What is our personal best? Does it mean having to change the way we think about things? Who knows for certain? But one thing is for sure.
You know when you really feel good, and that means something. But what really makes you feel good? A new car? Yep. A vacation away? You bet. Recognition and a raise? Oh, Ya! Excelling at or being really good at something, like your job? Definitely. How about stretching yourself to perform a high-performance lifestyle? Say what?
I work as a Psychologist and have a special interest in working with highly successful people. First and foremost, I strive to understand the pressure that my clients face. To perform at our best – I understand – an optimal level of challenge and proficiency is required.
An ideal amalgam of personal ability, plus achievable high goals, is one component necessary for us to experience flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi), zone, peak performance, or feel stoked. For competitive non-athlete clients striving to consistently achieve their personal best, leveraging their strengths and skills without giving up intense energy is what seems to help move us toward our personal best in everyday life.
One theory that I’ve been considering for a while now suggests that to achieve optimal performance and perform at our best, it’s going to take more of us than ever before. Not more effort or intensity, but more of who you are as a person. If you want to achieve your personal best in any area of life, you’re going to have to get comfortable with personal development.
Whether we’re preparing for a presentation, sitting for an examination, aiming at exceeding targeted goals, or attempting to impress someone, what we used to consider our best, just might not cut it any longer. – Carol S. Pearson
Contemplating our personal best and searching for optimal experience may mean giving something extra. Our best simply isn’t what it used to be for any of us. Don’t take it personally. We’re going through a cultural correction. People, meaning all of us, are expecting more out of life.
Perhaps life as we’ve known it has been over-rated for quite some years now anyway. Its time has come. It’s time to turn over a new leaf. Achieving optimal performance doesn’t even have the same meaning for people as it once did. It’s not about trying harder, putting in more hours, and it’s definitely not about you being more intelligent or talented than others. Introducing “Positive Psychology.”
What Is Our Personal Best?
Psychologically, our personal best comes from getting to know ourselves very well and then using our natural talents and rhythms to our advantage. Our motivation quite naturally comes from our daily life. Whether you feel bad about something and just want to feel better, getting to know “why” and what it means to you just seems to make sense.
If you’re seeking weight loss, have a desire to attract beautiful people, or feel the need to perform at work, you’re going to want to be at your best. To bring out our best not only means getting to know our own psychology better, but it also means considering others. When we do think of others, they notice and really love and appreciate our efforts.
Consider yourself and others together and not one at the expense of the other. In a previous post, I referred to “Perfecting Your Process” as a way of getting the best out of ourselves. Today, our focus is on getting into our zone and feeling consistently stoked.
What Is Positive Psychology?
As part of the “Positive Psychology” movement, Otto Scharmer, author of “Theory U” and “Presencing,” discloses a process of keeping up with this cultural correction and becoming the best version of ourselves in the process. In “Perfecting Your Process,” I suggested that the better we can care for ourselves, the better our mental performance will be, and that translates into better performance overall. The better we perform, the more we can contribute to others. This is an added value. You cannot lose. Yes, in some ways, getting out our best is just that simple.
Today, change and competition have become such an important aspect of life that we have now reached a point in history, which demands greater effort, just to meet yesterday’s standards. Consider your parents or grandparents. Even if they were a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, their professional success didn’t require the same education today.
The same effort that has helped us achieve in the past is the same effort that will produce only mediocre results. We all want more, and we are finding ways to create it. The best among us are those who contribute to the quality of all our lives, not only their own.
Carol S. Pearson, author of the Hero Within, said “Virtually all of us understand that we are entering a time so challenging that qualities we once expected to find only in exceptional people now are required in everyone.”
I Have Inner Resources?
It is a time for all to recognize and to champion our “inner resources.“ Could we, ourselves be our best competitive advantage? We are more sophisticated now than ever.
Just a decade or so ago, the United States President made reference to “the nation’s journey.” Business texts regularly reference leaders’ “heroic journeys.” Today’s Psychology provides therapy that encourages clients to accept the challenges they have inherited, take up the struggle whatever it is, and create a life worth living.
But how? Seeing yourself on a journey is a metaphor that allows you to continuously improve without seeing yourself making mistakes, which would only bring you down emotionally. That would definitely NOT assist you in creating “your best.”
Allow ourselves to evolve, to grow, to develop beyond our wildest dreams. These are really the only dreams worth striving for, according to Elenor Roosevelt. They conjure up a mood that blends uncertainty with confidence, hopelessness with brilliance, and devastation with success.
This path is the epitome of mental health, without any of the types of therapy offered today. Integrating these ideas into your daily life will be time well spent. Such endeavors will lead us into “flow” experiences and into the best versions of ourselves.
Using Our Imaginations
Imagine yourself just slightly missing your target and achieving mediocre results. How do you feel just imagining this? Not great.
Now contrast this negative emotional feeling with a positively charged image of yourself throwing everything you’ve got into your next effort in an attempt to not merely meet expectations but to join the ranks of those who have exceeded them. Imagine achieving your objective. How does it feel emotionally? How does it feel physically? Superb, right?
Use the power of your imagination. Don’t just grit your teeth and put pressure on yourself. If you can’t practice a real-life situation, mentally prepare in your imagination. Consult your Psychologist of choice if need be.
Increase your self-knowledge. Learn more about some of your subtlest strengths and weaknesses. Then consciously and deliberately display your strengths, avoiding your weaknesses.
Image doing this. Improve your ability to be your best. This is the nature of sports psychology and is also the message put forward by Sam Parker. He refers to it as the “212th-degree,” the extra degree.
At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. And steam can power a locomotive.
This must become the type of image that you see in your mind. Increasing temperature by a single degree is sufficient to move a 130-ton locomotive. The smallest changes then can make all the difference in the world.
Let yourself step up and really engage with the image of struggling to join those who have already made it. Let yourself enter your “flow.” Whatever your personal best means to you, I think this will help. This will push you to the top!