Monday, July 30, 2012
My favorite quote, so far, from John Douillard's terrific book, "Mind, Body and Sport", comes from former tennis great Billie Jean King. The passage was prefaced by another quote from the epic poem Mahabharata in which the great archer Arjuna reveals the secret of victory as establishing yourself first and then executing. To which Billie Jean responds, "it is a perfect combination of violent action taking place in an atmosphere of total tranquility." That combination being first a composed and calm mind and body necessary to create hurricane force (violent chaos).
Picture 1000 watts of power on the bike. Hitting a baseball twirling toward you at 100mph, feeling your way proprioceptively over a jagged mountain trail, catching a spiral in tight coverage, nailing that three-iron pin high. All demand inner calm and outward power. Many people have one. A precious few are able to harness the absolute power of both. It is why we practice. It is why we drill. It is why we repeat, recover, repeat. We practice with acute awareness the adaptation taking place as we try to synergize these polar extremes, mind-body, in-out, soft-hard, slow-fast, silent-loud, yin-yang.
On those rare occasions when we are in sync, amazing things happen. Personal bests are set, records fall, dreams are realized. Some call it The Flow. Some call it The Zone.
However you wish to label, it is a skill. A talent that can be learned and refined. We know the components: Show up. Commit. Focus. Work. Breathe. Rest & Recover. Repeat.
The rest are all details. Get good at listening to your body. Make the commitment to improvement. Do what it takes. Eat good. Sleep well. Repeat.