“The problem is not the problem. The problem is the incredible amount of overthinking you’re doing with the problem. Let it go and be free.”
One of my favorite movies is The Last Samurai.
In it, Civil War Captain Nathan Algren, played by Tom Cruise, finds himself as a war prisoner of the last of the mighty Samurai leaders, Katsumoto.
Held captive for several months, Algren is assimilated into the customs, traditions and martial arts training of the warrior clan, all the while also facing and eventually overcoming his own personal demons.
During one poignant scene, Algren finds himself is a sparring match with an experienced Samurai swordsman. Time and again, he is sent sprawling to the ground and each time his anger and frustrations grows.
Finally, his new friend and Katsumoto's son, Nobutada approaches him and speaks these words of wisdom.
Nobutada: "This for you; too many mind."
Algren: (puzzled) "Too many mind?"
Nobutada: "Hai. You use too many mind. Mind on the sword, mind on the people watch, mind on the enemy - too many mind." (seriously)
Nobutada: "No mind."
Algren: (pretending to get it) "No mind"
Algren goes back to the practice battle and brings himself to a point of center and "no mindedness".
From this point, he fights valiantly until he is finally overcome by his opponent's superior skill. But the lesson is learned, now that he has overcome the entrapment of his thoughts and surrenders to the power of his spirit, he is ready to become a true warrior.
Here are three strategies for overcoming challenges we can all use when we find ourselves in “too many mind”.
While this can help us when true danger arises, the problem most of us have developed this response for all instances of adversity we encounter, regardless of their degree of severity. When in this state, these are usually the times when we tend to not make our best decisions.
One of the most powerful tools we have for centering ourselves during times of challenge is to get in touch with our breath. When you feel your breath get away from you during times of “too many mind”, try breathing, as follows:
This simple process allows us to become centered and reduces our panic response so we can powerfully deal with the challenge before us.
When your mind is racing, and you feel you are losing control try doing the following.
Anchoring in the body helps you to get present and “get out of your head”, so you can deal with the challenge at hand.
Unfortunately, the tendency in this process is not to fantasize about all of the good that will occur, but rather, all of the bad.
While planning for something before it occurs can be a good thing, when directly confronted with a challenge, it is best to be completely present with what lies before you and deal with that. After that is dealt with, deal with the next thing before you, and so on.
We are most powerful in the present moment. Just as Algren needed to be truly present with the opponent before him, be fully engaged with what you are dealing with before moving onto the next real (or imagined) challenge.
This week, I challenge all of us (myself, included) to be conscious of when we find ourselves in "too many mind", worried about situations we find yourself in, concerned about what the future may hold or distracted about what we believe others may be thinking about us.
Let's take this time to get present, clear our minds and move into our heart space. It is from this place we can get in touch with a mind much greater than our own, the Inner Champion that lives inside us all.
Isn't it time to move from being a worrier to being a warrior?
Black Belt Leadership Speaking & Coaching
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