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Inner Game by Chaco

Well, I was asked to post some thoughts about inner game. There are a lot of theories, ideas and techniques out there. There is NLP, more traditional psychotherapy, meditation, Zen, yoga, EFT, and others. In the midst of all these choices and the confusion they may generate, I will suggest a way to cut to the core essential of most of these methods.

I have spent a lot of time on inner game in my life. I have been a Buddhist since I was 23, I have practiced yoga for 3 years, I have studied NLP and doing reading in at least the basics of EFT and traditonal psycotherapy. Plus in the past 2 years I have given all these things some thought in the context of the Game we play.

Based on that experience, the absolute fundamental core of inner game is this:

1. Learn to be aware of your thoughts.
2. Through that awareness, recognize negative thinking.
3. Eliminate the negative thinking and replace with positive thinking.
4. Develop confident body language.

That’s it. Just get good at those 4 steps and you have the core essense of inner game.

I could stop there, but for those of you who like to read, a bit more on each…

1. Learn to be aware of your thoughts. This step is key. Learn to watch yourself in response to situations. Watch as if you were a 3rd person observing from a distance the mental stream of thoughts in your head. What thoughts pop into your head? See those clearly and practice this “watcher skill” or this “witness” as much as possible,in good times and bad, while sarging and while not sarging.

2. As you develop this ability to notice the thoughts in your head, pay close attention to the thinking patterns that develop. You’ll discover you have a lot of conditioned responses that have been essentially automatic in your mind. See x, think y automatically.

The crucial step is to learn to watch the NEGATIVE thinking. When you see a hot girl in a bar, do you think “she won’t like me” or visualize her saying some nasty insult? When you see a hot girl on the steet, do you want to approach but visualize her freaking out and calling the cops? Do you tell yourself “I can’t”? Do you tell yourself “it’s hard”?

A lot of guys do this. For example, I was speaking to someone in the #PUA chatroom the other day and every time I suggested something to him, he would say “I can’t” or “It’s so hard,” or “I tried and failed.” This mode of thinking becomes particularly damaging when left unchecked, because it becomes habitual and once the thinking pattern starts, it can self-reinforce. Did any of you say these things to yourself when you first read my four point list above? If so, know that those type thoughts are negative thinking and will hold you back from your goals in life, sarging or otherwise.

Hence the need for step 3.

3. Eliminate the negative thinking and replace with positive thinking. Now that you have developed some skill in watching youself from the 3rd person point of view, and you begin to see all the unnecessary negative thinking patterns in your head, you must stop them.

When you see the negative thinking start, stop yourself firmly and immediately, and replace the negative thought with a positive counter thought. If you say to yourself “I can’t,” then stop that and say “I can.” If you say something is hard, stop that and say “this will be easy.” If you are thinking “but it *is* hard Chaco!” Then fine, I give you permission to say this: “Yeah, this is hard but I love challenges because the more I do, the better I get.” (That’s called a “reframe” in NLP, btw).

Do you visualize girls insulting you if you approach? Then visualize girls smiling after the opener and happily talking to you. Whatever it is, constantly reprogram yourself to think positively. This reprograming is essential. This is inner game – getting yourself to think like a confident person. Afterall, what is confidence? Confidence is really, in its essense, the belief you will be able to handle a situation well. How do you get to be a confident person? By having thoughts that are confident. You *are* what you think.

Some of you may be thinking that this is all too easy and just telling yourself that you will do well won’t make you really feel better. Trust me, if you learn to systematically replace the negative thinking, cutting it off as soon as it starts, and replace with positive thinking, then you will soon be stunned at how much better and more confident you feel. No, it won’t take 10 minutes, or even 10 days, but over time you WILL change.

Also, you will also find, almost magically, that girls respond to you much better than they did before, because girls have an almost psychic ability to read guy’s mental states, and when they read your increasingly positive state, they will respond better, thereby giving you a concrete positive experiences to reinforce the new positive thinking you have been doing.

4. Develop confident body language. Ok, so what is a point about body language doing in a post on inner game? Well, it has been proven scientifically (and understood for by Buddhists and Yogis for 2,000+ years) that the body and mind are connected. I shall explain.

The body and mind operate in a biofeedback system in that they constantly communicate with each other. We all know that if you are depressed mentally, you will frown, and that if you are happy mentally, you will smile. That’s the mind affecting the body.

But it has been proven that if you frown, you will begin to feel more depressed, and if you smile, you will feel more happy. That is, if you take the body posture/facial expression of a given mood, your body communicates with your mind to feel that mood. (It probably works through association, but whatever the cause, it works!) Therefore, if you take the body position of a confident person, you will feel more confidence and strength mentally.

Why do you think that in the military they train new soliders to stand up perfectly straight all the time? After all, when you shoot a gun, drive a tank, or fly a plane you don’t need to stand like that. They do it to create the strength of will needed for life and death combat. They want the body position to reinforce the mental position needed.

So almost anyone who has studied the game knows what confident body language is, but a quick review:

1. Stand up straight.
2. Chest out.
3. Chin slightly up.
4. Hands below your waist (not in pockets).
5. Legs spread somewhat apart.
6. Don’t move your head or your hands when you talk (except occasionally for dramatic effect).
7. Solid eye contact.
8. Breath slowly and evenly.
9. Shoulders relaxed.
10.Move slowly.

Begin incorporating these things immediately all the time. Do these with your friends, your family, your coworkers, ugly girls, pretty girls. Everyone. Make this a habit. It will reinforce the work you are doing mentally.

For you experts out there, I know there any number of additions to the above, but I was trying to keep it to its basic elements.

So that’s it. All comments welcome.

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October 24, 2008 - Posted by | Inner Game | , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Excellent post.

    Coming from the Buddhist / Yoga perspective, I would supplement by saying “allow the negative to flow into the positive.” Eliminating the negative is in itself negative, is it not?

    Comment by loerez | March 1, 2009


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