The Mind and The Body

“Your body helps you learn, understand, and make sense of the world.  It can influence and even change your mind – whether or not you are aware of its influence.”  How The Body Knows Its Mind, Sian Beilock

The line that separates the body and the brain should really just go away in western civilization.  Some will still jump on the band wagon of being born an intellectual or an athlete but the truth is that all of us will be better intellectuals if we act more like athletes.  I am convinced also that “confidence in one’s ability” is also locked inside this understanding.

I work with clients all the time that lack in confidence.  Generally that lack of confidence can be traced back to movement in some way.  To figure this out let’s go look at the process of learning for a second.

Learning, from a bare bones perspective, can be broken down into:

Initial Encoding – It is in for the short term

Retrieval – Ok, I did it without help

Reflection – That “felt like” or that “reminds me of”

Spacing – Time spent doing something else

Test – Can I use it?

Retrieval – Ok, I did it easier now

Reflection – That is “starting to feel normal”

Spacing – Time spent doing something else

Test – Is is getting better?

Consolidation – The Knowledge is Turning into Knowhow

Now let’s take a golf grip for example.  It is a mainstay in golf and requires the same amount of athletic ability that changing a trash bag requires.  Let’s put you in front of the “ghost” of Bobby Jones.  That’s right Bobby is back for a brief few seconds just to show you how to put your hands on the club.  Bobby asks you to show him your grip, he takes your hands, puts them on a different way and looks up to you saying, “Don’t forget that!”  Then poof…..he is gone.

Bobby has done the initial encoding.  It won’t last forever, but Bobby has done his job.  It is now your turn.  Of course, with the present situation in mind you are very determined to remember this grip.  So, without taking your hands off the club you run over to friend and ask them to take a quick picture with their cell phone.  This way you will have the image to reflect on.  After the picture is safely stored you take your hands off the club.  Almost immediately you replace your hands on the club and make sure the grip at least looks and feels the same to your untrained eye.  You have just retrieved the grip for the first time on your own.

With the picture, a club, and desire you set off to build the grip that Mr. Bobby Jones has shown you.  Over the next couple of weeks spend time retrieving the grip.  You do this at home, in the office and where ever else you find the chance.  When you are not gripping the club you are reflecting  by looking at the picture your friend took, looking up Bobby’s swing on you tube and while you are there you are also starting to look at pictures of many of the other great’s in golf.  Of course life does get in the way.  You are still working, being a Husband and a Dad, and this time away (spacing) always give you the chance to forget the grip.  When you get the chance, you put your hands on the club just the way Bobby told you and hit a ball (testing), at first it feels a bit strange and the ball goes sailing off in a different direction than intended.  You remind yourself that is was Bobby Jones after all that gave you this grip so you stick with it.

The weeks go by and you stick to the same routine.  Over and over you place your hands on the club.  Over and over you look back at the picture.  Over and over you practice this grip and when you get the chance you get out and hit balls.  After nearly 3 months the grip seems second nature and the dispersion of your golf ball has tighten.  In fact the grip is so natural now that you can’t believe you ever gripped it any other way (consolidation).  Then it happens, Jones re-appears.  “Let me see that grip,” he says.

Now how would you feel?  Confident.  There would be very few doubts that you didn’t accomplish what Bobby asked you do to.  Now think back about that process.  There was movement intertwined throughout the entire process!  Learning requires movement.  Learning requires a process.  Learning requires your brain.  Learning requires your mind.  Get all these lined up with world class help and you may end up being world class yourself.

Oh yeh……and I bet you are confident too.


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