MESSAGE #1660 LIVE IN THE MOMENT FOR PEAK PERFORMANCE

In the present moment

 

Today’s message is especially dedicated to my newborn daughter, Ava Marie Tseng, a five day old peak performer.

Many coaches, parents, managers, and teachers preach being in the present moment to perform at a high level, but not everybody knows what that means, or how to get there.

Well, this past Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 11:45am, my daughter, Ava Marie Tseng was born into this world. Babies do not enter the world dwelling on the past or being anxious about the future, do they?

Of course not.

Babies live in the moment. They are present.

They don’t get frustrated, they get fascinated.

They don’t get irritated, they get intrigued.

They live in curiosity, wonder, love, and amazement.

Can you remember a time when you had a great performance? Were you in your head, or performing out of your mind?

Great performers have less thought and stay in the present.

Poor performers have more thought and focus on the past or the future.

Recently, I conducted a 2-day business training and some common challenges for staff were thinking about past dissatisfied behavior by customers, or anticipating dissatisfied behavior by customers, instead of providing great service in the present moment.

Once they realized that their feeling of stress was coming from their own stressful thinking, not from the dissatisfied customer, the game changed. They were able to come back to the present moment.

I have learned so much from my daughter already and it has only been five days. I know in my own life, I am at my best when I am engaged, focused, and having fun. This is a by-product of being in the present moment.

How do you make yourself be present?

Do you think babies consciously make themselves present?

No, that is their natural state. It’s OUR natural state.

When we don’t take our thoughts and feelings so seriously, we gravitate towards the present moment and that is when we have confidence, motivation, focus, and we do our best.

All my best,

Ed Tseng

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MESSAGE #1658 GYM THOUGHTS

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Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Julia Santos.

I was working out at the gym the other day and had two thoughts, so I wrote them down in Evernote as soon as I got back to the car.

Thought #1: Stretching at the end of your workout brings oxygen to your muscles and that helps them grow. This is good. However, if you are giving a presentation, competing in a big game, or taking a test and you have insecure thoughts (or any thoughts for that matter) pop up in your head and you make a big deal out of them, they grow and can affect your performance. This is not good. Think of a great performance you have had. Did you have a lot of thinking, or very little thinking? I already know the answer: very little thinking. So it doesn’t make sense to think into your thinking, does it? Thoughts will come into your head, you can’t control that. But you can control whether you give them attention and make them grow…or not.

Thought #2: People say that you are the product of your environment. I disagree. I believe that you are a product of your thinking. Parents say that you shouldn’t hang around the wrong people because you will become one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should hang around with the wrong people, but does everyone that hangs around the “wrong people” become like them? Of course not. Just like nobody’s rude comment can make you feel upset. Only upsetting thoughts can make you feel upset. We live in a world where most people think that something outside of them can affect how they feel, e.g., the weather, referees, parents, the economy, etc. This is simply not true and the more you realize this, the more you are in control and will be able to perform more consistently at a high level. Thought is the source of behavior, not environment.

It’s funny, so often at the gym I have thoughts of “I can’t run any longer” or “I can’t do any more reps,” but I don’t pay attention to those thoughts and pretty soon I have a different thought like “I’ve got this” and I end up running longer and doing more reps. Thoughts are random, they are illusions, and they are made up by you. If you take them seriously, it would be as if you composed and sent a nasty email to yourself, and then opened it and got upset. You don’t see that happening in real life, but it happens all the time on the field, at the office, and in the classroom. People believe their thinking and then they feel their thinking. Our experience is created from the inside-out, whether it’s true or not.

Well, I’ll be heading to yoga tomorrow…I’ll let you know if I have any insights.

Thanks for reading.

MESSAGE #1657 EVEN SINATRA GOT NERVOUS!

Today’s message is especially dedicated to my lovely wife, Sarah. Tomorrow, March 26th will be our 2-year wedding anniversary. We are big fans of Frank Sinatra and often listen to his music while driving in the car.

