What seeds must you sow to reap success? What seeds must you sow to experience joy? What seeds must you sow for these to grow? We have more opportunities at our fingertips than ever before. And we have more distractions vying for our eyeballs than ever before. But the most valuable things in life are borne of one simple principle, yourself at your peak.
To reach peak performance, you must learn how to engage in the right behaviors and habits. Peak performance isn’t something that is forced. When you operate on that level, you register no effort in spite of the intensity and durations you can engage in. Because what you really tap into is a state of total self-coherence where you are in the optimal state of resonance.
Here are 4 things you need to access your peak performance:
Clean up your mind and get good at cleaning it. Fuzzy thinking, over thinking and overcorrection are some of the biggest culprits of lackluster performance. Our mind runs our body. Lack of clarity is lack of presence. Lack of presence is lack of ability. Lack of ability is lack of performance. By achieving mental clarity you create the space that allows your mind to function at its best.
Clarity improves your intelligence, mood and creativity. An overactive brain is a dysfunctional brain. When your thoughts run in opposing directions, your faculties are split. But most importantly is that you want mental bandwidth on reserve rather than to blow it all on unnecessary anxieties. Otherwise, just like a computer, you overheat and the whole system loses its essential functions. You might know this as mini burnouts, mental fog, and scatter-mind.
What you can do to increase your clarity is to distinguish the noise from the information. That is the imaginings from the ongoings. This will not only train your meta-intelligence, but also the precision and speed of your reasoning skills. Ultimately leading to a state of presence where you are free to give your best with undue stress, anxiety and blockages out of the way.
“A lack of clarity could put the brakes on any journey to success.” – Steve Maraboli
The discriminatory skills of clarity and the resulting space lead to the next element to optimize your performance: focus. Your best performance occurs when you mobilize all your abilities onto the same point. Just like a laser beam that delivers more energy and heat to a surface when it is focused on the smallest possible spot.
However, focus is not only additive but subtractive. Your ability to focus is greatly correlated with your amount of disposable energy. The less energy you have at your disposal, the more your mind will push you toward immediate gratification. You will notice an increase interest in peripheral matters with quick gratification cycles. It is a smart, unconscious mechanism to prevent us from chasing a goal at a distance our stamina can’t match.
You want to define clear goals to lock your focus on. The more relevant the goals, the more exciting their pay-off, the easier it is to focus on them. And you can hack that by connecting with the experience of its accomplishment.
Here, it can make sense to lie to yourself to perform in beast mode. While a little self-deception can go a long way, the true power of focus lies in its singularity. And to achieve singularity of focus, you need to not only define a clear goal but also set aside all the conflicting ones.
3. Generative capacity
Generative capacity is the most important element on this list. Why? Capacity is the ability of your abilities. That is the ease with which you can access the things you can do in situations when they are difficult to do. Anyone can perform when the context is right, but only those with capacity can perform when the context is unfavorable. Generative is related to production and reproduction. That means to produce more than to waste. Generative capacity is the ability to do what you can do even when it is difficult, and the drive to increase that across domains while generating even more.
To develop your generative capacity you must learn to make your skills and abilities less context dependent. What separates top performers from good performers is the ease with which they have access to their faculties. This allows them to go from zero to a hundred without effort and relax again when they need to. And this degree of self-mastery is the most important factor to reach your peak state of performance.
You can train your generative capacity by exercising your skills under adverse conditions. And by barring yourself from using your best solutions, and devise new ones under those very same conditions. While it may seem simple, most people are only incentivized to step outside their comfort zone when it is too late. Peak performers become most visible in times of crisis with their ability to keep a cool head and vital presence to do the impossible. But increasing your generative capacity will also make all the skills you already have more powerful and consistent.
“To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking.” – Goethe
Flow is a state of radical self-coherence where your clarity, focus and capacity converge upon one task. You might know this from being in the zone when things just seem to fall into place. This single minded immersion has a powerful effect on your mind, as it burns away your limiting beliefs and puts your totality at your service.
What makes the state of flow so extraordinary is that your sense of time, effort and self dissolve. This has massive implications for your energy levels, which in the zone seem infinite, your cognitive abilities, which ignite without resistance, and your passion, which elevates your mood into a form of ecstasy.
There are two ways of reaching flow. The synthetic way and the organic one. Synthetic flow works by adjusting the external conditions to make it more conducive for you to reach the state. Organic flow focuses on the internal triggers to reaching flow, making it more robust and context independent. And while most of the flow literature is focused on the synthetic means to reaching it, it is not useful in the context of true peak performance.
The best way to reach flow is by learning how to master yourself. By learning certain meditation techniques, such as Resonance and Mindfulness, you can develop the capacity to ignite the state of flow from mere memory. Their means of reaching of organic flow that allow you tap into your muscle-mind memory to summon the state at will. This makes your level of performance not only robust and consistent, but playful and effortless.