Henry Ford famously said
If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.
As we go through life, we all try to understand where we fit within our tribe, our herd, our pack, our crowd, our club, our team our organization, our company. We have an insatiable thirst to understand and establish our status, our exclusivity, where we belong. As human beings, we are as motivated by status and exclusivity as any pack animal. We all want to do our best and be successful and yet so many of us fail to achieve our targets. Why is it that some people are more successful than others? Why do some people succeed where others crash and burn? Why do some people thrive with risk when others become paralyzed? Why do some people hesitate when others strike? Why is that some people are filled with apprehensions while others are so certain?
Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.
When I work with elite performers, success is the ultimate goal. They are measured by the success they deliver, be it personally or with a team. Let me focus on one aspect of that success goal – our mindset and the magic it can give us.
After 30 years of experience, I can say with a degree of certainty that the primary determinant of success isn’t talent or experience, it’s mindset. I’ve had the opportunity of working with very high performing people and teams, and I have been lucky to learn so much from them.
Consider the professional athletes who have reached heights of success that seem abnormal: the likes of Roger Federer, Usain Bolt, Ronaldo, Tiger Woods, Steve Smith. They’ve mastered their craft, but their mindsets also set them apart from their peers.
What do they do differently to reach peak performance?
Many of them are not trying to win someone’s approval or show that they’re good enough. The just know they are good. These people have a huge competitive advantage. It is a proven fact that human beings are at their best when they’re in the zone. This so called ‘zone’ is a balance of excitement and awareness, involving deep concentration and full immersion in the very activity one exhibits high levels of skill mastery in, combined with total self-confidence and an automaticity of performance. In fact, we are at our best when we don’t even think and just rely on physical and muscle memory.
We know that it’s the mental game counts so much, whether in sports or business. This is because the mind is controlling the body.
The world’s best athletes hold little resemblance to others. Sure, they compete in the same sport and go through the same motions. But what enables the best to operate at exceptional levels goes beyond just exceptional physical ability.
The best athletes in the world don’t just do things better, they do things differently, particularly those things that occur between their ears.
I remember asking the top batsman in the world what was going through his head when he was at the stumps and he said, “Nothing”. I hear many in sports psychology saying, “Well, the person who’s the better performer … they think differently.”
The reality is not that they think differently. It’s that they don’t think.
It’s the absence of thought. They have already seen the result. They have watched the video in their head of what will happen next. They just replay that video. It’s the absence of cognition. It’s the absence of emotion. That is the advantage really.
Nick Saban, the famous coach of LSU and Alabama – perhaps the most dominant dynasty in the history of US college football – says:
Don’t think, just follow the process and the process is about finishing.
The top performers have visualised the end game. They know how it’s going to end. They have prepared for finishing, while most of us prepare for starting. Finishing games. Finishing workouts. Finishing film sessions. Finishing drives. Finishing reps. Finishing plays. Finishing shots. Finishing preparations, Finishing blocks. Finishing the smallest task now you have right in front of you and finishing it well.
Elite athletes perform tasks that many of us could never comprehend but what is fascinating is their mindset when tackling such challenges. When some decisions can be the difference between success and failure, it is perhaps unsurprising that operating mind muscle consistently gives you a competitive edge when performing their tasks. A few .001 seconds or a minuscule per cent improvement may not sound much but this is a long time in sport and is the difference between winning and losing.
The winning mindset requires work and practice with a fierce dedication to your vision.
When I coach, I put top performers through a 100-day plan where we measure them against five key behaviours (5M©). I ask them to measure themselves twice a day against these statements, once in the morning with a score to achieve that day, and then at night with a reality check on how they did. Over 100 days we embed a ThinkZone – FeelZone – PlayZone way of living, practicing and playing, with a commitment to finishing any process harder and faster than they started.
Most of us go through the day thinking all day long. Thinking in a random, disordered, frivolous way. That’s what the mind does. It thinks, and you’re either aware of the thought or you’re not, but you’re thinking all the time. Focus on the process and on where are you ending. Then drive the process to finishing that!
The Mindset Magic© is the way of performing for success
The Mindset Magic © is an intensive coaching programme developed and delivered by Dr Maurice Duffy, one of the world’s leading names in performance. From elite football, cricket and rugby to global businesses and international politics, Maurice’s expertise is behind some of the world’s most successful leaders and teams. If you want to learn more email email@example.com