Gold Medal Mind

Yesterday I listened to Episode 88 on The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes and Sports Psychologist and Author Jim Afremow, entitled “How to think, train and thrive like a champion”. This interview focused on the Champion’s mind and how athletes, entrepreneurs and everyday individuals can tap into the Champion’s mind and achieve that level of greatness. In the interview, I also discovered easy solutions for overcoming inner resistance and performance anxiety. In the interview, Jim spoke in detail about mental imagery/visualisation/actualisation, meditation and breathing. When he works with athletes, he gets them to visualise themselves doing the sport and achieving the desired outcome. It’s important to see yourself performing the act, feel yourself doing the act and do that as often as possible. Jim mentioned Mikaela Shiffrin when she won the olympic gold medal in skiing this year at the Sochi Olympics. She said at the Sochi press conference, “I’ve been here before in my head for sure, to everybody, this is my first Olympics. But to me it’s my thousandth”. This concept can be applied to entrepreneurs and everyday individuals when achieving goals. It’s good to also picture yourself dealing with all kinds of adversity and overcoming it, so that when it really happens, you’re more confident and you’re able to hand the situation.

Jim also conducted a breathing exercise with Lewis where he inhaled for a count of 5, held that breath for a count of 2 and exhaled for a count of 8. Jim mentioned that one thing he noticed with athletes is that they don’t exhale properly and I’ve actually heard this from a friend of mine in the US military who does a lot of deep sea diving. It’s important to exhale as much of that carbon dioxide out of your body. The key when feeling stressed or pressured is to take a deep breath then exhale a little longer. Jim also quoted a Chinese proverb which I quite love,  “If you know the art of breathing, you have the strength, courage and wisdom of ten tigers”. This podcast is definitely worth a listen and Jim’s book “The Champion’s Mind: How great athletes Think, Train and Thrive” will definitely be a read for me one day.

Some of Jim Afremow inspirational quotes from the podcast include “New levels bring new devils”, “The body wins when the mind refuses to give in”, “The key to dealing with injuries is to make rehab your new sport until you get your game back” and “No one is positive all the time. The key is to be vitally engaged in life””. Also remember, Champions do not leave the mental game to chance and circumstance.

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