I’m deeply curious about why some people perform in key moments and others do not.
As an example, it seems crazy to me that an athlete with the same level of fitness and physical preparation can perform at the top of their game one day and fail miserably the next. To anyone who has played or been asked to perform in key moments, the answer seems simultaneously obvious yet elusive.
The sports world is full of cliche phrases like ‘The game is 90% mental.’ But, what does that really mean? And what should we do about it?
For me, the curiosity started on the playing field with my teammates. I simply wanted to be a better baseball player and teammate throughout high school and college. Later, the same mental hurdles presented themselves during many years of rock and mountain climbing. And lately, I’m seeing the same themes of mental performance consistently emerge as a product leader and coach to individuals and teams in the world of software.
For the purposes of this investigation, the venues and definitions of ‘performance’ are wide-ranging and intentionally left open. It could be a big test in school, an anticipated job interview, a competitive sporting event, or a critical presentation at work. The challenges may appear different, but fundamentally it’s the story of humans confronting an obstacle, equipped with their mind.
This leads to questions like:
What mental preparation help people perform to their potential?
What do the best do that we might replicate?
What can we learn and apply from mindfulness teachings?