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Mind and body

I'm currently reading The Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. It is full of anecdotal stories from his life, some of which are interesting while others are quite boring.

In one such story, he talks about a 'Tiger Swami' that he met when he was young. This was a man of such incredible strength that he could fight a Bengal tiger bare-handed and live to tell the tale.

While talking to this 'Tiger Swami', Paramahansa Yogananda asks about how the man got so physically strong to be capable of such feats. To which, the 'Tiger Swami' responds saying that it is not always about physical strength. He goes onto say that even the physically strongest person will wilt under the fear and the pressure of facing a dangerous man-eater if he isn't brave enough and has the right mental faculties to be able to put his physical strength to use.

While I have my doubts about the truth in the story, the take away is definitely valid.

We invest a lot in improving our tangible abilities - everything from our IQ to our physical strength and stamina. However, we don't emphasize enough on the mental faculties needed to derive the best results from such improvements.

Our ability to stay composed and call upon the right tools to use in a difficult situation is just as important as having the best tools for the situation.

This is where coaches and managers (and teachers) come in handy. They help us prepare mentally for these situations and improve our decision making and composure, while at the same time helping us improve our tools. 

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