Mind & Body Mastery for Sports, Music and Life – SAKHAROFF.COM

On Stress/ 1 – Head-based Motivation of Goals vs. Integrated Inspiration of Process

Head physics
This world is physical… Well… ok, let’s say mostly physical. At the risk of over-simplifying something that is very complex, I postulate that the most part of the problems of “civilized” western world come from the head. Some would ask – Whose head, let’s find this moron! Others would say – Well, isn’t the head pretty physical? To the latter I would answer – Well, yes… NO!

Mad whites
When Carl Jung, the great psychoanalyst, visited the Taos Pueblo indians in New Mexico in 1925, he met the head of the natives, the chief Ochwiay Biano. Biano told Jung that according to his people, the whites were generally “mad”, fidgety and restless. Jung asked him why he thought they were mad, and the chief replied that it was because they were thinking with their heads – a sure sign of mental illness among his tribe. Jung asked him how he thought, and the chief pointed to his heart. This incident led Jung into a deep self-examination process that led him to consider his own race from the outside and realize the extent to which we were the product of the main thought.

Heart and belly thinking
The centuries and thousands years old traditional eastern life philosophies from India, China and Japan, as well as indigenous cultures from all parts of the world use both heart and belly region for centering and connection both inwards with the inner self, and outwards with the energy of the universe. Several modern western practices are influenced by this non-head centered way of thinking as eg. David Deida, HeartMath and others.

Charles Fried Graf von Dürckheim in his book “Hara: The Vital Center of Man” sketches the japanese zen-tradition where finding the physical center of the body we also find the psychological center of the soul – Hara point. This book also explores how the practice of Hara emphasizes empirical learning and the cultivation of self-knowledge through the daily practice – leading to perfection of arts such as painting and archery.

Source of chronic diseases
There’s a growing number of medical studies showing that the most part of today’s chronic diseases are life style induced. In other words they only can thrive because we mostly use only one part of our body to handle, oppose and overcome the stressful issues attacking us – the head. Here I mean the distress, a kind of a stress coming from your surroundings – which you normally only have very slight influence if any at all. On the other hand, the eustress, the positive kind of stress is life-giving – as it brings you in the state of flow, where both your mind and your body are creating positive energy for yourself and for your surroundings.

Goals and distress
In the most part of cases with my own studens be it peak performance training of athletes, musicians or business people, the goals coming from outside can be a big source of distress. Often goals accepted by persons either as an order from above or as a result of a motivational effort from someone else – often also above.

Unlearning goals
Well, maybe it could be a good idea to unlearn to implicitly and unconditionally accept and establish big golden twinkling – and motivating – goals. Why? Because they can be somewhat scary to realize and to pursue the day after when the initial motivation is gone. Motivation as initial drift is very unreliable, coming from outside of you – it’s volatile and transient. Motivation is always longterm, because motivational tales affect your psyche with the golden goals which are always big, always highly seductive – and always very much remote from the moment of now.

That’s how a typical concept of goal orientation works. I’m not afraid to say, that it often involves greed, either coming from yourself or from the others – “I want a lot of it and I want it now, or as quick as possible!” That’s why goal orientation normally equals distress, a negative kind of stress, sickening the mind and the body.

End point fallacy
Goals are often created without a clear process in mind and they suffer from the so called “end point fallacy”. It means that if or when the goal is achieved – another one is instantly put in place. If not achieved, then disappointment (or worse) follows. Either way is stressful – and our “civilized” society just can not function without goals! Apparently.. Or can it actually?

Inspiring process
Instead of having goals as the only possible lighthouse to follow, we could learn to establish and use our own reliable processes. We can not use motivational tales here, as they normally come from the side. We need something more reliable – we need inspiration coming from within. Inspiration as initial drift is very reliable – as it is normally addressing something deep inside you, something that brings you joy here and now.

Inspiration has a short-term focus reach – but it is stable, it’s strong and very healthy. Inspiration sprouts from within you and is unstoppable. And at least and not last – it fills you with enjoyment of the moment of now – which is the enjoyment of process. That’s why process orientation normally equals eustress – the good and healthy kind of stress!

Back to the head
Now back to the head. We could say that motivation is mostly head oriented, as that is the only place to store the goals coming from outside. Inspiration comes from within your whole body, and it smoothly integrates your head with the rest – hopefully. You can feel it both with your belly and your ability to make a wholehearted grin when you are in the state of flow!

Smooth transition must be fun
So how do we make a smooth transition from the head-based motivational goals leading to distress to the integrated wholebody-based and inspirational process?

It’s should be actually very simple and quite fun – taking it easy and being in good balance.
Here I advise you not to try to alter your motivating boss – I suggest to start with yourself and train on your own processes!

I promise to come back with more tomorrow – so please subscribe and stay tuned 😉

Meanwhile you are welcome to read my other recent articles:
Stress – head-based motivation of goals vs. integrated inspiration of process
Deadlines and stress – how is your belly supposed to feel?
Dead vs. living stillness – can you win the battle?
Training system for musicians to help athletes and sick
Asthma is common among Olympic athletes! – The big question is WHY?

Misha Sakharoff
DancingSword.dk – Mind & Body Mastery for Sport and Life

PS: check the free DancingSword seminars wednesdays and thursdays at 19.00 in Fredensborg:


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