I’m almost 100% certain this post’s content isn’t going to be about what my subject line made you think it is.
Let’s check back later and see if I’m right…
Down to last four holes at the 2001 Masters (which Tiger Woods would go on to win, completing the slam of holding all four major titles at once), some tool snapped a camera shudder at the top of his backswing.
Amazingly, Tiger pulled up mid swing.
But that wasn’t the best part.
After shooting the guy a 2-second death stare, he took a couple of breaths, then stepped up and crushed it 300+ yards straight down the middle.
What do you want to bet most mere mortals would have taken the bait, and let the whole thing upend their concentration?
In this instance, and many others, Tiger was able to use what Stephen Covey calls “the pause button”.
Most of us are very Pavlovian in our responses (Pavlov was famous for training dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell by associating that sound with chow time).
We’re conditioned to react to things in our environment.
Phone rings, we pick it up.
Stephen Covey’s pause button is about using the ‘space’ between stimulus and response to proactively choose our responses rather than merely reacting to things.
In our story today, the phone was ringing, but Tiger wasn’t home.
(He was too busy becoming a legend.)
What’s so useful about this particular skill?
Instead of being at the mercy of whatever direction the wind blows, or whipped around on a stormy sea of emotions, you can learn to be poised, clear-headed, and yes happy a high percentage of the time.
What could be better?
This is something I aspire to.
In fact, I deliberately train non-reactivity.
One of the ways you can do this is by means of physical challenges.
Basking in cold water is an example. The way I see it, if you can allow cold water to rain on your bare skin for up to two minutes while staying relaxed and controlling your breathing (I’ve even started singing when I do this) then you’ve seeded the feeling on non-reactivity into your nervous system.
Give it a whirl.
At the end of your morning shower, turn the water temp as cold as possible. Stay relaxed. Try 30 seconds at first and work your way up.
(This has other health benefits, btw. Improves circulation, reduces inflammation, boosts immunity and promotes hormonal health.)
Ok, one last thing before I go.
The #1 way to foster non-reactivity is by eating well, working out, and cleaning up your sleeping patterns.
If only I had a nickel for every time a client has commented on how all the little things that used to bother them now roll off their back.
(Ok so it wouldn’t be that much…but I’d have enough for an espresso…)
Get your state under control here:
That does it for today.
All about that sweet, sweet ability to own your own emotional state.
What kind of story did you think this was gonna be?