It is Superbowl LII at the weekend and Tom Brady, the greatest NFL quarterback of all time will be playing for his New England Patriots against the Philadelphia Eagles.
In Part One of this post we discussed Tom Brady’s Mental Toughness with the help of Patriot fan and mindfulness writer, Malinda.
Here in Part Two we take the inspiration of Tom Brady and Malinda’s mental toughness definition:
the mindful focus of a glass lake and the believing spirit of the fire burning beneath the lake
and extend its use and purpose in our everyday lives.
Malinda explains that we can do that in three ways:
- Noticing the activity of our minds
- Quieting our minds
- Believing in ourselves
Notice Mental Chatter
Have you listened to your mind lately? It may sound like a ridiculous question. Really stop for a moment though and notice all the chatter going on. Some of it will be loud and clear like someone speaking to you in a direct conversation. A lot of it won’t be so loud though… maybe more like undercurrents of emotions and conditioned responses.
Let’s pretend you’re Tom Brady, and number 97 just sacked you two plays ago, you see him coming and you instinctively get nervous and look to run away. That’s the mind running you. Brady wouldn’t allow this to happen. He would see the situation for what it is… “97 coming my way, White is open, throw ball”. That’s the focused mind seeing the situation.
Starting to be aware of your mind’s tendencies and how it’s coloring your reality is the first huge step to disciplining your mind. Key things to listen for are negative self-talk, passing judgement, and expecting outcomes. Just start noticing. It’s helps to keep a journal and you can see trends as well.
Quiet Our Minds
Next, we need to quiet our minds. You can do that by starting a meditation practice. Just starting with five minutes a day will bring you huge benefits. Meditation isn’t about clearing the mind; it’s about quieting the mind. It’s training it so you notice when it’s going off course, and then you bring it back to quietness.
Meditation is the act of returning again and again to a quiet mind — the glass lake.
Here’s a quick first meditation practice for you:
- Set a timer for five minutes. Set it to a pleasant soft tone so you aren’t shocked when it goes off.
- Sit comfortably. It doesn’t have to be crossed-legged if that’s not comfortable for you. You can be seated in a chair. Just don’t lie down, as you may fall asleep!
- Take three deep breaths — inhale and exhale fully.
- Let the breath settle into a natural rhythm. Think “in” on the inhale, and “out” on the exhale.
- If any other thoughts come into the mind, notice it as a “thought” and come back to “in” and “out”.
- If you feel emotion, notice the emotion, but don’t analyze it. Just let it be, and come back to “in” and “out”.
- Your alarm will sound. Take a deep breath — inhale and exhale fully.
Congrats! You just meditated. If you like, you can say a prayer or an intention for your day, or say a simple “thank you”.
A great book for starting to mediate is Meditation for Beginners, by Jack Kornfield.
Believing In Ourselves
Those two steps will help you create the glass lake, or the one-pointed mind. Next up, is that believing spirit. What is is that you believe for yourself? It may come from your moral foundation, spirituality, or goals. It’s a matter of holding on to what you believe in for dear life and not letting go. You may be ready for it or you may find that you need to prepare more to get there. That’s ok. Whatever it is, believe you can do it, and little by little, you’ll start to get there. Time for a big dose of determination. Think Tom Brady got discouraged when he was a sixth round draft pick? Nope.
So no matter if you’re a Patriots fan or not, I hope we can all learn a thing or two about their amazing performance. And for me, being New England born and raised, I’m extra psyched these days to wear my Brady jersey! Go Pats!
Read Part One of Tom Brady’s Mental Toughness Masterclass and the full article by Malinda on Thrive Global
For more on mindful focus and mental toughness contact us.