When you think of the word “calm” what kind of images and feelings does it elicit in you? The image above is a perfect example of something we might think of when conjuring up the word “calm.” We might picture a serene lake landscape that looks like glass. We might picture a sunset alongside a very cool breeze. We might picture a person meditating with the sound of rain in the background. These are all appropriate and all normal reactions to this word.
As far as our feelings go, when we think of calm we think “serenity.” We think “relaxed.” We think of a scenario where a person is completely at ease with zero cares in the world. We think of “chill.” The last thing we think of is excitement or energy. Rarely do we associate the word calm with anything that’s “lively.” In fact, here are quite literally the definitions of calm:
- not showing or feeling nervousness, anger, or other strong emotions.
- (of the weather) pleasantly free from wind
- the absence of violent or confrontational activity within a place or group.
- the absence of wind.
You don’t have to be calm to be calm
But here’s the thing when it comes to being calm. I argue that you don’t have to be calm to be calm. You don’t have to be in a meditative state to have calmness. You don’t have to be drifting along a placid lake to have calm. There doesn’t need to be quiet to for there to be calm.
The calm I’m talking about is the calm within yourself. As cheesy as that may come off, I’m dead serious. Some of the most energetic and magnetic people in the world don’t look like they are calm at all, but in reality they have more calm than most of us.
Michael Jordan was calm on the court
When people think of Michael Jordan playing basketball, calm isn’t always the biggest word that comes to mind. Often times we might hear terms like “assassin,” “clutch,” “greatest of all-time,” “competitive,” and a ton more. While we certainly would agree that Michael Jordan was one of the most calm, cool and collected players on the court, it certainly doesn’t look that way when he’s dunking in someone’s face.
But if you go back to the definition above, Michael Jordan was the epitome of calm. While he may not have been sitting idle in some sleepy way, Jordan’s fierce competitiveness and incredible ability came with a great deal of calm. Jordan rarely showed his emotions on the inside. Even when he was barking at players and trash talking to get a rise out of himself and other people, there was an inner calm that no one could match.
Jordan knew he was the best player on the court at any given moment, and that internal confidence or “calm” as I like to call it, is one of the biggest reasons for his success. The calm I’m talking about is unwavering. It’s always there. It’s something you can lean on.
How do we achieve calm?
This is a question that would likely take a few books to answer. The short answer is that some people are in fact wired this way. Some of us have a natural internal calm and we’re extremely lucky that events, big or small, have relatively little effect on how we feel on the inside.
But for the majority of us, achieving calm is a constant process. In my opinion there’s a completely linear relationship between inner calm and self confidence. The more self confident we are the better our inner calm will be. Some may even argue that these two things are identical.
And when it comes to confidence, that is in fact something we can work on. Confidence is achieved through victories, big or small. And I’m not talking about victories as in sports (though those certainly count as well). I’m talking about victories within yourself. If you set out to clean your room one day and you do it, that’s a victory. It’s a win that you can build on.
The more little wins we can achieve, we then move onto bigger victories, so on and so forth. And the goal is to get it to the point where we have complete confidence in our ability to achieve our goals. As I said there are books upon books about this stuff but luckily your’re on a website where I talk about these subjects on a daily basis.
What do you do to become calm?