Peak Performance, Experimental Mindset, and Accepting Mistakes

It’s not an experiment if you know it’s going to work. - Jeff Bezos

Peak Performance is Effortless

A runner is running at his top speed, challenging the human limits, moving each muscle in his body as fast as possible. His body is moving at a very high speed, but inside his mind, he is in a meditative state.

The master of a skill doesn’t put in conscious effort while performing the act. The mind only slows down the performer.

In a cricket match, when the ball leaves from the hand of a bowler, do you think the batsman can consciously judge the spin of the ball, where it will hit the ground, and which shot to play on the ball speeding towards him at 150 km/hr?

It’s easy for the commentators to look at the ball in slow motion and decide which shot would have been perfect, but it’s not possible to do in real-time. If the batsman tries to do this consciously, he will be slow and won’t be able to hit the ball in time. The batsman must trust his training and play effortlessly; as soon as he starts to calculate, his performance goes down.

How to cultivate effortlessness?

Practice.

The more you practice, the deeper the connections are made inside the neural networks of your brain. When the real situation arises to test your practice, get your mind out of the way of your brain, and let the programmed neural network of your brain do its job.

Living Life with an Experimental Mindset

The easiest way to introduce anxiety in your life is to get attached to the numbers. However, no matter which goal you are chasing, tracking numbers is important. Peter Drucker said: “What gets measured, gets managed”.

Measuring is important. But getting attached to the numbers will reduce your performance, and add anxiety to your life.

An act is best performed when you are enjoying the act itself and not thinking about the outcome. But not all activities of life are so engaging. What to do about that?

Cultivate an experiment mindset. See all your life’s desires as experiments. And remember this:

It’s not an experiment if you know it’s going to work. - Jeff Bezos

No one can say what exactly will be the output of your inputs, or whether it will be favorable or disastrous. But once you start seeing everything as an experiment, failure loses its negative weight; in fact, it becomes important to you.

With an experimental mindset, you start to learn from the unfavorable outcomes and adjust your inputs accordingly. The use results just to improve and track your progress; you don’t attach your ego with it.

Don’t let your Mind Rationalize your Mistakes

Your mind doesn’t like to be seen as a fool, especially by yourself. So it often tries to rationalize your mistakes. This is one big trap that everyone should avoid because if you don’t realize your mistakes, you are more likely to repeat them. Your ego gets in the way of your own growth.

How does one catch his mind when it’s trying to rationalize his mistakes? By being aware of his thoughts. But that’s not normal behavior. Most people live in autonomous mode; they react, but never look for the source of that reaction.

I am not asking you to judge your reactions, but analyze your reactions, try to see which emotions triggered it, and which thoughts are playing in your head at that time.

For example, when you get angry, pay close attention to the cause of your anger. Sometimes you get angry because you’ve made a big mistake and your mind is trying to avoid accepting it.


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