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Frank Sinatra, (aka Ol’ Blue Eyes, The Chairman of the Board and The Voice) was an American singer and actor. Many have called him The World’s Greatest Performer.

Prior to becoming a legend, Francis Albert Sinatra only attended 47 days of high school without graduating. He began singing professionally as a teenager despite learning music by ear and never learning how to read music.

The rest is history. Or as he said, the best was yet to come.

I’m a big fan of Sinatra’s music, but an even bigger fan of his mental game.

When Sinatra was a living legend in his 70s, a reporter once asked him, “Do you ever get nervous when you are on stage?”

Sinatra responded, “Every time my name is announced, the little voice inside my head says, ‘Do I still have it? Do I still have it?'”

Yes, Frank Sinatra got nervous. All the time.

So if the world’s greatest performer got nervous, it’s okay if you get nervous. In fact, it’s normal.

The difference between you and Sinatra is that he didn’t take the little voice inside his head seriously. He didn’t make a big deal of his thoughts and then he proceeded to go out and knock everyone’s socks off.

When people take their thoughts seriously, they start feeling their thoughts, i.e., if they believe their nervous thoughts (whether they are true or not), they will FEEL nervous and their performance will suffer.

You don’t have to have the voice of a Frank Sinatra, or even be a singer for that matter, but you can have the same attitude as he did.

MESSAGE #1656 HAPPY PI DAY!

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Well, it’s Pi Day again (3.14), March 14 here in Princeton, New Jersey. It is also the great Albert Einstein’s 134th birthday, a former Princetonian. All over town there are math contests, pi eating contests, tours and Einstein look-alikes.

I know what you’re thinking…what does this have to do with me?

EVERYTHING.

Most people would call Albert Einstein a genius.

Not Albert.

Here’s how he saw himself…

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

When things go wrong, do you get frustrated or fascinated? Do you get irritated or intrigued?

Small children are curious. Everything is full of wonder and excitement to them. And they tend to stay in the present moment.

My friend, Garret Kramer once told me on the phone, “A lot of people say, ‘Live today as if it were your last.’ I say, live today as if it were your FIRST.”

I really like that.

If you live today as if it were your first, you would see and experience things with fresh eyes. You are more in the moment, have more satisfaction, and perform at a higher level. Your mind is clear and you have access to your wisdom, instincts and intuition.

Many people live in the past, and look for the answers in the past. You won’t find them there.

Here’s another Einstein quote…

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

ST = SR (Same Thinking = Same Results)

NT = NR (New Thinking = New Results)

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to change your thinking…as a matter of fact, you couldn’t if you tried. New thinking happens on its own when your mind is clear.

When your thinking changes, your experience changes…this is the nature of life. When you truly realize this, you will operate more with a clear mind, and that is when you will experience more peak performances.

Happy Pi Day everyone!

MESSAGE #1655 DO YOU THINK ABOUT WALKING?

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I recently read a promo by a mental performance coach…he said, “Do you think about walking or talking?…No. the mental game is the same way” (I agree).

He then went on to say that he has the best “routines and techniques” to keep your mind clear during competition…

Interesting. Then how come we don’t need “routines and techniques” while walking and talking?

Think about the last time you had a peak performance. Were you using routines and techniques, or were you “just” playing?

I already know the answer.

In my opinion, when we perform at our best, we are “just” doing it and in the moment. So why then, when we are not playing well would we use “routines and techniques” to take us out of the moment?

One of my favorite things to do is to interview gold medalists, world champions, national champions, professional athletes, and performers on their best performances. They never say they “thought” themselves to victory. They always say they were “just” doing it and as a result, they had little thought, performed with freedom and ease…and kicked butt.

Can you remember the last time you “thought” about walking? If you can, you probably stumbled…

Ed Tseng
Mental Performance Coach
Pro of the Year USTA/NJD 2005
Best-Selling Author and Keynote Speaker

For a free 10-minute consultation on peak performance in athletics, academics, business and life, email ed@edtseng.com or call 609.558.1077.

MESSAGE #1654 “IT’S SOOO COLD OUTSIDE!”

Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Ashley Fisher.

Well, it is currently 11 degrees (but feels like 3 degrees) fahrenheit here in Princeton, New Jersey. Everywhere I go, I hear people complaining about how cold it is outside. It seems to be making many people feel angry, annoyed, and depressed.

Guess what?

It is impossible for the weather to affect how you feel.

Disagree?

Then how do you account for some people hating cold weather and others loving it?

What’s the difference in why they feel one way or the other?

It’s in their thoughts. Feelings are created by thought and thought alone. In other words, nothing outside of you has the ability to affect you.

People who hate the cold have thoughts like, “I really don’t like getting in my car when it’s cold” or “I hate having to scrape off my car.” Then they feel annoyed.

People who love the cold have thoughts like, “This is great skiing weather!” or “This is a perfect hot chocolate day!” Then they feel excited.

When we have a thought, we automatically have a corresponding feeling. 100% of the time. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…whether you know it’s happening or not.

I know what you’re thinking…”Ed, how do I change my thoughts?!?”

Answer: You can’t.

Your thoughts will change naturally if you don’t make a big deal out of them. For example, if you looked at the weather report and it said it would be 11 degrees today, you might have a thought like, “Gosh, that’s cold, it’s going to be miserable out there today.” If you take that thought seriously, your mood will begin to go down. On the other hand, if you just let that thought pass, a new thought will probably replace it like “Big deal, I’ll just bundle up…I can’t wait to get some fresh, crisp air in my lungs.”

Thoughts come and go and feelings come and go. When we don’t put much value on the content of our thinking, we naturally reset to a place (space) of happiness, clarity, wisdom, and peak performance.

It’s like when you hold a cork under water…if you just let go of the cork, it will float up to the surface all by itself. Your state of mind is the same way.

The only thing holding the cork back is your hand.

The only thing holding your state of mind back is your thinking.

Final thought: You know how people say don’t believe everything you hear? It’s also true that you shouldn’t believe everything you THINK.

Thanks for reading.

Ed Tseng
Peak Performance Coach
Author, Speaker
Pro of the Year USTA/NJD 2005
ed@edtseng.com
609.558.1077

For a free 10-minute consultation, email: ed@edtseng.com

MESSAGE #1653 ICING THE KICKER

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Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Stan Ho in Austin, Texas.

This morning, I was watching ESPN and to my surprise and enjoyment, they had a segment on “icing the kicker” in football. This strategy is used by teams to try to get in the head of the kicker right before they go for an important field goal. Oftentimes they do miss and there are even statistics that show it. During the segment, they were discussing what to do when you are iced, e.g. not thinking about your technique, keeping your mind focused, singing a song in your head, etc.

Well, here’s the rub…

It is impossible for the “icing the kicker” strategy to work on a kicker.

Why?

Because nothing outside of you can affect you…only your THINKING can do that.

“It’s not what’s happening to you. It’s not what’s happening around you. What really matters is what’s happening INSIDE you.”

The ACT of “icing the kicker” in and of itself is neutral. If it truly had the power to affect a kicker’s performance, it would work every time, but it doesn’t.

Take a close look at these two scenarios:

Scenario #1
A player is ready to kick and the other team calls a time out. The kicker thinks, “Ugh, how annoying. Now I have to wait. This is a really important kick, I have to make it. Don’t think about missing. Just stay positive. Sing a song to yourself. You are great.” As the kicker is waiting, he begins to think more and more and before he knows it, his mind is filled with thoughts arriving at light speed. He begins to feel tight and his confidence disappears.

The result: A missed kick

Scenario #2
A player is ready to kick and the other team calls a time out. The kicker thinks, “Ugh, how annoying.” But this player does not take the thought seriously and just lets it pass. He just waits and does whatever he feels like doing. Other thoughts pop up in his head but they just come and go. Because of this, his mind stays clear and he naturally stays loose, confident and focused.

