Over the years I have taken the opportunity to learn as much as I can about the differences between ultra-successful people and the rest of the people on the planet. It is my ultimate goal to achieve total mastery of my own life, and to share the tools and techniques I learn with anyone who cares to follow Success on the far Side of Fifty.
Todays post is a compilation of a variety of principles that people have used to become world-class in one or more fields of achievement. I have gleaned these strategies from the bios of the worlds greatest performers including; Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods, Bill Gates, Tim Ferris, Richard Branson, Will Smith, Brian Tracy, Jim Carrey and Warren Buffet. Given that there are more than 7 high performance habits that the best of the best use consider this one of a series of posts around this topic. Please read on to learn;
7 High Performance Habits you need to cultivate
Funny enough the people who achieve remarkable success commonly use a number of similar tools and techniques to achieve their dreams.
1.) High performers believe in their ability to be something more
Each and every person who achieves something of note has developed the ability to believe in their ability. But contrary to popular belief most of the very successful people were not born with some mystical gift of unshakable belief. They experience periods of doubt just like the rest of us, but choose to continue moving forward despite their doubts. Truly successful people build their self-belief by overcoming setbacks and challenges.
True self-confidence is created when one overcomes a challenge that had previously seemed impossible, by overcoming past failures and moving beyond self-imposed limitations.
“The first step is to say that you can” – Will Smith
2.) High performers are used to being uncomfortable
There is little or no growth to be found within our comfort zones. We don’t get stronger muscles by lifting weights that have become easy for us; we earn bigger muscles by lifting progressively heavier weights. We need to strategically challenge our capabilities.
Most new experiences feel uncomfortable at first; that is simply the nature of things. And the more difficult something is; the more uncomfortable it is.
First dates feel awkward for most people as does the first day on a new job.
But if you give it a chance the strangeness passes and before long you feel like right at home in your new situation.
The more uncomfortable the situation, the greater the growth potential and greatness only comes through years of living at the extreme edge of our comfort zone.
“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” – Brian Tracy
3.) High performers balance learning and doing
World class performers are dedicated learners. They are dedicated to getting better at their craft, but they know that they have to balance learning and doing.
Commitment to continuous learning is always a great investment of time. Taking the time to study and learn always shortcuts the road to success. However many people spend far too much time thinking, reading and planning and far too little time actually doing.
While learning from books, videos, and podcasts are is always helpful the real learning comes from doing.
Famed author Malcom Gladwell asserts that studies have shown that, generally, it take about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice (doing) to become world-class in most endeavors, including sports, music and business.
Gladwell expresses the opinon that people are generally not born with genius; they earn it through hard work and deliberate practice.
If you want to learn more about Malcom’s 10,000 hour rule click HERE.
So if you really want to get good at something be prepared to put in effort. If you want to get really good at it you need to combine that effort with strategy for improvement.
The quote that comes to mind for me here reads;
“Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”
The big secret here is to get out and get busy doing things. But as you are engaging in your activities always be looking for ways to improve. Look at failure, criticism and a lack of progress as the feedback you need to get better.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie
4.) High performers commit to a specific field for extended periods of time
The vast majority of people (including myself at times) fail to achieve greatness because they simply don’t choose a direction and stick with it.
World class golfers spend huge chunks of their time around a golf course. They practice and they play and they play and they practice for years.
Great musicians dedicate massive amounts of time learning their craft, as do writers, professional speakers, actors, and business people.
Getting great takes commitment and overnight successes are usually years in the making.
“It’s not that I’m so smart, I just stay with problems longer,” – Albert Einstein
5.) High performers use mentors, role models and coaches
One of the shortest and surest ways to greatness is to have a world-class performer show you the ropes.
Imagine how successful you could be at business if you had Bill Gates or Warren Buffet to take you under their wing and show you their strategies. How fit, strong and muscular could you become if Arnold Schwarzenegger became your training coach.Do you think that having a mentor like Steven King would help you become a successful author?
Mentors, role models and coaches are critical.
But, if like most of us, you don’t have access to world-class talent you still have great options.
You can go on-line and learn as much about the experts in your field. You can learn their strategies and employ them to your own advantage.
You can also find someone in your particular field has more experience and back ground than you and then ask them for their advice. As a personal note I often track down people who are better at something than I am and ask them for their help. My personal experience is that they always say yes and I always walk away having learned something.
Your coaches, mentors and role models don’t have to be world-class, they just have to be better than you.
“There is no shortage of knowledge out there….Just a shortage of asking for help,” – Unknown
6.) High class performers balance effort with recovery
If you want to be great you have to optimise your effort on both a long and a short-term basis.
Failure to plan for recovery on a long-term basis causes mental and physical burn out. This then can result in physical and mental health issues as well as boredom and lethargy. Burnout is one of the biggest threats to otherwise world-class performers. These talented, hard-driving people can push so long and so hard they can emotionally and physically collapse. This happens to doctors, lawyers, engineers, politicians, and sports figures.
The treatment is simple but not easy; learn to disengage and take time to recover both mentally and physically.
On a short-term basis most of us can only concentrate deeply for about 25 minutes. With practice and discipline we can learn to keep going for about 1 hour. Once we exceed our effective concentration threshold both the quality and quantity of our work diminishes. Studies have shown that brief periods of rest can improve our ability to focus on difficult tasks for long periods of time. You can find an article about one such study HERE
A general strategy is to work harder for short duration of time; say 25 to 50 minutes then take a short break. I cover off more about this strategy in the next section of this blog.
If you want to perform at a very high level make sure you take time to recover.
“REST (it’s part of the program.) muscles are torn in the gym, fed in the kitchen and built in bed.” – Unknown
7.) World class performers make great use of their time
One of the biggest differences between ultra-high performers and everyone else is how they use their time. High performers know that time is their greatest asset and use it accordingly.
As an example the average person checks their email 36 time per hour, if they only spend one minute checking email each time that means over half their day checking email, the majority of which are not particularly important.
Personally I strongly believe in utilizing the Pomodoro Technique. While using this technique I set my phone timer for 52 minutes and then I work, uninterrupted, for that entire time. Once the timer goes off I take a 10 minute stretch break and then I do it all over again.
You would simply be amazed by the increase in productivity you can realize by using this technique.
“One always has time enough, if one will apply it well,” – Goeth
Thank you for reading;
7 High Performance Habits you need to cultivate
If you really want to up your productivity check out my previous post called Five Quick and Easy Ways to Save Hours a Day
This post gives you five great techniques that will literally save you hours each and every day.
Life is about progress not perfection.
As always thank you for reading success on the far side of Fifty and feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment.