Books you'll Love - The Mindful Athlete

The Mindful Athlete – George Mumford

Michael Jordan credits George Mumford with transforming his on-court leadership of the Bulls, helping Jordan lead the team to six NBA championships. Mumford also helped Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom and the Laker led Phil Jackson teams of the 2000s.
George Mumford, the author of the Mindful Athlete personal story is unforgettable and equally powerful in it’s own right. Mumford was a basketball player at the University of Massachusetts (where he roomed with Dr. J, Julius Erving), injuries forced Mumford out of the game he loved.
The meds that relieved the pain of his injuries also numbed him to the emptiness he felt without the game and eventually led him to heroin. After years as a functioning addict, Mumford enrolled in Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program, and made meditation, on and off the cushion, the center of his life. He kicked drugs, earned a master's degree in counseling psychology and began teaching meditation to inmates and others.
  The man who taught mindfulness to the Phil Jackson led Championship teams.
Biggest takeaways
Life is all about the stimulus that we experience in the world and the way we interpret that in our mind. We can react to this stimulus in various knee-jerk ways with anger, agitation, anxiety fear, craving, doubt, guilt – or we can respond to this stimulus by getting still, paying attention “on purpose” to what thoughts and feelings come up within ourselves without judgment and by acting from this center space of calm
Takeaways to excel in sport:
Are we in Flow or Mind?
  • Compared to a monkey swinging from branch to branch (monkey mind)
    • Mindfulness
      • Slows down you experience of time, reconnecting you to the present moment
  • Act of being completely involved in an activity for it’s own sake
    • Ego falls away
    • Time flies
  • When both challenges and skills are high and equal to each other
  • Ability to stay in the present moment
Takeaways to excel in life:
  • Calm center space
    • Anchors the mindful athlete in the present moment and facilitates high performance and flow
    • “The athlete who is in championship form has a quiet place in himself. And it’s out of that that his action comes. If he’s all in the action field, he’s not performing properly. There’s a center out of which you act; in dance this is true, too.
    • When we have not found that center within, we react to a stimulus from outside with our monkey mind rather than responding to it from that quite space that we can create between stimulus and response. (as a response tension comes)
    • When we lose touch with that center space, we open ourselves up to every possible form of stress and tension
    • Hurricane Analogy
      • If you stay in the center, you’re fine
      • You can think straight, make clear decisions, and respond intelligently and effectively
      • The minute you step away from that center and into the hurricane itself, everything goes wrong.

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