Originally posted by pianoloverus:
I wonder if this is related to the ideas in the book from a long time ago called The Inner Game of Tennnis(or Music)by Timothy Galway. I don't remember too much about the book except that as a tennis instructor at that time I didn't think too highly of it although it was immensely popular.
What is the Inner Game?
"There is always an inner game being played in your mind no matter what outer game you are playing. How aware you are of this game can make the difference between success and failure in the outer game." -Tim Gallwey
In every human endeavor there are two arenas of engagement: the outer and the inner. The outer game is played on an external arena to overcome external obstacles to reach an external goal. The inner game takes place within the mind of the player and is played against such obstacles as fear, self-doubt, lapses in focus, and limiting concepts or assumptions. The inner game is played to overcome the self-imposed obstacles that prevent an individual or team from accessing their full potential.
In simple terms the game can be summarized in a formula: Performance = potential-interference, P=p-i. According to this formula, performance can be enhanced either by growing "p" potential or by decreasing "i," interference.
It is impossible to achieve mastery or satisfaction in any endeavor without first developing some degree of mastery of the relatively neglected skills of the inner game. Most of us have experienced days when our self-interference was at a minimum. Whether on a sports field, at work, or in some creative effort, we have all had moments in which our actions flowed from us with a kind of effortless excellence. Athletes have called this state, "playing in the zone." Generally at these times our mind is quiet and focused. But whatever it's called, when we're there, we excel, we learn, and we enjoy ourselves. Unfortunately most of us have also experienced times when everything we do seems difficult. With minds filled with self-criticism, hesitation, and over-analysis, our actions were awkward, mis-timed, and ineffective. Obviously we all would prefer to have more of the first and less of the second.
When individuals work together in teams both their potential and their "self-interference" can combine. When the self-interferences of team members play off of one another, the interference multiplies and the effective work of such a team is greatly diminished. We have all experienced this. Likewise when the potential of team members is combined and a minimum of interference is brought to the table, the team is capable of producing results well beyond the mere sum of the potential of its members.
The Inner Game provides principles, methods, and tools to learn to get out of your own way so you can express your full potential in whatever your chosen activity. The fundamental methods for overcoming self-interference described in the Inner Game series of books are similar, no matter what outer game is being played. For example, if a person learns the art of relaxed focus of attention in one activity, that skill can be applied to any other activity. This provides great leverage for anyone attempting to maximize excellence in any field.
All outer games differ, but the inner game is always the same.
Interesting. It reminds me of something my grandmother used to say: "Do me a favor, don't make my day!" Her idea was that other people can certainly help her in certain ways with the things that she enjoys doing, but ultimately there are things that simply nobody but her can control -- things like attitude, focus, drive, etc, that are all in the mind. IOW, nobody else but her could "make her day" -- they could certainly help in various ways, but ultimately it was up to her to make her own day. Having only read a summary of the tennis book, it seems like the "inner game" is all about these very things that are completely inside the mind, that can't really be transferred from one person to another.
That's important, too, but I'm thinking in my original post more about "the outer game" -- things like how to move/position my hand, fingerings, dynamics, rhythmic pulse, etc -- things that could actually be taught from one person to another.