Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The Greatest Performance Mistake We Make

In the recent article outlining three principles of performance grounded in positive psychology, one of those principles involved the importance of managing your experience first and foremost.  Drawing on the Einstein quote, that means prioritizing and engaging in the activities that are associated with the physical, emotional, and cognitive states you most want to sustain.  What we do from hour to hour each day shapes our experience, and that determines the resources we're able to devote to the work, play, and relationships most important to us.

The challenge is to staying burning without burning out.  We want to live positive, energized, exciting, meaningful lives and yet somehow we find ourselves engaged in activities that take more energy than they give.  If daily experience does not incorporate activities that are renewing, we eventually deplete our resources.  How do we stay productive, loving, and creative when we're burned out?

Tom Rath, in his recent work, outlines three important elements in staying fully charged:  1) meaning; 2) interactions; and 3) energy.  We renew ourselves when we:

*  Engage in activities we find meaningful; that directly express our deepest values and beliefs;
*  Engage in interactions that are interesting, rewarding, caring, and loving;
*  Engage in energizing activities that stimulate and challenge us, from physical exercise to pursuing goals.

Rath notes research suggesting that only 11% of people surveyed report having a great deal of energy.  Ironically, we would never drive a car that operated as inefficiently as we do in our own daily lives.

The greatest mistake we make is that we prioritize the things we need to get done rather than the states in which we best achieve our desired ends.  If we match the frequency of the reality we wish to achieve, we're far more likely to live that reality.

Further Reading:  Why We Fall Short Of Our Potential