People 'play' sports and 'play' music, yet both involve hard work and discipline. Both are forms of self-expression, which require a balance of spontaneity and structure, technique and inspiration. Both demand a degree of mastery over the human body, and yield immediately apparent results which can give timely feedback to the performer. Since both sports and music are commonly performed in front of an audience, they also provide an opportunity for sharing the enjoyment of excellence, as well as the experience of pressures, fears and the excitement of ego involvement.
The primary discovery of the Inner Game is that, especially in our culture of achievement-oriented activities, human beings significantly get in their own way. The point of the Inner Game of sports or music is always the same -- to reduce mental interferences that inhibit the full expression of human potential. (Page 7)
The performance equation
The basic truth is that our performance of any task depends as much on the extent to which we interfere with our abilities as it does on those abilities themselves. This can be expressed as a formula:
P = p - i
In this equation P refers to Performance, which we define as the result you achieve - what you actually wind up feeling, achieving and learning, Similarly, p stands for potential, defined as your innate ability -- what you are naturally capable of. And i means interference - you capacity to get in you own way.
Most people try to improve their performance (P) by increasing their potential (p) through practicing and learning new skills.
The Inner Game approach, on the other hand, is to reduce interference (i) at the same time that potential (p) is being trained -- and the result is that our actual performance comes closer to our true potential. (Page 23 and 24)
Self 1 and Self 2
If you think about it, the presence of that voice in your head implies that someone or something is talking (it calls itself 'I'), and someone or something else is doing the listening. Gallwey refers to the voice that's doing the talking as Self 1, and the person spoken to as Self 2.
Self1 is our interference. It contains our concept about how things should be, our judgements and associations. It is particularly fond of the words 'should' and 'shouldn't', and often sees things in terms of what "could have been".
Self 2 is the vast reservoir of potential within each one of us. It contains our natural talents and abilities, and is a virtually unlimited resource that we cab tap and develop. Left to its own devices, it performs with gracefulness and ease. (Page 28)
Inner Game techniques can reduce the effects of self-interference and guide us toward an ideal state of being. This state makes it easier for us to perform at our potential by rousing our interest, increasing our awareness and teaching us to discover and trust our built-in resources and abilities. It is a state in which we are alert, relaxed, responsive and focused. Gallwey refers to it as a state of 'relaxed concentration', and calls it the 'master skill' of the Inner Game. (Page 35)