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In order for people to learn to their fullest potential, they must become children again in any area of
human activity, not just in sports or music. The goal is to combine the maturity and knowledge with
child-like transparency.

THE TWO GAMES THE OUTER GAME: to achieve the desired goal, to play well, to write well, etc.
o Context: arena, concert hall, office, tennis court.

THE INNER GAME: to overcome the inner obstacles which prevent one from performing well. o
Self-doubt, fear, fear of failure, anxiety = self-interference.

The games impact each other but the inner game determines the success or failure of the outer



Self 1 – the inner interference o Characteristics “the commentator”

“You are going to goof up….Here comes the hard part….Relax your third finger….”

*We have a choice: Tune out Self 1

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Self 2 – the potential within a person

Note: the selves do not mean left vs. right brain


 GOALS Performance


Experience Learning


 Awareness, trust and will are the fundamental skills that help increase focus/concentration,
help overcome nervousness, doubt, fear, and help use most of our potential at any given

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Will (goal clarification)


Relaxed concentration

 Will (chiarimento degli obiettivi)
 Consapevolezza Fiducia
 CONSAPEVOLEZZA – essere consapevoli di ciò che sta accadendo
 o vista
 o Suono
 o sentimenti
 o Presta attenzione a ciò che sai
 Nota: provare contro consapevolezza
 WILL – la direzione e l'intensità della propria intenzione
 o Cosa vuoi suonare
 o A volte siamo in grado di concentrarci al 100% nella musica
 o Audizioni e/o suonare per i colleghi, è quando Self 1 attacca a causa
 alla concentrazione divisa
 o Obiettivi della performance: studiare l'aspetto visivo del pezzo - come?
 aspetto della pagina, contorno, articolazione, fraseggio, dinamica, ecc;
 segnali fisici/preparazione cinestetica; suono; sentire la musica nel tuo
 testa; e il significato e il dramma nella musica.
 o Obiettivi dell'esperienza: il modo in cui ci si sente mentre si pratica o si esegue
 e la sensazione che la musica stessa trasmette.
 o Obiettivi di apprendimento: fissare obiettivi di prestazione chiari: chiariranno i
 Strategie di apprendimento. (Programmare un po' alla volta – lavorare a blocchi)

AWARENESS – being aware of what’s happening o Sight o Sound o Feelings o Pay

attention to what you know Note: Trying vs. awareness WILL – the direction and the
intensity of one’s intention o What you want to play o At times we are able to put 100%
concentration into music o Auditions and/or playing for colleagues, is when Self 1 attacks
due to concentration split o Performance goals: studying the visual aspect of the piece -
how it looks on page, contour, articulation, phrasing, dynamics, etc; physical
cues/kinesthetic preparation; sound; hearing music in your head; and the meaning and
drama in music. o Experience goals: the way one feels while practicing or performing and
the feeling that the music itself conveys. o Learning goals: set clear performance goals –
they will clarify the learning strategies. (Program a little at a time – work in chunks) TRUST
– to explore the trial and error trough awareness without judging. o Not blind trust but the
type of trust that is a product of hard work o Major obstacles: o Self-image o Lack of control
 Cooperate the trust with will and awareness  To gain self control and get rid of Self 1 o
Doubts and fears of your own ability

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LETTING GO of SELF 1 The “falling asleep” analysis 8 ways of letting go: o Role playing o
Becoming the music o Doing something familiar o Letting the body take over o Letting go to
the environment o Letting go to overload o Letting go to the ridiculous o Letting go to the

COPING WITH OBSTACLES Continual creativity is necessary o “ Yesterday’s invention

and successful technique is stale today, in much the same way t hat yesterday’s successful
interpretation is today’s repeat performance.” p. 111 Discovering which skill area is out of
balance (awareness, will or trust) Dealing and accepting external interference

THE TEACHER AND THE LEARNER “Do this” and “try this” instructions have to turn into
“awareness” instructions; o “Awareness exercises only ask one thing of the conscious
mind: that it should pay attention to what’s happening, not to what’s right or wrong” p.135 o
Visual awareness o Auditory awareness o Feeling awareness Positive benefits of learning
by discovery and awareness are noticing what is happening and what works vs. what is
good or bad - similar to learning how to walk.

