We could all use a little Zen in our life. I recently read The Champion's Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive. The author dedicated a whole chapter to 22 Zen stories and how they can relate to sports and life in general. I thought they were great stories and would like to share them with you. The following is an excerpt.
Zen is being fully awake without illusion in the present moment. The term Zen derives from the Sanskrit word dhyana, which means meditation or contemplation. Zen approaches to gaining wisdom can be quite effective because they are stimulating to the imagination. Zen stories provide a powerful way to bypass an overly analytical mind and instead move important information straight to the subconscious. These stories can help mobilize one’s internal resources and bring them to bear on solving problems and making positive changes. In this chapter, 22 classic Zen teaching stories and Taoist tales are presented to further deepen and expand your champion’s mindset.
There was once a monk who would carry a mirror wherever he went. A priest noticed this one day and thought to himself, “This monk must be so preoccupied with the way he looks that he has to carry that mirror all the time.
He should not worry about the way he looks on the outside. It’s what’s inside that counts.” So the priest went up to the monk and asked, “Why do you always carry that mirror?” thinking for sure this would prove his guilt. The monk pulled the mirror from his bag and pointed it at the priest. Then he said, “I use it in times of trouble. I look into it and it shows me the source of my problems as well as the solution to my problems.”
Sports lesson: Take personal responsibility for all areas of your preparation and performance. You are responsible for maintaining a great attitude, expending your best effort during practice and in competition, and showing strong character off the field. Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are accountable for who we become.
Regrettably, many athletes blow up at referees or competitors instead of just focusing on their own performance. To perform at a champion’s level, never blame others, but focus instead on what you can do better.
Self-Reflection: Do you take 100 percent responsibility for my successes AND failures? If not, why? And how can you start taking responsibility?
Afremow, Jim. The Champion's Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive (Kindle Locations 2184-2185). Rodale Books. Kindle Edition.
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