I’m a big believer of working on your inner game to succeed in your outer game. Thing is this is not just one game where you win, that’s the end of it all.
As long as you live, you will face many games to battle and have fun with within yourself. How you play these games will lead to how you perform on the outside.
There are players who seemed to have got it all on the outside yet denied that they do not care about their inner game or personal development.
If they are telling the truth, their outer world successes will not last very long and they will one day realise this, hopefully early enough for a better change.
So what is this inner game and why is it so magical?
Why your results in your sport depend on your “inner game”
To me, the inner game is an internal struggle between you and you. Much like the angel and devil battle, the inner game is a world of war amongst your thoughts that go through your mind.
If you are able to control this inner game, you are able to see clearly in your mind where you are heading for (that’s your direction) and what it would be like when you arrive at your destination. Next you are also able to feel (emotions) how it’s like to be there when you finally arrive. The sensation is so strong as if you were already there. All your senses are activated even with the thought of your eventual goal. While the journey hasn’t even started, you can imagine yourself in the situation you’ve always been dreaming of.
As Bob Proctor says, “If you can see it in your mind, you can hold it in your hand.”
In other words, your inner game is the foundation of putting together your required skills, talents, motivation, confidence, positivity, mindset, emotions, strengths, discipline, focus, commitment and composure to set yourself towards your goals.
It’s like you are going on a long arduous hike from Africa to Russia and you need preparation and resources to at least survive and last the whole trip. It doesn’t matter how you look before you start, it doesn’t matter what you have when you start. If you are not clear of why you are going for this hike, the thought of going this distance may lead you to give up or get you nervous. If you are not clear of your intentions and motivation, how are you going to bring yourself to face or fight uphill challenges along the way?
To keep this in context, let me give you an example. I was speaking with a Singapore national athlete recently, and she gave me an account of the mental struggles she always have during trainings and competitions. Like any athlete, she acknowledges that she needs to work on her confidence. And like any athlete, winning is her priority, and winning doesn’t mean the colour of the medal, but the exact goal she set for herself, which I will come to that shortly.
This athlete is competing in canoeing sprint, meaning the timing is the most important thing for her when you talk about results. But why is his timing important to her? She knows she can reach that timing and get better every time. So why is she so committed to getting her timing better every time? In order to perform her best in major competitions, she needs to always be better than her personal best all the time. Then why must she perform her best in major competitions? She wants to inspire the younger athletes in her country and to keep this sport growing in her country.
You see what I just did here? As mentioned earlier that winning is not about the colour of the medal. Yes I’m sure many athletes dream of standing on the podium with a gold medal around their necks, even better if they won the Olympics, but what does standing on the podium mean? Point is, you don’t win the gold medal in reality to be motivated to do what you love to do. It’s not about the outer glory or colours, it’s about what you see in your mind, which will lead to you putting the required elements to arrive at your desired destination.
Put colours in your mental pictures as vivid and realistic as possible, go through the process in your head first. It’s always faster to do this than to go through the real thing and regretting later on. In fact, you are already doing the real thing by running it through your mind. Think of all possibilities, respond to them in your mind. Just by doing this you are cultivating your inner world to face the outer world. Only when you have done this, then you are ready to take on your journey with confidence and purpose.
Do you think you’ve got your inner game figured out? What have you done to do that? Share with us here.