The Map

The Map is our working model of human psychology from a performance point of view.

An understanding of your body’s systems and how they interact with the environment is fundamental to developing effective mental skills, managing your energy level, and maintaining motivation.

The Map provides an evolving perspective on how all the various systems come together to produce the subjective experience of performance.  It also gives us a picture of how these experiences relate to the objective outcomes that result.  Studying The Map helps us target an efficient and sustainable path to “the zone” of peak performance.

Some basic elements defined by The Map include:

Awareness can include sensory perception, thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and emotions.  Think of this as the brain’s “viewing screen” or mind.

Thoughts are patterns of mental activity that we experience as the “voice” of the mind.

Emotions are the psychological and physiological effects of chemicals (hormones) secreted by glands within the body in response to specific stimuli including stress.  Emotional responses can be provoked by experiences or thoughts (including dreams).

Motivation is the thing or things that drive you towards specific activities and goals.

Mental focus refers to the ability to concentrate your mental attention on a specific subject (i.e. person, event, problem) and in a specific time frame (i.e. now, in the past, in the future).

Alertness refers to your level of awareness and responsiveness.  Alertness also allows you to recognize when your concentration is drifting and restore ideal focus.

Stress exists whenever there is a difference between the present situation and the perceived “ideal” situation.

Recovery is the return of energy, focus, and motivation lost during events of stress.

Adaptation is a response to stress events that are followed by adequate rest, recovery, and reflection.

Learning is adaptation to mental stress – it involves identifying, understanding, and gaining insight from a problem.

Understanding means direct, logical insight into the cause or causes of any event or stressor.

Mental set points regulate your emotions and outlook the same way metabolic set points regulate hunger and body heat.  Mental set points can be adjusted with practice and discipline.

The zone is a state of concentrated awareness in which sensory perceptions directly initiate motor responses without the intervention of the thinking parts of the brain.  The zone is characterized by effortless reactions and “trance-like” focus.

Passion is a state of natural attraction and/or intrigue towards any given subject.

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