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Importance of relaxing while stressing
An interesting article about how people need to relax while doing sports in order to achieve the best results. (It's a NY Times article, so is obviously badly written and no point of reading more than the first half, but still interesting). It describes how, for instance, when running you should relax your upper body.

I can say personally how important it is to stay relaxed while playing the piano, or in more serious driving, though you can see less professional people extremely tense while doing any of these stressful actions. But one more activity I wanted to add was in writing a thesis. More precisely in finishing your thesis, which is my current situation, I hope. It is strange the importance of keeping your composure, and staying relaxed, in this extremely stressful time, and so I found this article nice in explaining it to me through seeing it in a very different area.

I also would like to turn your attention to the extremely stupid picture the NYT decided to use to illustrate the article. As usual, kudos for the deep understanding.
Hi Jessica,

just came across your post and wanted to reply. When I understood something similar, it was a very important realization for me. You just feel the immense focus of concentration which comes with retreating to a vantage point where one is completely aware, relaxed, sailing a safe distance from the shore and really at sea, not caught up in the stress of choppy waves near land.

I think that in order to do good work which both engages with your time but is not caught up in it, you need to have quite a lot of self-discipline to stay out of the vast array of petty struggles and constant jockeying for position which happen in any field --- in sight of the shore but not too near it -- far enough away to feel the immensity beneath you and off to one side, the vast possibilities of movement. This was what struck me reading the interesting exchange about working in cafes post.  A space where one is open to the possibilty of interaction, but is importantly not a salon, nor a discussion: a public space where people can be alone together.  With all the emphasis on collaboration these days it is easy to miss this crucial feature of serious academic or artistic work.
You can almost see the relaxation in great performances. For instance, here is Secretariat winning the Preakness in 1973. He starts out last. For those of you who don't have two minutes, he makes his move at about 1.05. Obviously he is competitive, but he just glides... nothing like him before or after.
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Latest Post: April 17, 2009 at 12:20 AM
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