The fortunes of the two finalist teams seesawed, yet Team India held its nerves and pulled off an almost impossible victory from the jaws of defeat.

It’s common in sports to zero in on a match’s turning point. Most will point to the spectacular out-of-the-world catch by Surya Kumar Yadav of Miller. Good bet ! But not quite. Caught behind of Klassen ? Close but not so.

The real turning point in the match was just before Klaasen got out. If you go back to those frames of the match and check. What stands out was an innocuous Indian Wicket Keeper getting some band-aid done in his palms. It was an unscheduled pause. A break. The commentator was saying: India trying to slow down the match.

That brings us to the match’s turning point: something called “break state” in the lingo of NLP. So what is a “break state” and why it’s soo critical and crucial so much as being the turning point of the T20 Final match !?!•

A ‘break state’, is where someone suddenly interrupts their current state, and moves into a different one. It’s usually a break state that’s used to pull somebody out of an un-resourceful state into a neutral one. So they are more easily able to do what’s required to achieve their outcome. And that’s what Team India does: they went for the unscheduled break and slowed down the match in order to move from an un-resourceful to a resourceful state.

The breaking state has been incorporated into NLP techniques in anchoring. For example, a person is taken into a confident state, and the state is anchored. Now, the state of confidence would be broken so that one could test the trigger.

Breaking state is not some wishy-washy concept. It’s backed by Science.  According to brain expert Michael Merzenich, on the role of neuroplasticity in light of breaking state: “it’s the lifelong ability of the brain to reorganize itself based on our experiences.” Therefore, whenever we break state, we form a new pathway in our brains.

According to Norman Doidge, “Breaking a habit, or an addiction, requires the creation of a new brain circuitry.” So, breaking state could literally re-wire our brains and cause productive new habits to be expressed.

As Lisa Feldman Barrett, one of the top research experts on emotion and the brain, says, “Your brain creates your emotions based on your perceptions, interpretations, and expectations.” So, in effect, when we break state, we’re changing our perceptions and interpretations of the world around us. This can lead to a shift in our mood and behavior. Exactly what happened for Team India, as the breaking state at the end of the 15th over allowed them to reorganize, recoup, and turn over a new leaf.

Psychologist and author Susan David comments: “We can’t always choose our emotions, but we can choose what we do next.” As humans, we have the power within us to break free and choose a more positive route when held up in a negative state. Thereafter, Team India did the same via the unscheduled pause/break.

Cognitive scientist and author Ellen Bialystok says, “Breaking state can change the mind and body and enhance cognitive flexibility.”

According to neuroscientist and researcher Art Kramer, “Breaking state can enhance cognitive function via engaging in novel and challenging activities”. So when Indian wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant initiated the breaking state for the team via medical staff attending to his wrist/palm, his colleagues could also put their minds to thinking and doing things differently.

Neurologist and researcher Alvaro Pascual-Leone remarks: “The brain is the organ of change.” Indeed breaking state helped Team India turn the match on its head. In the very next over after the unscheduled break, Hardik Pandya went with the ball and bowled one away from the right-hander, nicking him to the keeper and picking up the wicket of the dangerous Heinrich Klaasen. For Klaasen, the breaking state acted as a brake to his fine run with the bat and moved him from a resourceful to an unresourceful state as he lost his concentration and edged to the keeper.

Breaking state used effectively can change the complexion of any competitive sport, battle, or war. Not surprisingly, the concept of breaking state has been applied by Team India rather strategically to rustle victory from the jaws of defeat.

NLP agnostic or otherwise, this brilliant tool has helped Team India trounce their opponents in a close-finish pressure match and the finals. Kudos!

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