“Knowing others is intelligence, knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.” –Lao Tzu
Take a moment to reflect on this quote from Lao Tzu. What does this quote mean to you as it relates to working on your mentality today? Last week, we introduced the idea that there is a battle inside each of us between making decisions that propel us forward or keep us stuck in habits that no longer serve us. We introduced the idea of identifying the traits and characteristics of ourselves at our best. Now that we have identified what it's like to be at our best, how can we access this mentality on command? There seems to be moments when we can’t access the characteristics that make us great. There are events that happen that throw us off and leave us frustrated and deflated. Conversations with others can instantly flip us off axis. A meeting or proposal doesn’t go the way we envisioned. A training session or practice leaves us wondering what went wrong and questioning if we are even getting better.
A question we can consider is, “Are there trends and repeated events, moments, people or thoughts that keep me from being my best?” The answer to this question brings awareness to what throws us off. Are there certain times and moments where you can identify the shift to those traits when you are not at your best? Personally, I notice that when my attention and focus are too strongly tied to results, I shift to those traits that indicate I’m not at my best. Emotions such as anxiety and stress, thoughts of pressure and feeling inadequate, and a bodily response of shallow breathing and a tight chest are dead giveaways in these moments for me. Whether it is a conversation that matters, a training session, competition, or working to close an important deal, handling these thoughts, emotions, and physiological responses is challenging.
If we can be aware of what throws us off, then we can develop and cultivate a mentality that can handle these meaningful events, thoughts, emotions, and other people.
Today’s exercise is designed to bring a greater level of awareness to what gets in the way and holds us back from more consistently bringing our ideal mentality to the table. The more aware we are, the greater wisdom and power we can have over how we think and act.
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