“Along with my partners at Vision Pursue, we’re taking what science has uncovered about how the mind works and helping individuals, businesses, and sports teams to retrain automatic thoughts and emotions in order to realize greater satisfaction and improve performance.
Travel creates an ideal environment for people to practice the skills we teach.”
In this interview by Kim Gibbons of Cruise Dreams, VP Partner Jon McGraw shares insights into how travel can be a powerful opportunity to train the brain… and how to bring mindfulness back from the beach and into daily life.
October 21, 2019
Excerpt: Jon: In work – and life – we’re all programmed to achieve a result – to get from point A, or our current life situation, to point B, how we would like our life to be. Our minds over-value point B, which creates a sense of urgency, and subsequently stress, about getting there. In simplest terms, Vision Pursue provides mental skills training that helps people get away from the A-to-B perspective and learn to focus on what we call an “expanding A” perspective.
Instead of making the end result the focus, Expanding A makes the activity in the now the primary purpose. When you’re able to do this successfully, results become the natural byproduct. People are able to focus on process goals vs. outcome goals, which enables them to enjoy the journey without over-focusing on the destination.
Kim: So, when we travel, we’re naturally breaking our A-to-B thinking and shifting into Expanding A thinking?
Jon: Right! Travel is a setting where we allow our minds to be more curious and open. We go in with fewer expectations – on-time flights and clean hotel rooms aside. A vacation naturally enables us to value the present moment.
Kim: There’s nothing like the feeling of being in the moment, experiencing someplace brand new. From what you’re saying, that feeling we get when we travel is the result of giving the experience our full attention. What can traveling teach us about mindfulness?
Jon: Mindfulness looks different depending on what you’re doing. For many, travel induces this state, and that’s what makes it so enjoyable. Here are some tips to help achieve mindfulness in our everyday lives.
Expect the expected: In our daily lives, there will always be challenges and we’ll feel strongly about them. If we expect this to be the case and have a response plan, we aren’t unnecessarily triggered or surprised by things. It’s fine to have high expectations in the future, but in the short term its helpful to align our expectations with the way the world currently is. Managing our expectations is critical for activating a mindful state.
Embrace: When life happens, we have two choices, Resist or Embrace. Internal resistance is more natural but requires a lot of energy and often creates more problems than it solves. An internal embrace gets us in alignment with what is so we have more influence over what could be. This is an internal practice and unlocks higher levels of creativity, innovative thinking, and problem solving. It keeps our attention on what is versus overvaluing a future state where all our problems are gone.
Control the controllable: It’s natural for all of us to focus our mental and emotional time and energy on things we have less control and influence over. However, this compromises our ability to positively impact things we do have control over. This seems obvious, but it’s a major attention trap and life suck for almost everyone who goes through our training system. When I get clear about what I have control over it almost always brings me back to what’s happening right now and calms the mind down.
These three mental skills get activated on vacation, helping many of us shift from A-to-B thinking to Expanding A, but they can absolutely be applied to everyday life allowing us to experience the seemingly mundane and boring parts with less automatic judgment. It enables us to make the process primary and the outcomes secondary. It also enhances connection with others as our automatic thoughts slow down. […]