her I am the Laughing Pirate is the affirmation that summons maximum performance. The visualization is the downhill racer leaving the starting gate, and the cue is a smile.
You see Mikaela Shiffrin above winning gold by being less than a second faster than the woman in tenth place. Think on that for a moment. Snap your fingers and say to yourself, “Tenth place.” And she does this all the time, so it isn’t luck. It is a state of mind.
The mental state of maximum performance we call The Laughing Pirate.Where there can is no doubt, second thoughts, or subvocalization. We summon it with your smile, and the thought, I want this.
Mikaela does this on command, and we are fortunate to have a number of her training videos. In one she defines changing mental states.
I want you to consider Laughing Pirate in terms of a quote from the book, With Winning in Mind by Lanny Bassham; and more from a few other world class thinkers.
“You cannot control what it will take to win a competition. You cannot control what other competitors do and often you cannot even predict with accuracy what score will win a competition. But you can predict process. Process is what you can control and only what you can control. You can predict and control how many days a week you train. You can control the discipline of your efforts. You can control what you choose to think about and do. My advice is to only set goals on things that YOU can control. Keep your focus on you, not your competitors. Rehearse in your mind the process of executing a combination of mental feelings and technical moves that get results.”
The great philosopher emperor of Rome, Marcus Aurelius, said, “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
The legendary ronin-sword master, Miyamoto Musashi said, “There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.”
And the famous Holocaust survivor and psychologist Victor Frankl summarized his survival philosophy with the realization that,” Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
So, if all you can ever control is how you react, than how do your learn to control your reactions? Read the quote again and see how Bassham answers that question. And note those last few words, “executing a combination of mental feelings and technical moves.” This is very similar to executing our mnemonic. There is nothing to stop you from this practice of reciting the mnemonic and recalling the feelings and images that go with it.
Consider all of this in terms of “Free Will.” Normally your smiles and laughter are responses to a situation or other stimulus. You are not in control, but reacting. Most dialogues about “Freewill,” are word games, even those by supposed neuroscientists. But this is the real deal. It is a break in the script that you throw in there. Life may present you with disaster, and you choose to smile, even laugh. That is “Free Will.”
And you will comprehend why ,The Laughing Pirate would very well comprehend the words by Rafael Sabatini, “He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.”
And there are powerful reasons for this. Obviously it puts you in control, and lifts you above a Pavlovian dog. But much more, it puts you in a state of maximum performance. The worse the situation, the greater the threat, the greater the need for maximum performance. You can comprehend this by watching reactions around you.
Have you ever had a pet that had a paralyzed reaction to some stimuli? How about a coworker when it is time for evaluations? How about you when you get a letter from the IRS, or your wife tells you she wants a divorce? These are not life threatening, they just feel that way. But they could be. Someday you may be on the knife edge of death. This will be the time you need maximum performance, and you will summon it with your smile.
The Laughing Pirate Smile, the capitols are on purpose, is different. It is the stimulus, and not the response. It is a major exercise and power. If the Japanese Zen Masters have the koan, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” as an exercise, we with our mnemonic to have a more powerful one with our purposeful smile.
Our smile is not just a grimace, but the real thing. In an extreme situation, you have received your death warrant, and you feel your face relax into a smile that goes through out your entire body. I write these words at 4/6/20 3:56 AM , and it is a time of Corona virus 19, and the next two weeks are supposed to bring about a spike in deaths. The stock market has had a historic drop that has evaporated all our savings and dreams. This is when you need the attitude of the Laughing Pirate, and you summon it with your smile.
You can’t control the world, its events, and who or what will cross its stage next, but you can control your response. And that makes you unique. We will do this in the exercise section, but think about it now. Imagine that you are watching a movie, and an incredible ugly alien has just erupted out of someone’s stomach, the audience is frozen in horror, and you have a warm bone deep smile.
When watching the video hear Mikaela say,
“In touch with my skis. In touch with my skiing. Changed from being a tech skier..to everything, which is really exciting.
It worked so well, and I had so much fun that entire day for the rest of the season that was the mentality I was shooting for..Zero expectation”
One of her trainers says, “She just has a big smile on her face,”
Finally I want you to concentrate on the launch from the gate, where she goes from zero to full commitment. That is our visualization for this position. Now imagine starting your day like that.