Book: The Inner Game of Tennis
Author: Timothy Gallwey
Key takeaways: This book is probably most lucid to people who actually play tennis, so as a non-player, I am certain I am missing certain useful takeaways. But below, I have a jotted a few. Some are more useful to remember when I box and some when I invest, and I have categorized them accordingly.
Takeaways applicable to Boxing:
Do not be so absorbed in the process of judgement and wanting to change a “bad stroke”, that you don’t actually perceive the “bad stroke” itself. Gallwey says in the example when he met a guy who, after trying for months and months, perceived that he was keeping his racket too high, only when he saw his reflection in the mirror. Per Galley, the man, instead of just wanting to change it, saw the backhand as it was–truly experienced it–without thinking or analyzing, and by increasing awareness.
Gallwey introduced the concept of Self I and Self II, where Self I is the ego-mind, always “thinking”, looking for approval and wanting to avoid disapproval, causing interference with the natural capabilities of Self II.
The best way of quiet the mind is not by telling it to shut up, or by arguing with it, or criticizing it for criticizing you. Fighting the mind does not work. What works best is learning to focus it.
Takeaways applicable to Investing:
In a society that has become so oriented with language as a way of representing truth, it is very possible to lose touch with your ability to feel and with it, the ability to “remember” the shot itself. When the verbal instruction is passed onto someone who doesn’t have it in his/her bank of experience the action being described, it lives in the mind totally disconnected from experience.
It is hard to focus on something for a long period of time. The best way to do this is not thinking that you already all about it. Not assuming you know already is a powerful principle of focus. Focus is not achieved by staring at something. Natural focus occurs when the mind is interested–when this happens, the mind is drawn irresistibly towards the object of interest.