Strategies for Building Unshakable Self-Mastery
Developing the mindset that you bring to the uncertainty of life Part 1: Emotional regulation: calming the body and stilling the mind
The great advantage of focusing on developing the mindset that you bring the uncertainty of life is it has such a positive flow-on effect on so many different aspects of life, whether that be business, entrepreneurship, sporting performance, relationships, health, finances and many other aspects of improving our circumstances in life. Focusing on our mindset is the number one place to commence as we go through the process of mapping out our journey of self improvement, ultimately with the aim of achieving a state of being I am calling Self-Mastery. Some call this flow state, others call it peak performance, for me all things flow from a state of a new found ability to call upon our own customised and internalised state of self-mastery on demand. This is what is meant by the term 'auto-response’ training… training ourselves to respond from a place of self-mastery rather than a place of fight/flight, inherent in all of us via millions of years of evolutionary biology.
In particular, this article will help you to understand and work with your own mind; to start to understand what it means to build a partnership between your conscious and unconscious minds. Together we'll go on a journey through the systematic process of learning how to regulate negative emotions no matter what aspect of life they apply to, and develop the essential skill of emotional regulation and mindfulness in order to utilise your internal resources most effectively to get you to the next level in your endeavours.
How have you gone about building and training your mind for whatever it is that you want to excel at in life? Full of bravado and confidence, most people only give lip service to the need to build their psychology so that they can direct their methodology from a self-mastery state of mind. Whether it be in sport, business, corporate and career advancement, leadership, health, relationships, finances; your methodology only fills part of the equation. The real edge that we bring to any aspect in life is our personal psychology, Too often I hear “just park your emotions at the door” or “ignore your emotions”, yet for most people the thought of parking their emotions at the door becomes very hollow advice, as you can't simply park your emotions at the door. That is not very useful advice. What we all need to understand is that we are not rational beings who experience emotions, we are emotional beings who rationalise those emotions. That is a first principle of emotional regulation and until that is accepted most people stay stuck believing that the answer to discipline and Peak Performance lies in their methodology rather than in addressing the self limiting beliefs they bring to the arena of pursuit that's particular to them.
So what do we understand about the difference between methodology and psychology or mindfulness? Most people have committed a lot of time and effort to learning the mechanics of their particular pursuit. Their methodology is most likely proven, and let's be clear here, there is a lot of advice and knowledge around different methodologies, all of which work to some extent or the other, but what most people have done is they have neglected to develop the core of their approach that actually engages the risk of uncertainty with their methodology. That friends, is their mind, and until we come to acknowledge that it is they themselves who keep blowing up the opportunities that their pursuit can deliver, they stay stuck in purgatory.
This is the point at which a real student of life realises that their psychology, their beliefs and thinking that lured them into a particular pursuit, is not the same psychology that will bring him or her the success with their methodology that they know is possible. The edge they are seeking is in the psychology of self that they bring to their methodology, this is the opening to an empowering new possibility.
Before you are able to work with the self limiting beliefs that sabotage your potential, we first need to understand how to manage emotional reactivity. Until we can regulate our out-of-control fight/flight fear and impulse response, getting into a position to work with the mind is not possible. Consequently breathing and self soothing skills are vital so you can interrupt emotions before they sweep your rational or conscious mind away. We need to condition ourselves with thought stopping techniques so as they become an automatic response to increased arousal and agitation. Literally we need to train our brain to trigger automatically to a state of calm as we begin experiencing stress, pressure and challenge.
Why is breathing so important? Why is breath regulation so important? To take the next step towards Self Mastery, breath control is vital for emotional state management. Each emotion has a particular breathing signature associated with it and by using this knowledge you can train yourself to be able to intelligently use breathing to interrupt the spiralling of fear. Fear requires a short fast style of breathing to maintain itself and you will be able to train yourself to use diaphragmatic breathing to interrupt this part of the arousal of fear. Until fear is managed, accessing the mind and changing it to a more productive position is not possible. Breathing is the base skill to begin this process of transformation of yourself along the pathway of Self Mastery.
Then we need to move forward to understanding how to generate a sense of psychological safety so that our mind calms down. It is at this point that the mind itself can be worked with and then we will have the skills to manage the explosion of emotions that have probably dominated your approach to the challenge of uncertainty, stress and change. We can then respond to those clutch moments in life with an empowered mind. We will go deeper into this in next months article.
Ash Playsted is seasoned Entrepreneur and Mindset tactician who relentlessly pursues his “higher calling”. He has launched and exited several businesses, and undergone continuous learning for more than 25 years. He is well known in inner circles as the “Secret Weapon”. His philosophy can be summed up as Self Mastery is Everything Mastery.