A mindful performer: Attitudes

I was reading the workbook by Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein, “A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook” and Jon Kabat-Zinn spoke about 8 attitudes (borrowed from Buddhist teachings, applied to mindfulness) about being more mindful in your living. Reading about them, I realised all this is completely applicable to us as performers, athletes and employees, while doing our job.


So what are these attitudes?

1- Beginner’s mind. Looking at things as new and fresh. As athletes, to learn and un-learn and re-learn a technique is difficult. When you look at practice, analyse and try to apply the new decision to your practice it gets difficult because of pre-conceived notions about you performing not-accurately due to your previous technique. That holds you back. Having a beginner’s mind will help you with this.

2-  Non-judgment. This is the attitude of not labelling any thought, feeling, experience, situation, people as good, bad, ugly, pathetic, worst or any other label. This attitude means, simply taking a note of what are the sensation, thoughts, feelings of that moment, and not react according to that.

3- Acknowledgment. Acceptance and awareness of the situation or person as they are, and acknowledging that.

4- Non-striving. Acceptance of the situation, and not running away from the person, situation by trying very hard to change it. this means just being where you are and accepting it first to start working towards the change you want.

5- Equanimity. If there is a change, unexpected situation, your attitude of dealing with thoughts and emotions with calmness and composure.

6- Letting be. This attitude means, acceptance of the present as it is, just allowing it to be how it is.

7- Self-reliance. The attitude of awareness where is you depend only on yourself for what is right, the truth, and not blame anyone.

8- Self-compassion. The attitude to love, accept yourself, without any judgements, which also helps you work towards your own development. After performing poorly in one match, self hatred is obvious. But your ability to be self-compassionate will allow you to convert the negative thoughts towards performance based, self-developing actions.

How can I build these attitudes?

All these attitudes look very difficult to practice. So, are we going to let them go? No.

As athletes, how can you be more mindful when it comes to your performance? How can you follow these 8 attitudes?

  1. Maintain a bullet journal which helps you have a check on your daily attitude journal. It does not only mean on field, while practicing. But also means how you behave with others because of your attitude. Or towards your own self.
  2. Go to your practice and match with a goal, an intention. Dont be too harsh on the outcome, help yourself be in the present to develop your performance so that it positively impacts the outcome of the match.
  3. Help yourself have a non-judgemental attitude while playing a match, while practicing and even when you are not doing well in either of the two.



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