Welcome to Insights and Implications!
Sometimes folks think that our programs advocate everyone being calm all the time. Not only is this impossible, it is (thankfully) not what we try to share in our programs. So, what are we saying? Read on to find out.
All of us at Insight Principles
Why are you telling me to be calm?
We were recently asked, “Why are you telling me to be calm to in order to improve my performance?” The questioner went on to say, “I don’t think I necessarily do my best work when I’m calm. Sometimes I’m excited or passionate. I get a lot done when I’m angry. I cleaned out the garage last week after an argument with my wife!”
First things first: we never tell people to be calm. We never suggest that you should be in any particular feeling. Our programs are descriptive not prescriptive. They simply explain how the mind actually works – that your experience is being crafted within your mind via thought. We tell you that you are feeling your thinking in every moment but we do not tell anyone how or what to feel.
Here’s what we are saying: performance can suffer if the mind is occupied with unnecessary thinking that competes for your attention. A mind occupied with unnecessary thinking comes with a feeling. Some refer to this feeling state as being “spun up” or “caught up”. The opposite of this state is often called “calm”.
Our programs do not judge whether one feeling state is better than another. Instead, we focus on the source of the emotion. The feeling of being “spun up” or calm is coming from your thinking in the moment. Waking up to what is really going on – where the feeling state is actually coming from – gives you a chance to feel differently. If you want to.
Unnecessary thinking builds in your mind and persists for two reasons: (1) you don’t recognize that you are thinking (it looks like reality), and (2) you believe your thinking is justified (someone or something else is to blame). The thinking actually needed to get the job done becomes like a whisper at a very loud rock concert – barely audible. Not surprising that your performance dips or becomes more effortful.
So, it’s not calmness you are after, it’s clarity. Fortunately, the mental clarity needed for high performance is simply the human mind working the way it is designed to work. You are thinkers and your thinking can bring you ideas, next steps, and solutions. When you understand or remember how the mind works, unnecessary thinking falls away, you eliminate mental noise, and good ideas flow.
You can clean out the garage after an argument because the burst of energy that develops during an argument can clear your head. But so can smashing your finger in a car door! This seems an awfully steep price to pay for mental clarity.
Mental clarity comes in many flavors or feelings – passion, enthusiasm, focus, presence, confidence, and calmness to name a few. You can have your favorite. Just remember where the feeling is actually coming from.
©Insight Principles, Inc.