08 August 2007

Mind Training & Investing


Our photo this week is Clas and me in 2004. We're on the boardwalk in Hilton Head Island, SC. Lots of good memories from that trip and I think about Clas quite a bit.

I wrote a short piece on my August training over at the Planet-X site. One error that I discovered this evening -- I ran an 11-23 cassette rather than a 12-27 // sometimes it's best not to know that you are overgeared for a TT. Amazing what we can do when we don' t realize it. I thought that I had a gearing advantage over the boys and that made the TT feel easier -- the edge was all in my head!

In a future article, or podcast, I'll be discussing "Going Pro" -- if you've got any questions that you'd like me to address then send them along via email -- I listed all our email addresses last time.

Sam's written another interesting piece for us on Alternative Perspectives -- it compares powermeters with flying an airplane.

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Investing
If you are thinking about buying assets in the next few months -- I'd pause and consider three probabilities...

a -- that your purchase will cost more in February next year
b -- that it will cost the same to make the investment in February next year
c -- that it will cost less to make the investment in February next year

For what it's worth, in housing, I expect that the worst that you'll do is pay the same price next year -- with yields low (in most markets) that, effectively, means that you will have saved money.

In our Scottish business, we've done very well locking in deals across the winter when conditions are uncertain. We did that with the tailwind of a strong liquidity environment -- with tighter debt markets, there will be attractive deals to be had for fully funded buyers. Within our property development joint venture, margins have started to expand again (after contracting for the last two years).

The press appear to have latched onto the fact that we are in a credit crunch. I don't see that. [Ed Note: Whoops! ECB injects e100 billion into the debt markets.] What I see is that we've moved to more 'normal' debt conditions with borrowers having to demonstrate ability to pay and offer security -- the numbers don't look like a crunch to me. There is a clear overhang of poor credits and marginal developments in many markets -- still, fairly priced, quality product in prime locations continues to attract good pricing.

I think that there is a decent chance that we'll move through our current, benign, conditions through to a real credit crunch. The global liquidity picture should be a bit more clear by early spring.

Greed continues to dominate fear in the markets that I follow. I'm overweight on cash and biding my time.

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Mind Training
I'm going to keep this as simple as possible because, I think, that we waaaay over-complicate mental skills training. Here's the way I see it...

First -- identify our habits and patterns
Second -- remove the "mind" from the playing field

Most of the literature that I real about sports psychology focuses on exercises and techniques to deal with Part One of the challenge. Create consciousness about what's going on upstairs. That is a powerful first step.

For me, what comes after that is shifting from being (unconsciously) controlled by our thoughts to (consciously) observing them. Personally, I don't hold much hope of being able to control my mind -- I merely want to observe it.

I think we all experience thoughts, patterns, habits that we'd like to change -- only a minority of folks seem to be able to pause (a fraction of a second) to gain control of the automatic response that our fears and habits generate within us.

That fraction of a second is the most valuable second in my life -- it is where I am able to achieve a handhold of control over my actions. That small element of control helps me with the many little decisions that, ultimately, form my reality.

It sounds 'new age' to state with certainty that I control my life, my reality. Is it really? Consider the opposite -- how many times have you experienced the complete lack of control over your destiny? Being controlled by automatic responses to people, situations, emotions -- having your mind click into autopilot leaving you unconsciously following along. I spent YEARS like that.

Coming back to athletics -- I found a great article in the archives to illustrate my point. Here is my 2001 Race Plan. I must have been pretty nervous because I considered just about everything! The Plan worked great but there's no way that I could have remembered all that stuff on race day.

Six years later, here's my race plan for August 26th...
Swim -- long strokes, peaceful mind
Bike -- smooth power, patience
Run -- hands up, ribs down, WIN

No prizes for guessing which race strategy is easier to remember. Six out of seven components are under my direct control for the duration of the event. The seventh is a reminder (to me) that racing is a test of will (at many levels).

More than being able to remember/execute. What I notice between 2001/2007 is that, over time, I have incorporated many of the "Phase One" lessons (of racing) into my life. I don't need to be reminded of them, they are part of my life. So when you are working through mental skills training; consider that the ultimate goal may be to get past the exercises.

In my life, the "not thinking" is often more valuable than the "thinking".

Cheers,
gordo

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