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The Inner Game of Tennis: How to let yourself learn in “the zone”

Posted on 12 Oct 2014 in entrepreneur, events, personal growth | 0 comments



September’s Entrepreneurship Book Group was on the Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey. The book is classic personal development book by a tennis teacher who noticed typical coaching (raise your arm, bend your knees. . . ) didn’t work well. Gallway started observing carefully what did work, and developed ideology that applies to learning and winning any game.

The next conversation is this Thursday Oct 16, 8pm at ThinkTank to discuss How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. You’re welcome to come and participate even if you haven’t read the book. Contact to get on the book group list.

Essentially, when we’re learning something new, we have to let ourselves experience and stop judging. Much like you wouldn’t harass a toddler who is learning to walk, we need to let ourselves crawl, stand, stumble, and simply experience what works, what doesn’t and observe others who are successful. In order to have peak experiences and flow, we need to get judgments and criticism out of our way. “We don’t criticize the rose seed for being “rootless and stemless” or the buds for not bring open.” Development is a natural process of learning and growing, and all we need to do is observe and let it unfold. But we need to get onto the court every day to move forward!

Tips from the book:
Ask yourself for the desired outcome and trust yourself to act effectively
Observe one’s self and your outcomes carefully but don’t judge
Give your mind something specific to observe like “When does my body tense during my work day?” “When do my customers seem happy?”
We only have so much willpower. Develop routines so we don’t have to make too many decisions

What participants said is most centering and/or helps them get into “the zone”:
Do the same routine every morning
Read, meditate, recreate
Be present in the moment to your surroundings, your body, your breath
Ask “what is my plan for today?” “will this get me where I want to go?”
Take time each week to explore and learn.
Go outside for a walk
Sleep, rest, exercise, eat healthy
Designate a place just for productivity and work
Write on your mirror what will advance your life goals, and look in the mirror each day and ask: is this right today?
Start doing anything that’s a routine. . . cleaning often works.
Useful tools: Trello allows you to sort projects into current, backlog, and “ice box” – things I’m not touching, Todoist for listing and tracking todos.
Remind yourself: You can do it! Keep going! It will come in time.

Liz Trice is the Blackstone Innovation Hub Manager for Portland, the owner of PelotonLabs, and the founder of Startup Weekends in Portland. 

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