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THE LISTENER Why do we listen to music? (To move, to dance, to express feelings to
change feelings, to accompany other activities, to learn about other types of music, etc.)
Why do we find difficult enjoying music sometimes? (Having certain expectations as
interference.) Making the switch: experiencing the music from inside than from the outside.
o The concert goers: o How to approach music you know o How to approach music that
you don’t know o See, hear, feel and understand music through listening Listening without
judging: Self 1 and 2 battle. Different focuses: visualize the music, imagine a story, listen to
individual instruments, listen to the sound type/color, imagine being an orchestra musician
or the conductor as a listener, etc.

THE PARENT and THE CHILD or the TEACHER and the STUDENT Develop a supportive
relationship Help the students trust their musical ability o Judgmental vs. non-judgmental
phrasing of comments. Help the student establish clear goals (journaling) o Performance
goal tools: knowing how the music sounds before it is learned, journaling, tape recorders,
etc. o Experience goals: having a fun practice, playing for others, playing with others;
creating a story to music, and motivation. o Learning goals: Ask questions to increase
students’ awareness (related to vision, sound, and feeling) Expand the students’ musical
awareness (vision, sound, feelings, and understanding)

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BALANCE “In music one music think with the heart and feel with the brain” – George Szell
Authenticity and order vs. deeply felt expression; emotional experience vs. critical and
analytical approach; and passion vs. restraint. Music and the two hemispheres of the brain
o Left vs. right brain function; “analytical” vs. global o Music is both right and left-brain
function. Howard Gardner says in his book Art, Mind, and Brain that, “it is far too simple to
conclude that music is principally a right-brain function.” (p.177) o Analytical or global
preference: each person naturally leans toward either the analytical or the global approach.
However if one prefers the analytical approach then he/she should work on the global
approach and vice versa to create a balance. (“Adding the layers”) • The analytical mode: is
in charge of producing and controlling articulation, beginning and ending of notes, correct
order of notes, proper rhythm, memorization of muscle movements. • The global mode is in
charge of emotions, style, and meaning of music. KEEP EXPLORING The last two
chapters of the book continue giving practical tools and examples to be used when playing
in an ensemble, and encourage the musician to improvise, compose and be creative.
POSTLUDE I would highly recommend this book. It gives many practical examples It lets
you explore new ways in at your own pace It explores “new” ways of learning – it
encourages learning “naturally” It is practical for any musician: the learner, the teacher, the
performer, the parent, the student, the ensemble player, the soloist, and the listener. I have
found it extremely helpful and I have started applying concepts while working with my
students and in my own practicing and musicianship. I hope you find it helpful as well.
Enjoy exploring! 

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The Inner Game

What are you really capable of? And what holds you back from achieving it? Competing
against your own mental obstacles is the ‘Inner Game’.

Although many people in the world of work have never heard of the Inner Game, nor
of Timothy Gallwey, its founder, this big idea has been extremely influential.

Because Gallwey and the ideas behind the Inner Game are very much the immediate
progenitors of modern performance coaching. It it is hard to over-estimate the impact that has
had on management and organisational life.

Why the Inner Game?

The origins of the inner game lie in sports coaching. Timothy Gallwey played and coached
sport in the early 1970s. To this day, most of the people who have heard of the term ‘inner
game’ first encountered it through Gallwey’s  books, ‘The Inner Game of Tennis’ (US|UK)
and ‘The Inner Game of Golf’ (US|UK), which sold in huge numbers.

Gallwey hit on the idea (Badum tissh) of inner game when he realised that a large part of
excellent sports performance was related to the need to deal with the voice in your head,
sabotaging your confidence. Yet when you stop trying too hard and trust your capabilities, you
perform at your best.

He described the competing parts of yourself as Self 1 (the critical voice) and Self 2 (your inner

Here’s an illustration…
The Inner Game – Self 1 and Self 2

What is the Inner Game?

So, the Inner Game is that competition between Self 1 and Self 2.

 Self 1 is analytical, cautious, aware of your failings, and critical of every tiny error. It
contains your fears and frustrations, and likes to point out every weakness. It acts to
restrain your freedoms. In the language of US sports, it is Self 1 that is responsible
when we ‘choke’.
 Self 2 is intuitive and optimistic, keen to try anything, and happy to take things as they
come. In children, Self 2 has a loud voice but, by the time we become adults, it is too
often drowned out by the louder Self 1. Using the language of US sports, it is Self 2 that
is responsible for excellent, or ‘clutch’ performance.

