My dad texted me yesterday, all excited because Phil Mickelson, at the age of 50, just became the oldest professional golfer to win a major tournament. And he attributed his success to meditation!
“I’m working on it,” Mickelson said Friday. “I’m making more and more progress just by trying to elongate my focus. I might try to play 36, 45 holes in a day and try to focus on each shot so that when I go out and play 18, it doesn’t feel like it’s that much. I might try to elongate the time that I end up meditating. I’m trying to use my mind like a muscle and just expand it because as I’ve gotten older, it’s been more difficult for me to maintain a sharp focus, a good visualization and see the shot.”
Phil Jackson, the coach of Chicago Bulls in the 1990’s, also taught basic Zen meditation practices to his team. And they won 6 NBA Championships, two three-peats!
What can we learn from Phil Mickelson and Jackson?
They teach an important paradox. They show how one can be being fully committed and focused, connected to your inner sense of purpose and love (for the game, for your work, for others),AND totally detached from the outcomes. The added paradox is that this makes it so much more likely to “win” or get the outcomes you want.
WHY? We are our biggest obstacle; or better, our ego and its attachments to “winning” or “succeeding”, is our biggest obstacle.
WHY is the ego the obstacle? Because failure is inevitable. And when your ego gets attached to needing to win, it makes you lose focus. You start to worry, and worry is like praying for the result that you don’t actually want.
BUT with a daily centering practice you gradually learn to let go of the ego and its attachments. And you notice the subtle, tricky ways that the ego traps you into worry, fear, anxiety, and comparison.
As we repeat in 12-step recovery, the ego is “cunning, baffling, and strange.”
As you let go of the ego, you start to center into a Power-Greater-than-Yourself – God or a Higher Power.
You build up trust and confidence (literally “with faith”), you relax and you’re connected to your love for what you do, love for yourself, love for others and service. And guess what? You also then give your best.
And that is why centering meditation leads to better outcomes. Like winning a major at 50, or 6 NBA championships with two 3-peats.
It sounds so easy when we break it down, but of course it’s not easy. In the yoga and Buddhist traditions they call the ego the thousand-headed dragon. You cut off one head, and there’s always another to come back.
That’s why this is a lifelong practice. While there are moments of growth and insight, we are always beginners.
And that’s also why I offer everything I do… to share the fruits of my practice, the lessons I’ve learned (mostly from failure, by the way!), and the wisdom of my teachers.
If you want to explore how you can go deeper into a centering practice, and connect with that inner commitment, focus, purpose and love… While staying detached from the outcomes and trusting it all to God, then I’m inviting you to book your free Breakthrough Session right now.
I’ll talk with you about how you can identify and remove the obstacles that are keeping you distracted from being focused and giving your best with love and detachment. And if I can help you sharpen this skill and get the outcomes you want, then I’ll discuss that with you. And if not, that’s totally fine too.
But focusing on the small things and elongating your focus has to start with a deliberate action. Clicking to book your session is one simple action you can “focus” on right now to move you to the next step, eliminate stressful distractions, and live with loving purpose.
I look forward to talking with you soon!