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Mindset Training #2

The Rationale of Mindset Training

As athletes, we are all well-acquainted with the advantages of physical training. We've witnessed firsthand the transformative power of exercise and diet in reshaping our bodies and enhancing our fitness levels. What many may not realize, however, is that similar levels of benefit and results can be achieved through training our minds. There are techniques to practice, perspectives to adopt, and mental exercises to engage in, all leading to optimized mental performance. Mindset training involves embracing these methods and dedicating time to enhance the most critical tool at our disposal. Those who have ventured into mindset training understand that it holds profound insights into improving our day-to-day experiences, both cognitively and emotionally. It enables us to sharpen our focus, achieve our goals, and discover genuine passion and fulfillment in our lives. The essence of mindset training is not merely a checklist of daily tasks or routines to follow; it revolves around cultivating an infinite mindset that allows us to identify the tools and routines that resonate with us as individuals.

Neuroscience Highlight

We're all too familiar with that sensation: a racing heart, sweaty palms, hunched shoulders, and internal chaos—it's fear, a powerful emotion that can halt people from pursuing their true desires in life, often keeping them confined within the boundaries of their imagination. In the context of the growth mindset we've recently discussed, there's a shift in perspective regarding how we approach fear, and recent neuroscience research sheds light on how we can train our minds to interpret this feeling as excitement, thereby overcoming its paralyzing effects. A study led by Lindsey Salay at Stanford University, which monitored fear responses in mice, has significant implications for our lives, given the similarities in brain structures between mice and humans. The study explored how the brain reacts to fear-inducing situations and identified three potential responses: freezing, retreating, and advancing. The study also examined the stress levels associated with each of these responses. Surprisingly, the "advance" response, while initially causing the highest stress, also triggered the release of dopamine in the brain's reward center. This suggests that within our brains, there are mechanisms that chemically reward us for confronting our fears. Although advancing toward fear may seem initially stressful and fear-inducing, our brains are wired to find pleasure in such experiences. As we practice this over time and become aware of the positive response we receive from conquering fears, our brains shift their focus from the initial risk to the potential dopamine reward of facing intimidating situations. The thrill of overcoming something new gradually outweighs the fear of risk. The concept of confronting our fears has been advocated in ancient wisdom, and now we have neuroscientific evidence demonstrating how we can rewire our brains not only to tolerate more fear but to enjoy and actively seek it. The significance of this discovery cannot be overstated—the fewer constraints we feel in our lives due to fear, the closer we come to genuine freedom and a life without limits. When we incorporate this into our lives, it initiates a compounding effect capable of unlocking boundless growth.

Company Culture

In our recent fall campaign, we emphasized our commitment to celebrating the inherent risk that accompanies positive momentum. This sentiment reflects our daily practice and mirrors our internal company culture. As a young team comprised of athletes and creatives, we are constantly pursuing innovation in both technical clothing and our business philosophy. Our goal is to consistently pioneer the next generation of apparel while assembling a team of individuals driven by an unwavering passion for continual progress and personal fulfillment. In our endeavor to carve out our unique path in the apparel industry and run our company in alignment with our instincts, we've recognized the importance of embracing risk. It has become one of our core company values, promoted at every level. It represents a collective drive to overcome the natural fear that can impede progress and has enabled all of us to create from a place of excitement for what's possible, rather than fear of potential failure.

 

MESSAGE FROM THE FOUNDER

In my experience, the conventional notions of negative and positive emotions are fundamentally flawed. Throughout society and even in the field of psychology, there has been an excessive focus on what we've categorized as "negative" emotions – fear, anxiety, and stress. Our entire culture seems preoccupied with these emotions, often labeling them as undesirable or even terrifying. However, I can't help but ponder when and why we collectively decided that these internal feelings were to be shunned.

If we reflect on how a pre-civilization caveman might have responded to fear, anxiety, or stress, it becomes quite apparent that these emotions serve as vital signals when we pay close attention to their underlying purpose. The caveman would have instinctively taken action to discern the source of his discomfort, persistently acting until the emotion subsided. The next day, the emotion would resurface, and the cycle of action and response would continue. He wouldn't have idly avoided or dismissed these feelings simply because they were labeled as "bad."

Emotions, in essence, are signals sent by our bodies to our brains, urging us to "do something." It's worth noting that the emotions that trigger the most profound reactions are fear, stress, and anxiety precisely because they feel uncomfortable (which is actually beneficial). When we experience happiness, joy, or contentment, we often lack the motivation to strive for further progress. Surprisingly, these so-called "positive" emotions are among the least conducive to personal growth. Our biological imperative is to grow, learn, adapt, and evolve, which is why we have been endowed with fear, anxiety, and stress as essential motivators.

I understand that this perspective may appear counterintuitive, but consider the daily experiences of some of the greatest minds and leaders in history. Those we admire most were likely the least content individuals. Yet, it was precisely their discontent that spurred them on to enact positive changes, improve the lives of others, champion human rights, and drive innovation forward. This serves as a compelling illustration of how our biology signals that these emotions, often deemed "negative," are actually the "positive" emotions we should be striving for because of the immense value they bring to others, our communities, and humanity as a whole.

It's high time we reframe our perception of fear, anxiety, and stress. There are no inherently "negative" or "positive" emotions; there are only "action" and "non-action" emotions. It is the action-oriented emotions that unlock the unique skills within us, ultimately benefiting others the most. Rather than attempting to suppress or evade these emotions, and certainly not categorizing them as good or bad, we should fully experience them and embrace them as guiding signals. Then, we can translate them into actions that align with our deeper sense of purpose.

Growth frequently emerges during times when we grapple with fear, anxiety, and stress the most. These are the emotions we should welcome, for they bring about the most fulfilling outcomes – propelling us forward and, ultimately, toward freedom.

NEUROSTACK OF THE WEEK

Each newsletter will include an updated Neurostack, which is our ongoing list of Mindset Training techniques or resources we are currently using that we find worth sharing.

 

MEDITATION

PERSPECTIVE SHIFT

Meditate on the things in your life that you may want to do but haven't yet due to fear. Think deeply about whether that fear is of something real, or if your mind is fabricating it in an attempt to protect you from something that’s not real. Imagine yourself doing that thing, and notice the slight tremble. Examine that tremble. Is it fear, is it bad, or could it be excitement - the same kind you feel before a big game or competition? Is it actually stopping you from doing something, or can you imagine how good it would feel to actually do the thing you fear? What if you could actually do it? What if you survived? Would you feel more free in life? If all the things you were afraid of, you suddenly were excited to do?


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