Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence. but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act but a habit”. Aristotle.

I have been working through my book looking at how we take control of our thoughts. How I have learnt to have a positive internal voice that supports me in whatever I want to do.  Understanding how the mind works has been an important aspect of that. 

The human brain is phenomenal but do we fully understand it and do we use it to its full potential? For simplicity I am going to break it down into three parts.  The Conscious, the sub-conscious and where it connects to the physical part of you.

 The brain is at least 1,000 times faster than the fastest computer in the world.

The brain contains as many neurons as there are stars in the milky way – 100 billion.

Number of synapses in the cerebral cortex – 60 trillion.

A sand grain piece of brain contains 100,000 neurons and a billion synapses.

The brain continually rewires itself throughout life.

The conscious mind is a slow processing machine in comparison to the sub-conscious, it can only hold 7-9 pieces of separate information before something has to be re-moved.  We are only aware of 2000 bits of information from the 400 billion bits of information we receive from looking at the outside world.  The conscious mind is constantly generalising, deleting, distorting information based on the patterns, protocols and strategies THAT WE create in our minds. The conscious mind is that piece of your brain that is deciding whether what you have just read is true, it is analysing the information and deciding what to do with it.  If it is something that is important it is filed as important and the sub-conscious now takes note and creates a point of reference for further consideration.   The subconscious is the most wonderful machine in the world and is our database.  It does the following.

  • Runs the BODY – has the blue print for perfect health
  • It is active day and night it does not rest.
  • Stores memories (Temporal-in relation to time/A temporal – not in relation to time)
  • Makes associations (links similar things and ideas) and learns quickly
  • Organises all your memories
  • Represses memories with unresolved negative emotion
  • Presents repressed memories for resolution
  • Needs REPITITION until a habit is formed
  • Is programmed to seek more and more
  • Functions best as a whole unit
  • Is symbolic
  • Takes things personally
  • Works on the path of least resistance
  • Does not process NEGATIVES

 The subconscious is remarkable and will support you in everything you undertake but it does not do right or wrong or good or bad, it does not debate things, it does exactly what you tell it to do.  It will also store the information exactly as you have told it to store it.  For example, when you practice something, if you practice it in the wrong way or incorrectly it will be stored in the sub-conscious that way, that is why quality practice is so important. The sub-conscious is also your link to the physical part of the body. You can’t pass information from the conscious mind straight to the physical part of the body.  It has to go through the sub-conscious.

That is why when you are learning a new skill you may find it slow or difficult to do at first.  This is because the conscious mind thinks about it and then passes the thought to the sub-conscious, which starts to build a file and then passes it to the physical part of your body which carries out the action.  This is still done quickly but once the file is created and becomes substantial through practice it means you can do things at incredible speeds. 

The importance you place on the information you decide to file will also decide on where and how it is stored. Habitual information will for example produce a significant file.  An example would be the ability to drive.  You can sometimes travel great distances, carryout hundreds of physical movements, think of many things, talk on the phone, listen to the radio, talk to a passengers and do all of this safely.  You can then arrive at a destination and not realise how you got there (this would be my definition of the body in total harmony).

 Mind, body and heart working together, you have accessed you driving file as you sit in the car or turn on the ignition and then away you go (You may however still be a bad driver as the information in your driving file may not be perfect or you have practiced incorrectly but you can see how quickly you are able to react and process information at great speed).  Now remember what it was like to drive for the first time and take in all of that information.

 The key thing to remember is that we are in charge of all our internal thoughts.  Everything in the subconscious has been created by us. We maybe at the behest of uncontrollable events around us but how we react to these events is down to us.  Make sure then that your habitual thoughts are there to support you in what you want to do or become.

There are of course genetic elements contained within the sub-conscious which are there to protect us but we are also in control of these once we understand ourselves a little more………………More to follow

A wonderful week of activity, firstly, I went to Loughborough to work with some very talented cricketers. They had just come together for the first time although some of the group had worked together before and I knew around half of them from other projects we had done together. The first session was simply about getting them to understand how teams need to work together to produce the best effect.  I also pointed out what they needed to do in order to find out more about one anothers strengths.  I have high hopes for this group of players and believe they could produce an outstanding team.

 I then met with a very talented individual who has been in charge of running a number of Olympic Games, very interesting to get his view on good leadership and where things have sometimes not gone as well with multinational organisations comming together to deliver an event.  The information will certainly help with things I am doing in the future.

 Wednesday was spent at Celtic Manor working with one of the golfers on the European tour.  We are working through a number of points and trying to get him back to winning ways.  We are now going back to basics and getting the support systems around him to step up in their performance as well as getting him to also look at certain aspects of his game and life to find another 10% in performance.  I am also bringing in some of my other friends who are elite performers in their own fields such as nutrition, strength and conditioning etc to assist in this.

 Thursday was a day of rest and working through a couple of projects as well as work on my book which was great. Friday I met with S, a great friend from India who runs a cricket school and is one of life’s wonderful people.  We discussed future business options and he is my representative in India for the foreseeable future. 

 Saturday I go to watch the Wales v SA game at the millennium stadium.  Have a wonderful week ahead.

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