What athletes call "heart" is fundamentally a super solid understanding of our strengths, our weaknesses, our readiness and our reserves.
We work to build our strengths. We work to bypass or eliminate our weaknesses. We monitor and exploit our day-to-day readiness. Over time, our reserves grow. Heart grows.
I'm not talking about your physical heart at all. I'm talking about your grit, your determination, your will, your focus. The ephemeral and amazing connection between your body and mind.
Believe it or not, that body-mind connection is very measurable and very possible to develop.
These thoughts crystallized for me recently with the help of a fellow Boulder company, Aspen Neurofeedback. Aspen's sports lab division took a 15-minute scan of my brain activity (video above) and, in the report that followed, confirmed and developed much of what we're doing with the DeepFit platform.
What a brain scan like this tells you is that you have certain emotional "set points" or common tendencies. You have certain cognitive strengths and (unfortunately) some obstacles. You have a personal relationship to time, memories and goals. And you can gradually mold and change all of it to make yourself a better athlete.
You can gradually build smarter heart.
I think of it as 3 levels of progression. I'll use a music analogy to describe this growth.
- Old-school pop radio. Turn on your radio anywhere in the world and, every now and then, you'll hear a song you like. Same goes for your body-mind connection when you are first starting out as an athlete. Every now and then, you get into the right zone and everything works. You feel good.
- An iTunes playlist. Collect a bunch of songs that you consistently like and what do you have? A good playlist. Same goes for the cognitive pathways you build for yourself as you improve within your sport. You're starting to hit a good rhythm and you're enjoying it more consistently. Your body-mind connection is growing at a nice rate.
- Spotify. This is smart radio. It extends your favorite playlists into the entire musical universe, including bands and songs you never would have discovered on your own. Similarly, as your body-mind connection grows, as heart grows, it's no longer playing stuff you don't like and it's not playing all the same songs on shuffle. You're making new discoveries all the time and they're all helpful, even if you have to thumbs-down a few of them.
Which level are you at right now? Does it change from day to day and week to week? DeepFit can be your virtual coach, helping you see and understand how that process is going. Over time, we want all our athletes to have the smartest hearts on earth!