Peak Performance - The Right Thoughts

Tue, 04/13/2010 - 2:00am — Grandmaster

The right thoughts are central to reaching self mastery. Peak performance starts with the right understanding which is always based on the right thoughts. The truth is you can’t have one without the other.

In the martial arts, we are taught to focus (shi sun) on what we want. Not on what we don’t want. We use a hand target, shield, or zone on the body to help us focus on where we want to go. In life, our goals are our target areas. In both cases, a razor sharp focus and the ability to persevere are critical to success.
In life, as in the martial arts, you get what you focus on. This is why when pursuing anything, it is best to have an expectant mind. I like to say, “In life you get what you expect and what you accept!.
I remember many years ago doing a demonstration at 2nd or 3rd Dan where I was attempting to break seven cinder blocks. Prior to the attempt, my thoughts kept going over the fear of failure. “What if I mess this up?”, I kept thinking. This was my first time trying to break seven cinder blocks and I didn’t have spacers. Fear of the unknown started to take hold. Before long, I was focused on all  the wrong things. When it came time for me to attempt my break, I remember thinking, “Oh well, what’s the worst than can happen?…the answer…”I will look foolish and possibly break my hand.” You can imagine how well my break went. The good news is did break all seven. The bad news is took me about five or six tries. I ended up breaking two or three on the first attempt. Then one or two on the second. Then it took me several attempts to break the last one or two as my hand was nearly jello by that point.  
I was reminded of a valuable lesson that day. You get in life whatever you focus on most. This secret was described very well in Napoleon Hill’s classic book, Think And Grow Rich. The secret very simply is what the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.
Belief is the catalyst that ignites realization. If you focus on something with an expectant mind, your belief triggers energy that attracts that which you want the most. With it, you gain the power to attract whatever you want as long as you stay focused on it with an expectant mind.  
I will never forget the first time I realized this. I was competing at the 1969 Junior Olympic Long Course Swimming Championships at Fort Bragg,  North Carolina. My specialty was the 200 meter individual medley. I went into the swim believing I could win my division with a record time for my age group. Of course, I had prepared six days a week for years for the attempt. Most days, I swam in the morning before school and then again after school to develop the skill set and times necessary. On the day of the meet, I was prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally and it paid off. I ended up setting a state record for my age group and then went on to set a second state record the same day in the 200 meter freestyle which wasn’t even my specialty.
The rights thoughts are the product of proper training. In this case, “Habits We Train, Are Definitely Habits we Gain!”
If you find you are having a hard time harnessing the right thought, start observing your thoughts as you observe a TV show. Be a passive observer at first. Identify what you think of most. Then start to direct your thoughts to want you want most. Use pictures in your mind to summon a more compelling vision and future. Remember, you think in pictures and speak in words. When you have the wrong thoughts, substitute them with empowering pictures. This is the law of substitution.
With time and training, you can enhance the pictures with more vivid colors. You can even enlarge the pictures and make them 3D. Before long, you will find that you are in fact part of the picture. When this occurs, you are well on your way to harnessing the power of the right thoughts.
As Buddha once said, “Like an archer with an arrow, the wise man steadies his trembling mind…a fickle and restless weapon.”
In the Spirit of Moo Do,
Tang Soo!!!