As a life coach, I help people to take control of their ‘inner game’, and therefore take control of their life.
“It’s the game of life. Do I win or do I lose? One day they’re gonna shut the game down. I gotta have as much fun and go around the board as many times as I can before it’s my turn to leave”. Tupac Shakur
The term “the inner game” was introduced by Timothy Gallwey in his book The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance
In this book, Gallwey discusses the difference between the “inner game” and the “outer game”. Where the “outer game” includes the techniques and skills needed to be a good player, the “inner game” is about having the right mental approach while practicing and playing.
According to Gallwey, performance equals potential minus interference. A tennis player faces two types of interferences. One is the outer opponent on the court, the other is the inner opponent in your mind. More often than not, the inner opponent is the tougher of the two.
The inner game reflects the struggle each player has with his/her own mental limitations. Gallway identifies the inner opponent as that part of you that is judgmental, thinks too much, overanalyzes and tries too hard.
The core principle of success at any inner game is the ability to remain confident, focused and relaxed.
Think of the joy and success you’ll experience as you gain more control over your mental state and learn to leverage the power of your mind. What a different outcome you would achieve if you were playing the game of life at your very best all the time.
Our mind is our biggest obstacle in reaching our peak performance. When we realise that something in our mind is preventing us from reaching our full potential, we then become the inner player. We now know what to work on. Some of the most common inner obstacles we will find include:
– fear (of losing, not improving, looking bad in the eyes of others)
– lack of self-confidence
– poor concentration
– trying too hard
– a busy mind
In life, we play two games, the inner game of mental causes and an outer game of physical effects. The inner game consists of the thoughts, feelings and emotions that we have; our values, attitudes and beliefs.
The outer game is the effect of the thoughts, feelings and emotions. It’s the work we do, the actions we take and the way we present ourselves to the world.
The outer game of our results…our physical manifestation, is the game we show the world, but the inner game is the most important facet of our personal success.
When you approach your task with doubt, worries and uncertainty that is exactly what you create…doubt, worries, and uncertainty…not success. If you are to create the personal success you are looking for, you must first pay attention to your inner game…your mental strength.
The people who succeed in this life are the people who:
- Know they can
- Know they will
- And act ‘as if’
Take a look at your favorite athlete. The ones that win both games are the ones that have that unshakeable belief that they will win.
Call it confidence, call it arrogance but the athletes with the winning edge all have that attitude. They have their inner game under control and it’s manifested in their outer game, even though some may do it unconsciously.
When you approach your task…your mission, with unstoppable confidence, unshakeable beliefs and unflinching determination to succeed that is exactly what you do.
You will succeed!
You must develop align your values and beliefs with your thoughts. This will create the unstoppable confidence, unshakeable beliefs and unflinching determination that will give you the winning edge.
Success leaves clues.
A great way to tap into your natural ability is to model the people who have demonstrated excellence in your field. Look for the difference that made the difference! Find out how they do what they do so well. How do they think? What goals and values do they have? What are the beliefs they hold about themselves and others?
When you study and model excellence, while trusting your ability to learn and grow, you will get excellent results. In order to win in the game of life, you need to win the inner game first.