“The mind is a very powerful tool that can work for or against you”, as once said by Dave Liniger.
Our thoughts and feelings towards something can impact our mindset to how we carry out tasks. You may have heard of the terms inner game and outer game before. In this article, we are going to explore what both of these are and how you can use this mindset.
What is inner game?
Inner game is our attitude and mindset we have towards ourselves and our life. The more you develop your internal skills and knowledge, the better your outer game will be. We use out inner game to make decisions and act. Qualities of an inner game are attitude, ability to take risk, persistence and courage.
For example, a tennis player, its grand final day and they are feeling nervous about themselves and the opposition. This intimidation and mindset is setting the player up to overthink the match and second guess every point. On the flip side, on grand final day, the player might be feeling good and doesn’t worry about their nerves, helping them play the match with a clear mind feeling good about themselves.
Both mindsets influence the decisions the tennis player will make and how they will act on the court. The attitude the tennis player has going into the match, the ability to take risky shots, persistence to hang in there, and the courage to play their best on the day.
Now we understand what the inner game is, let’s explore the outer game.
The outer game is the skills and strategy we acquire and use. We have all the information and skills in our inner game. When applying this to achieve results, such as using skills and strategies, that is our outer game.
Still using our tennis player example, the player has knowledge and tactics of the game. On game day, the tennis player uses their outer game knowledge to look for weaknesses in their opponent, patterns, and even how to adjust their game to different weather conditions. All of this is outer game, how the tennis player adapts to the situation of the game, using their skills and tactics to achieve results.
Our main question, how does the inner game and outer game influence our thinking?
You may have heard of the Pareto principle 80/20. Using this principle, 80% of our success comes from the psychology and mindset of our inner game, and 20% is attributed to the skills and strategies of our outer game.
The attitude and mindset you have about yourself, will highly impact your outer game and how you respond to external conditions of the match. Another way to look at it is, are you playing with a defensive mindset of not to lose, or are you playing to win? Both these mindsets will impact which strategies you use and the attitude you have on the court. The more mature your inner game is, the better your outer game will be. You have control over your emotions and will therefore perform a better outer game.
How can we use these mindsets in entrepreneurship?
Similar to push and pull factors, consider the way you are thinking to achieve success. Are you working with the mindset ‘to achieve success’? Or are you working with the mindset ‘not to fail’? Strengthening your inner game will help you perform better in your outer game, and help you adapt to each challenge that comes your way.
To conclude, I will leave you to reflect on this statement:
You cannot resolve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it.