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Being able to handle life’s dirty tricks without losing one’s equanimity, interest, and joy is vital to learning and achievement. The ability to call on one’s knowledge and apply it well and completely is disrupted when we fall prey to emotional disturbances. Rather than deny or stifle emotions, we must work to gain an understanding of them, learn to make peace with them, and ultimately, channel them into higher levels of performance. By keeping our cool under trying conditions, we can arrive at precise conclusions and take positive and effective action at all times, especially during the most complicated and critical moments.

In Josh’s Words:

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In performance training, first we learn to flow with whatever comes. Then we learn to use whatever comes to our advantage. Finally, we learn to be completely self-sufficient and create our own earthquakes, so our mental process feeds itself explosive inspirations without the need for outside stimulus.
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Left to my own devices, I am always looking for ways to become more and more psychologically impregnable. When uncomfortable, my instinct is not to avoid the discomfort but to become at peace with it… My instinct is always to seek out challenges as opposed to avoiding them.
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Further reading: Chapter 5: The Soft Zone, Chapter 12: Using Adversity.

From THE ART OF LEARNING by Josh Waitzkin. Copyright © 2007 by Josh Waitzkin LLC.
Reprinted by permission of Free Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc

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