In another formulation of the idea, Gallwey offers us a simple equation. Our performance never
meets its potential because it is hampered by interference from Self 1. He presents that like
The Inner Game: Performance = Potential – Interference

The Cycle of Interference

A third way of thinking about this helps us to see where this interference comes from. Gallwey
calls this ‘the cycle of interference’. He illustrates it like this…
The Inner Game – The Cycle of Interference

How to Play the Inner Game and Overcome the Cycle of

I’m no golfer, and neither do I play tennis. So my understanding of Gallwey’s ideas comes from
three sources:

 I was trained in performance coaching by Sir John Whitmore, who started his coaching
career as an Inner Game coach, and developed his thinking from there. The GROW
model owes a lot to the inner game.
 I had the privilege to meet Tim Gallwey at a small group seminar, hosted by the
Managing Partner of the firm I once worked for. He gave a short seminar, and joined us
for dinner.
 I keep my memory of his ideas fresh with his book ‘The Inner Game of Work’ (US|UK)
which applies his ideas to our domain. I really do not think this book has received the
attention it deserves. Every manager, executive, and professional should read and re-
read this book.

The Three Steps

In The Inner Game of Work, Gallwey describes the three steps we need to take to play the
inner game and combat the cycle of interference.

1. Non-judgemental Awareness is Curative

We need to prioritise ‘noticing’. Noticing what is going on around us, and letting the
data infuse our unconscious and conscious minds. Whatever we want to achieve or do
better, we need to hone our perceptions around what is happening and how every
change we make to what we are doing influences the outcome.
2. Trust Self 2
First up, you need to put yourself – Self 1, that is – out of the way. Let your innermost
confidence take control and still that annoying voice that will inevitably heighten your
awareness of your failings and of the risks, and cause you to choke.
3. Leave learning choices to the learner
If you want to learn (or teach), you need to let the learner (yourself, maybe) learn from
their awareness of of how their performance results from what they do. Don’t impose
rules or prescriptions on the people you are teaching. The way you do it may work for
you, but not so much for them. And, if you are learning yourself, trust your own
judgements at least as much as the prescriptions of experts. Test everything in the real
world, and be open to the data that you need, to refine your performance.

What is Your experience of the Inner Game?

We’d love to hear your experiences, ideas, and questions. Please leave them in the comments

To learn more…
Management Pocketbooks has a large collection of books on coaching, many of which are
among the very best (IMHO) of the collection:

 The Coaching Pocketbook is full of tips and techniques on how to coach others to

achieve outstanding performance.
 The Advanced Coaching Pocketbook is full of tips, techniques, and tools to advance
your coaching skills and promote a more confident and reflective approach.
 The Team Coaching Pocketbook is full of tips, techniques, and tools to harness the
collective capability of teams and boost performance.
 The Cognitive Behavioural Coaching Pocketbook is full of tips, techniques, and tools to
enable coaches, L&D specialists, and managers to facilitate transformational change.

But I cannot forget to recommend, once again,  ‘The Inner Game of Work’ (US|UK).

POSTED ON OCTOBER 31, 2017 by Mike Clayton


System 1 and System 2

In understanding how we think, one big idea has dominated in recent years. It became widely
known through Daniel Kahneman‘s phenomenal best-seller, ‘Thinking, fast and slow‘. It’s the
idea that we process information in two ways. There are two parallel thinking systems in our
minds: System 1 and System 2.

There are many terms for these two systems. They have been called:

 associative and rule-based

 implicit and explicit
 intuitive and analytical
 experiential and rational
 and many more

The terms System 1 and System 2 are marvellously neutral. They first emerged in a paper by
Keith Stanovich and Richard West. But it’s Kahneman’s adoption of this language and the
popularity of his book that gave them fame.

Why do We Need Two Systems?

I’m not going to try to answer the hard version of this question here. That could more precisely
be framed as ‘why did the human brain evolve to use two systems?’ Suffice to say, each
system has its strengths. And we’ve needed all these strengths to survive, both in the past and
present. We have System 1 and System 2 because we need them both!

The Need for a Two Systems Model

I could frame the easier question as this: ‘why do we have a two-system model to explain how
our thinking works?’ The answer to this lies in Stanovich and West’s paper:

‘Individual Differences in Reasoning: Implications for the Rationality Debate?’


I don’t expect you to read the 80+ pages of analysis, peer commentary and citation. If you
want to though, it’s published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2000) 23, 645–726, and it’s
available here.

In a nutshell, Stanovich and West ask a simple question. ‘Why don’t people in psychology
experiments do what we rationally expect them to do?’ That is, why do they seem to behave
irrationally, when a rational response would be… rational?

