The Inner Game Of Tennis is about Tennis, but it’s also about the mentality we take while we go through life. The Ah-Ha Moments in this book really make you think. Almost so much, that while writing, I’ve had to stop multiple times to reread sections and recollect my thoughts. The points Gallway makes in this book are monumental. The psychology of thought process, awareness and thinking is so fascinating. Once you’ve read this book, I think you’ll have a greater appreciation for self development.
Gallway labels our internal voices. Self 1 is the teller and Self 2 is the doer. Self 1 might say, ‘you’re a dumby, you’ll never be good’, and self 2 would say, ‘common man, you got this, just hit the ball harder’. Does that make sense? We often beat ourselves down and then Self 2 takes over and builds ourselves back up. The most common BS people tell themselves is that they’ll never be good at anything.
“If you tell yourself often enough that you are a poor server, a kind of hypnotic process takes place. It’s as if Self 2 is being given a role to play – the role of bad server – and it plays it to the hilt, suppressing for the time being its true capabilities. Once the judgmental mind establishes a self-identity based on its negative judgments, the role-playing continues to hide the true potential of Self 2 until the hypnotic spell is broken. In short, you start to become what you think.”1
That’s a long quote, but I needed it in there so you could understand where Gallway is coming from. We all use cop-outs. “I’m not smart enough, I’m too old, I can’t do that, I can’t remember that…” You’re only hurting yourself AND that’s before you’ve even tried to do whatever you’re setting yourself up for failure. Why would you do that to yourself?
The minute you begin to doubt yourself before you’ve even taken action is the minute you’ve lost. A lot of this spawns from the fact that we’re always judging ourselves. We’re always trying to judge ourselves positively or negatively. We never want negative things… so we avoid them all together. If I think I can’t do something, then I better not do it because I don’t want to scold myself for failing. Do you see how you can destroy yourself with that mindset?
“It is important to remember that not all remarks are judgmental. Acknowledgment of one’s own or another’s strengths, efforts, accomplishments, etc., can facilitate natural learning, where as judgement interfere.”2
Sometimes it’s hard to look in the mirror and recognize your faults or weaknesses. Recognize them and then get rid of those thoughts. The reinforcements you can give yourself from acknowledging your strengths will build you up and make you so much stronger. Ultimately, you’re putting more trust into Self 2… the doer. Stop always listing to Self 1 because that person can be destructive.
Think about yourself or someone you know that is ‘self destructive’ in their thought process. We all know someone like this… honestly, we probably know a lot of people like this. Become self aware… Stop reading and close your eyes for 30 seconds and reflect on these sentences. Good! These negative patterns of thinking can really take a toll on people.
“I have found that when players break their habitual patterns, they can greatly extend the limits of their own style and explore subdued aspects of their personality.”3
Gallway used tennis to paint these images and relate sports to thought processes. If you can change your pattern while playing a sport, you can change your thought process. It’s rather simple, but it takes work and self awareness. If you’re not good at a spot, what do you do? Good! Practice. If you tell yourself that you’re not good at something, what do you do? Right! Stop telling yourself that. This isn’t rocket science. Become self aware of your destructive mindset and really help move you forward. We’re all guilty of it.
Get in the habit of not doing it. Talk positive about yourself. There’s a bunch of cheesy saying out there, ‘if you can believe it, you can achieve it’. It’s true. All of these things require you to change something. Change, itself, is scary.
“…they are changed by people who had the courage to experiment outside the boundaries of the existing doctrine and trust in their own learning process. The second reason is to suggest that the prescribed way of making a change itself needs to change.”
I’ve played sports my entire life so it’s very easy to relate this book to my life. If I got coached on how to do something different, I did it. Often time, it would give me the outcome I was looking to accomplish. Changing my stance, or hand placement in football is very difficult. Telling myself that I could do it made it that much easier. Start listening to Self 2 so that you can over come your mind!
There’s for from me to come about; The Inner Game Of Tennis