positive present tense language. For example, “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better, better and better” is a popular affirmation used by the late Norman Vincent Peale.

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      So how does one go about using positive affirmations in everyday life? Let’s look at some guidelines to follow when reciting your daily affirmations.

      1. Use first person pronouns in your message (I)
      2. Use present tense (I have)
      3. Use positive messages (I am happy)
      4. Repeat your affirmations on a consistent basis

      Affirmations have to be said with conviction and consistency. Start your day by saying your affirmations out loud. It wouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to repeat your affirmations; yet when done consistently, these positive affirmations will seep into the subconscious mind to cultivate the new positive you.

      Here’s an example of a “success affirmation” you can use on a daily basis:

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      I am successful in everything I do. Every venture I get into returns wealth to me. I am constantly productive. I always perform to the full potential I have and have respect for my abilities.
      My work is always given positive recognition. I augment my income constantly. I always have adequate money for everything I require. I spend my money prudently always. My work is always rewarded.

      You can find more examples here: 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life

      Remember, affirmations work on the basis of conviction and consistency. Do yourself a favor and make a commitment to see this through.

      Begin practicing these positive thinking tips right now. And I wish you continued empowerment and growth on your positive thinking journey.

      More About Positive Thinking

      Featured photo credit: Jacob Townsend via unsplash.com

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