Nervousness and Pressure are All in the Mind

High Performance West elite and 15:57 5,000m runner, Kristen Rohde. 

High Performance West elite and 15:57 5,000m runner, Kristen Rohde. 

Pressure is what you feel when you do not know what you're doing. 

Nervousness is when you desire a specific outcome, but are unsure of your control to see it so. 

Both are creations of the mind. Neither exist in the external world, only within.

The first passage of the Taoist text the Tao Te Ching warns of the dangers of naming things, creating labels and categories. Far too often we mistake the label for the thing it describes, understanding only the label but not the truth of the actual thing itself. 

It is said block of wood has the potential to become anything. The Chinese call this potential Pu

But as soon as we begin to define the uncarved wood by sawing away various pieces from it, we destroy all the other possibilities of what it could become.

Taoist also speak of tzu-jan, or 'that which is naturally so', meaning the condition that something will be in if it is permitted to exist and develop naturally and without interference or conflict.

Nervousness and pressure are all in the mind. And they create a conflicted environment. When it comes to race day, these forces mute the creative energies of far too many athletes.

Best to banish both nervousness and pressure from taking up residence and instead create a tranquil space for an enlightenment performance to materialize. 

In many ways, this is what Kenny Moore was hinting at when he wrote the classic distance running book, Best Efforts

Funny how both a Duck and Taoist separated by a continent and a few millennia both understood that we don't rise to an occasion, but sink to the level of our clarity of thought.


Thanks for reading. I'm glad you're here. // jm 

Jonathan Marcus