They look at four possible answers, which I’ll simplify as:

1. The subjects  make mistakes

2. The subjects aren’t smart enough to do the task as intended
3. The experimenter evaluates performance incorrectly
4. The experimenter misunderstands how the subject interprets the task

Their conclusion was fundamental. Experimenters had failed to understand how we interpret
certain types of task. In simple terms, we have two different ways of tackling mental problems.

They cite a dozen papers that describe ‘dual process’ theories. Each theory is different and
uses its own terminology. But they are similar enough for Stanovich and West to gather the
modes under the two headings.  The simple terms they used were System 1 and System 2.

What are System 1 and System 2?

System 1 and System 2 are two modes of processing information. We apply them in different

System 1
System 1 is your rapid response system. Its strength lies in working quickly and needing less
energy and effort. It makes judgments based on experiences and generalisations, and usually
gets things right. When you use it, it doesn’t ‘feel like thinking’.

System 1 deals with the vast majority of everyday thinking. It does so automatically. To do this,
it applies simple rules that psychologists call ‘heuristics’. But a quick assessment and general
rules can get things wrong. So, System 1 sometimes lets you down. System 1 is responsible
for biases, stereotypes, superstition, gullibility, naiveté, and prejudice.

But System 1 also has strengths beyond its speed. It excels at aesthetics, creatively linking
ideas, empathy, intuition, and sense of humour.

System 2
System 2 works hard and takes a lot of energy. Its evolutionary weakness is that we can’t
afford to run System 2 all the time. And neither could we react quickly enough to threats.

You are using System 2 when you are deliberately paying attention to something, or actively
‘thinking’. It deals in details, calculations, and rationality. Its other strengths include:

 self control and discipline

 evaluating complex arguments
 searching for a detail in a situation
 making a reasoned choice
 memorising facts and learning new knowledge (you are using System 2 now)

All of this comes at a cost. System 2 sometimes misses the forest by studying the
undergrowth. It also follows logical arguments and fails to make a logical leap – ‘lateral
thinking’ is a System 1 strength. And finally, it’s hard to maintain System 2 concentration for
long periods; it tires easily.

How to Optimise Your Use of System 1 and System 2

Both System 1 and System 2 are vital to your success in life in general, and work in particular.
What is important is that you can access the right system at the right time.

In professional and managerial work, there are familiar situations that arise. Let’s look at a few.

Creative Innovation
Here, System 1 is in its element. It is great at synthesizing ideas and seeing the wider context.
Encourage it by using a lot of different stimuli to overwhelm System 2. And by adopting a
playful, undisciplined attitude, to suppress rational processing.

Problem Solving
Here, System 2 can give your System 1 a head start. You need a lot of the features described
above. But System 2 can guide an analysis of the problem. It can also  select a suitable step-
wise process to follow. At the right time, you can then encourage System 1 to do its thing and
find creative solutions.

Networking and Team-building

Here’s another context where System 1 needs to dominate. When everything is going well, it’s
all you’ll need. System 1 is good at this stuff. But it can be on a hair trigger. So in tricky
situations, you’ll need System 2 to hold it back and take control. This is especially so when
tempers rise, or someone has a problem and needs your help.

In brief:
 System 1 if you need to build an emotional connection.
 System 2 if you need to understand the emotional connection

Reading a Situation
Organisational life presents many complex situations: commercial, political, technical, or crisis.
To assess them well, you’ll need both System 1 and System 2. Let System 1 take in the whole
breadth of the situation, and activate your intuition about what’s going on. Then deploy System
2 to analyse your intuition. Test it against the evidence. Check the details. Try some ‘what ifs’.

System 1 has a habit of jumping to conclusions. It is good at quick, instinctive choices.
Organisational life means more careful thought. By all means listen to System 1’s intuitions.
But then allow System 2 to think them through carefully and modify or reject them. Evidence is
your friend, and System 2 is the mode that knows how to assess it.

And so we come to System 2’s exclusive domain. Estimation, calculation and planning are all
System 2 activities. The more you can focus on the task and deal with the details, the more
successful you will be.

I dare not say there is no role for System 1 here. But I think it wise to say that any role it has, is
subordinate and minor.

What is Your experience of System 1 and System 2?

We’d love to hear your experiences, ideas, and questions. Please leave them in the comments

To learn more…
The book to read on this – and especially the errors System 1 makes on your behalf
is ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ (US|UK). This is the summary of Daniel Kahneman‘s life’s work.
And it is tremendously readable. If the ideas in it are new to you, I think it safe to say it will rock
your world.

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