The result: A successful kick

If you look at the two scenarios, the strategy by the other team is the same, but the reaction is different. There is nothing wrong with thinking “Ugh, how annoying” if you just dismiss it. On the other hand, if you stay with that thought or think it is true, you will feed it and begin a downward spiral. You will start to FEEL annoyed and then more thinking will occur and further cloud your mind and tighten your body.

Everyone has negative thoughts, including the greatest athletes in the world. The difference is these peak performers don’t make a big deal of their thoughts. Everyone else thinks they need to “do something” about those thoughts.

Remember this: you can’t control what thoughts come into your head, but it is always your choice whether you reinforce them or just let them pass.

You may not have the physical ability of a pro athlete, but you can have the same mindset as one. The truth is, you already do.

For a free 15-minute mental game consultation, email: ed@edtseng.com

MESSAGE #1652 HANGING WITH A GOLD MEDALIST…

Earlier today I spent some time with Heather O’Reilly, US Women’s Soccer player and gold medalist. We chatted about the mental game in soccer and I was impressed at how strong O’Reilly’s mental game was.

I asked O’Reilly if she ever had negative thoughts pop up in her head when competing. Her response?

“Of course!”

Everyone has negative thoughts sometimes, but the greatest athletes in the world have a different relationship to their thinking.

When Heather has a negative thought, she doesn’t make a big deal out of it. In fact, it just passes on by and she focuses on the next play.

This is powerful because when we ignore a negative thought, it disappears pretty quickly and our mind naturally clears so we have access to our intuition, wisdom, confidence, energy and peak performance. In other words, we don’t have to believe a negative thought.

If you can remember a time when you were in the “zone,” you probably had very little thinking and the thinking you did have just came and went. On the other hand, when you were in a slump, your head was probably flooded with thoughts like…

“I stink today!”

“What’s wrong with me?!?”

“Why do I keep missing that shot?”

“What will people think if I lose?”

Those thoughts have no power unless we believe them. If we believe them, we allow them to grow and they get bigger and stronger and before we know it, they take over our bodies and minds and we get stuck.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Now, you don’t have to have the experience or soccer skills of a Heather O’Reilly, but you can almost instantly have the mindset of Heather by understanding that negative thoughts are part of the game and it is always our choice whether we feed them, or let them come and go.

I’d love to hear your thoughts so feel free to leave your comments below. Thanks for reading.

For a free 10-minute mental game consultation, email: ed@edtseng.com.

MESSAGE #1651 THE THINKER

Today would have been artist, Auguste Rodin’s 172nd birthday. In 1902, Rodin created one of his most famous statues, “The Thinker” (above). In fact, if you look on Google’s homepage today, you can see a sketch of Rodin’s sculpture.

I know what you’re thinking, “What does that have to do with peak performance?”

My answer? Everything.

One of my influences, the late Sydney Banks once said, “The most important thing to remember is it’s not what you think – it’s the fact THAT you think.”

It took me a while to understand exactly what this quote meant, but I think I finally got it.

To me, Banks was saying, it doesn’t matter what our thoughts are because thoughts are neutral. It’s our thoughts about our thoughts that make them positive or negative. (Didn’t Shakespeare say something similar?). When we don’t concern ourselves with the content of our thoughts, they don’t last long. Therefore, we needn’t worry about negative thoughts because all thoughts are fleeting. (Can you remember the last five thoughts you had? I know I can’t).

“It’s the fact THAT you think” is a very powerful statement. I believe the power of thought is the most important thing in the whole world. Thought can create extreme confidence and thought can create complete doubt. Thought creates feelings and thought creates behavior. Don’t believe me? Can you recall the last time you had doubtful thoughts? What was your energy level? Most likely low. What did your body language look like? Most likely poor. You were simply feeling your thinking in that moment.

When you know that you are the “thinker,” you are the artist of your own life, and not affected by circumstances, situations, other people, or who got elected President. You can paint any picture you want and that picture will be your reality (in that moment).

In short…

Thought creates our world…not the other way around.

We are the thinker, and we feel our thinking.

Happy Birthday, Auguste Rodin.