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Goals & Learning From Mindball
Photo by Serhii Holdin

Several years back, I was visiting the Science Museum in Vancouver with my kids and we came across a super interesting game called Mindball.

The game requires two players two players to sit at opposite ends of a table and wear a headband that is equipped with electrodes connected to the table.

The game begins with a ball placed in the centre of the table.

With the aid of the electrode-equipped headband, each player then attempts to mentally push the ball over the line at the opponent’s end of the table. Whoever does this first wins.

During the game, the ball moves back and forth.

But here’s the catch. The brain’s Alpha and Theta waves are actually affected by how calm/anxious and relaxed/active you are.

So, when the ball starts to approach your end of the table and you sense you’re losing, you naturally become more anxious and compensate by trying to exert more mental pressure to push the ball away. But in doing so, you risk the opposite outcome.

In effect, the more relaxed you are, the greater your chance at pushing the ball away. In contrast, the more anxious you become, the greater your risk of losing.

So the strategy is to remain as calm and relaxed as possible to push the ball toward your opponent.

The Mindball game is an intriguing illustration of how our mental states affect our performance and results. Often, pushing harder only sometimes provides better outcomes, especially in the nonlinear world.

Keep this in mind when working towards specific goals and objectives. Sometimes, when we push too hard against our plans, we risk unintentionally preventing the success we want, like Mindball.

There's a certain joy in embracing a state of comfort and flow in our endeavors, being calm and relaxed, being open about things opening up along the way, and being receptive to the unintended or undiscovered.

This doesn't imply we cease striving toward our objectives; instead, do it with patience and calmness.

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