What is the Inner Game?
In my NLP reading over the last couple of months, I have devoured and am currently digesting 3 fantastic books which have given me a whole new gear in life. Let me tell you about the first: The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance. This is not a new book, but a very good one to pick up. Over 1,000,000 copies have been sold over the years.
I believe this book is a great addition to anyone using NLP in their own pursuit of excellence for themselves or their clients. After all, NLP believes that most of our resources reside in our unconscious mind (what we are not aware of in the present moment) and that if we can just empty our conscious minds of distractions, excellence can emerge in the game of our choice.
Distraction of the conscious mind while our unconscious mind is allowed the freedom to maneuver is the essence of improvement and enjoyment, whether in sports, music, dating, driving or any other skill that requires our whole being to be present. The proof is in the results.
The Inner Game of Tennis
Of all the other books that use the "Inner Game" title, this was the first and most essential. I say so because the author was not just a theorizer, but a true observer and practitioner of the inner game in his own playing, and as a tennis pro, teaching others to direct their conscious attention towards things that really allowed the unconscious mind and body to learn the game. What he observed he came to know intimately, both objectively and subjectively, and now you can too.
The book is short, easy reading, and the lessons learned apply equally well to tennis, other sports, the arts, work, NLP or life.
The Inner Game of NLP
In my own NLP practice, I apply the principles in this book to sharpen my own sensory acuity, paying attention to slight physiological shifts in myself and others, and how I can produce those shifts more elegantly and intuitively without over-thinking. When I get my digital mind out of the way and allow my body and emotions to enter in to NLP interventions while always focusing on the outcome, then I am tapping into more intelligence than was previously available. I find myself talking much less than before, while the client goes much deeper and taps deeper into resources than when I was leading them.
When I do talk, I find myself affirming more and more as I or the client enters states that support the desired direction… "that's right", "there you go", "excellent", "go deeper", "do that again", etc. Change does not stick unless it is experienced emotionally, and viscerally.
Are you a coach? Let me know your thoughts on this book. How do you use it in NLP?