Achieving Your Best…At Anything!

I am proud to announce that I had the pleasure of reading the book of former Blue Jay Shawn Green two weeks ago. In fact, it was so good, that I also need to confess that I read it all within an afternoon/evening. I legitimately could not put it down. It’s called The Way of Baseball: Finding Stillness at 95 mph and it chronicles his time in the major leagues, and the secret to accomplishing the many amazing feats from his career. In case you don’t remember, Shawn Green was an absolute monster in the late ’90s and early 2000’s. Don’t believe me? Google him and check out his stats. Better yet, pick up his book and read all about ’em.

Why it was so powerful…

This book definitely transcends baseball, and can apply to anything you do in life. Shawn talks about how he overcame some conflict (for you this can be internal or external) by immersing himself in meditation. There were two really important aspects to take away from his meditation. First, his meditation involved hitting a baseball. This means you can literally meditate doing anything that makes you happy. For many this might involve working out. I’m not trying to press it or anything, i’m just sayin’. Secondly, he had a small history with eastern philosophies, but it didn’t seem to make a huge difference with the actual performance. So if you haven’t studied any, then don’t sweat it. The key is that it is flexible to your conflict, your favourite activities, and your experience level.

What is the key?

The key to achieving success through this practice is the concept of flow. Flow is about being in a state of total engagement in a task. If you’ve ever done something where you’ve ‘lost track of time’ then you have definitely been in a state of flow. In fact, flow is also characterized by low levels of stress, improved focus and attention to detail, and improved mood. For many athletes, training and playing their sport of choice will usually put them in flow, and that helps to perpetuate success. For others it can be writing, reading, or any number of hobbies. Since flow is such a powerful tool for building positive self-efficacy, it’s no wonder that meditating/entering flow through swing practice helped Shawn become one of the best hitters in the majors over a 6 or 7 year span.

What is the takeaway?

As a strength and conditioning professional, I find that the mental aspect of success in sport or life in general are extremely understated. For some people. this casual meditation and flow may come naturally and help lead to magnificent accomplishments. For others, it takes a little bit of focus to practice these same concepts but with appropriate attention to detail. Also, working out can definitely be a meditation-like behaviour for many people trying to get away from something else in their life. Not only that, but if you are trying to get bigger, stronger, faster, or leaner, then losing yourself into the moment of training can be just as important as the exercises you do.

Do me a favour and read the book. Once you’ve finished, sit down and think about the things in your life that put you in flow!

FLOW

It’s About Getting Better!

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2 Responses to “Achieving Your Best…At Anything!”

  1. I’m no legend – like Jimmy Smith or Christian Thibeaudeau – but here was my take on the book:
    http://secondarylead.blogspot.com/2011/07/finding-your-self-for-fame-and-profit.html

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