THE TRICKY thing about analysis is that you think you’re doing something useful – checking, making sure – when in fact you’re simply paralysed and unable to act.

Usually it’s some deep inner voice that holds us there, some core belief we picked up in childhood. In my case it was simply, ‘You’re an idiot, man!’ That sentence is deeply buried and flickers past like the notorious Coke ad spliced into a movie reel, and everything that follows – the other 34 frames a second of thought – seem to make sense: all my arguments appeared so reasonable. When I managed for a few seconds to get outside myself – like Einstein’s man watching from outside the train – I saw that while I thought I was moving, in fact I was sitting still.

To break the habit of analysis is the hardest thing to do, precisely because the very mind that does the analysis justifies itself doing it. It’s like being the judge at your own trial: you’re invested in believing your alibi. To get through it you have to make decisions that go against your mind, and you have to stick to them – you have to distrust your thoughts as mental spew and nothing else, and a good coach will help you to do that.