Writing in his book “The Mindful Athlete” George Mumford speaks about Bliss State. Others refer to it as the Zone, that place where we find flow. Flow is absolutely at the center of all great achievements, in and out of sports. Maybe we should make a T-shirt that says, “No Flow, No Go” or better yet, “Flow = Go”.
Mumford writes, “Many of us equate bliss with not concentrating at all. But pure concentration actually cultivates the bliss state, as paradoxical as that might sound. When we focus on “that narrow stimulus field” – or whatever it is that we are doing in the total fullness of the present moment – we actually summon flow. This underscores the importance of how and what we focus on.”
On our team – North Bay Aquatics – we have several words that are “banned” from our vocabulary – coaches and swimmers alike. One of those words is “try”.
The great Star Wars character Yoda says, “Do or do not, there is no try”.
The problem with “trying” is that it is so temporary and so non-committal.
Coach – “See you at work out tomorrow” – Swimmer – “OK, I’ll try and be there.”
Coach – “See you tomorrow at workout” – Swimmer – “OK, you can count on me.”
Coach – “Put your head down 2 inches, your body position will improve so you can swim faster” – Swimmer – “Ok, I’ll try and do that”
Coach - “Put your head down 2 inches, your body position will improve so you can swim faster” – Swimmer – “Ok, I’ll do that”.
Coach – “Try and see if you can kick more on the 3rd 50 in your 200.”
Coach – “Kick more on the 3rd 50 of your 200. Your tempo will stay faster if you kick.”
Remember Yoda – “Do or do not, there is no try”.
Said another way – “Succeed or fail, no worries; try gives you nothing but worries”.
Trying implies a non-commitment to the goal of success. We all fail more than we succeed so what are we all worrying about anyway?
Alfred E. Neuman said it best, “What? Me worry?”