4/7/17 - Peak Performance Distilled into One Exercise
This is the summation of my experience with peak performance. Interestingly enough, this single principle is universal regardless of discipline. Whether you’re seeking performance in the gym, in the office, or on the court, how you manage this single idea with determine how closely you operate to your overall potential. Said differently, this concept alone determines if you can or cannot reach peak performance.
Let’s do an activity. I want you to make two columns. In one column, you’ll list every possible detail of the performance in question that you have direct control over. In the other column, you’ll make a list of every conceivable factor that you do not have full control over.
While you may start to understand where I’m going with this, hear me out. Let’s take for instance a stereotypical situation in which we’d like to summon our very best performance: a job interview.
That which you can control:
Your research into the company/position/interviewer
Your focus inside the interview
That which you cannot control:
The interviewer’s opinion
The other candidates for the job
The things the company needs
The characteristics the company is looking for
The mood of the interviewer
The questions he/she will ask
The number of job openings
The applicants they will hire
The ideal answers to the interviewer’s questions
The interpretation of your answers by the interviewer
The job market
The economic landscape
While these are hypothetical lists and both could include more items, there are some general observations that I’ve come to know that are universally true. The list of things that which you can control is almost always shorter than the list of theoretical things that you cannot control. Secondly, the list of things that which you can control can almost always be distilled down into three main elements: your preparation, your effort, and your attitude.
While it is quite understandable, and even natural, to be concerned with many of the things listed in the list of things in which you cannot control, we must understand that any time or energy spent concerned with this column is wasted at best. At worse, this is time that could be utilized for things in the column of elements you can control. It is important to recognize, specifically in high performance situations, that the margins for compromised performance are much smaller. This means as we move closer to performance at our peak potential, there is less and less room to leak performance. It’s hear the consequences for under performance are highest. For example, while it might not matter if spending energy worrying about what your interviewer will think in a slam dunk interview, you can’t afford such inefficient energy expenditures in a scenario where only your best performance will do.
One the one hand, this drill is extremely effective in how black and white of a perspective of performance it can be, it’s also extremely difficult to master on the other hand. In fact, when we look at the world’s best in their respective crafts, you’ll notice universal compliance to this rule.
Dump all your energy into that which you can control and stoically ignore that which you cannot. While life’s uncertainty means success is never guaranteed, it’s with this strategy, and only with this strategy, that you’ll have the greatest chances for success.
Even: 10 DB Front Rack Lunges (50/30)
Odd: 4 Bar Muscle Ups