Tendulkar and the power of the unconscious mind

I was idly listening to the radio over the weekend and happened upon an interview with the great Sachin Tendulkar, the most prodigious talent in modern cricket. More centuries, more tests and more runs than anyone else.

He gave an insight into the role of the unconscious in achieving flow. Tendulkar was describing how he was nervous before every match as he prepared to enter the fray.

He commented he was nervous before every match and that he had tried to change, but some things you can’t change. As he progressed through his career, he got to know himself better. He realised “this is how I am, this is normal, there is no need to become overwrought.” He realised that this was how his body prepared itself for the game and he said: “I embraced it.”

Tendulkar found the more he understood himself, the more relaxed he became. His natural instincts took over: “I allowed myself to surrender to my unconscious mind… most of the time it is correct.”

He said that he still made mistakes throughout his career, from time to time the voices crowded in while he played, but he waited patiently for them to settle, so that his natural instincts could come to the fore.

In his description there is the understanding of three key aspects of what a good coach helps a client to know:

  • Learning to still the inner voices seeking to control the uncontrollable.
  • Attending to the body and the messages it is continually sending and receiving.
  • Acknowledging the power of the unconscious mind in much of what we choose to do.
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