the Monk
Learning Tools: A Special Lesson

Once you master the techniques found in my book The Lesson, you will need to focus your attention on the mastery over self. We must sort out how we are going to approach winning, for it is one thing to run a rack, and another thing to win a match. The closer we get to that ultimate victory, the more we are bothered by interference. Shots there were easy and routine before, suddenly look harder now. The interference comes from our own confusion about winning.

For most of us, we are sure of our desire to win, yet we are not sure we want the responsibility that comes with winning. We are not sure we want to stand in the spotlight, or listen to the jealous rantings from those who lost. In the winner circle we are about to tread in uncharted waters. This brings uncertainty and no brain in this universe wants to thrash around in the field of uncertainty. In my video Monk 101 volume three, I talk about how we must seek the field of uncertainty. We must be comfortable with it.

The brain will shy away from anything that is uncomfortable so as you move closer and closer to that winning experience, the brain begins to set up a series of distractions so you won't have to be part of an uncomfortable setting.

You must define what it is you want from this game. I have recorded a tape, "I Came To Win" and it deals with this subject. Once you define what it is you want, you then have a value. This value will create a drive for you. You will receive the energy you need to move towards this value. The greater the value, the more energy you receive. With this energy, you increase your focus. This all adds up to an improved performance.

There are two kinds of values. One you move towards, and one you move away from. "I want to win" is a moving towards value. "I want to avoid an awkward situation" is a moving away from value. Winning puts you in an awkward situation. So you have a moving towards value and a moving away from value tugging at your brain. You receive the energy and focus to win, and the drive to avoid the spotlight all in the same time. Your attention is divided.

Have you ever ran a rack and then apologized to your opponent? You stated that you got lucky and you don't usually play like that. You want to run the rack. This is a value for you. But you are uncomfortable with the fine performance. So your brain will sagatage you on the next rack. Somehow you need to reduce this conflict. You need to change these values. When you change your values, you change your destiny.

How about playing an inferior opponent. We talk about how we play at the level of our competition. Here again is a conflict of values. You want to perform well, but you don't want to destroy someone who is weaker than you. A contrast of moving towards values and moving away from values. You need to change one, so you end up with just the moving towards values. Remember, the guy who chased two rabbits never caught one.

It is time we mastered one set of values. Make "I Came to Win" your only value. Anything other than that is a conflict. Narrow your field of vision and you will perfect your ability to concentrate. Each shot should be performed with the "I Came To Win" attitude. When you can measure your life by the moment, you have no limits. May I meet you in the finals with your "I Came To Win" T shirt on and my knees not buckle under your great play.

The Monk, September, 2001

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