Dial Back on Arousal to Reach Highest Performance

Volume 2, Issue 3

Science verifies the Vedas, Tantra, Qabala, and other ancient ideas

Hope you’re enjoying the new “2-minute read” format.

Thousands of years ago, individuals who trained themselves to be introspective all learned the same wisdom about the mind, in Greece and Egypt as in India and elsewhere. I’ve also rediscovered those bits of wisdom in a lifelong self-training to be an objective introspective observer — so as to really learn things and not just prop up my own ego, as we are all mostly forced to do by the information overload pressure that all too often sinks us into EOP.

The ancient wisdom even more applicable in today’s accelerating culture says that if we care too much we ruin it. Whatever “it” is. The word “attachment” is the meme of this wisdom, the gene from which a Pandora’s Box of linked ideas emerge.

Some became Buddhists, but most of the kids in my college class went on with their lives with their attachment level dialed way up, and this caused them painful life lessons from which they have grown up and consequently dialed down their attachment levels.

Although we find it expedient to ignore ancient wisdom, believing our science to be light-years ahead, science is only now coming to the same conclusions as the ancients but by humorously roundabout trips. If only psychology had listened to William James and seen introspection as a valuable tool of science. Science today would be accelerating into Observer and Flow state discoveries, leapfrogging over my mere intuitions and practical experience.

Consider the following “now-scientific” evidence. The widely-accepted Yerkes-Dodson law in psychology says that the optimal level of arousal for highest performance is moderate — a word Aristotle would also have chosen.he inverted U-shapes relationship between arousal and performance,  known as the Yerkes-Dodson law, interacts with the complexity of the task.

Note that arousal should be set even lower for more difficult tasks. Not rookie over-eagerness, but a fatalism that is above caring about success or failure — kind of a playful fun resignation to whatever outcome the universe chooses, so long as you like your play.

Arousal in this context means the same thing as the mental causes of physical and brainstem arousal — we call these motivations. If we are attached, meaning too highly motivated such that not succeeding would be anguishing — then we are not going to give our highest Flow state (Zone) performance.

Dial back the arousal. In future posts we will address the next question: how does one actually do that?

Best to all,


4 thoughts on “Dial Back on Arousal to Reach Highest Performance

  1. Pingback: The L-Offense in the Room | Bill Harvey Blog

  2. Pingback: Probability of Winning Is Proportional to Acceptance of Losing | Bill Harvey Blog

  3. Anna Crane

    Love the new format! I can get a hit of Bill Harvey when before I just didin’t have time to get back to the post.
    Thanks so much and warmest regards, Anna


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