This Year, Learn How to Perform Perfectly
The excitement of the Super Bowl has come and gone, but I’m still thinking about the last Vikings game of the season.
They went into the NFC Championship coming off a come-from-behind, last-second touchdown win. They were 3-point favorites while playing at an opponent’s stadium, and that opponent was leaning on their backup quarterback.
Most of the talking heads picked us to win the game and come back home for a Minnesota Super Bowl (the first one since 1992). The whole state was thrilled.
But then, they lost by 31 points.
So we got the Eagles and the Patriots. Ugh.
We’ll all be out there filling the seats of U.S. Bank Stadium again next year, trying to forget that our squad was one game away from the big one. Meanwhile, we’re all left to wonder: what happened?
If you want the long answer, you can read all about it here. The short answer is that they didn’t achieve peak performance.
You know what performance is, but just so we’re on the same page: performance is the execution of a task.
Performance is the same in all fields. The skills being utilized are different, but the process is the same. In terms of what it takes to perform well, our A+ students are doing the same thing as your high school’s star athletes and the musicians locking up full-ride scholarships.
At its core, preparation is the product of:
- Mental preparation
- Emotional control
When you fail to execute in one or more of these areas, performance suffers.
Kicking Off a Year of Performance Preparation
Whether your favorite activities are academic, athletic, or artistic, you take pride in performing at a high level. How well we perform is tied to our confidence and overall self-esteem. When we struggle, it hurts. When we succeed, we celebrate.
We want you to succeed more often, so this year we’re going to show you how to master the science of performance.
Obviously, our strategies will be particularly powerful in the classroom. However, we also have insights that will help you in job interviews, up on stage, and out on the field!
What to Expect in 2018
Assuming you put in enough practice, success under stressful circumstances comes down to the mental game. How you approach problems (including changing conditions) makes all the difference. Our techniques keep you calm under pressure and prevent anxiety from crippling your focus.
But we don’t have a monopoly on performance.
We know lots of people who have insights worth sharing. That’s why we’re developing materials that will draw on the experiences of teachers, coaches, and various performers in and around the Twin Cities region.
In some cases, we may even turn our eyes to worlds of entertainment, professional sports, or politics. Wherever there are opportunities to improve your performance, we’re ready to dive in head first. You’ll find lots of content on our blog and a steady stream of videos on our YouTube channel.
You Perform Better When You’re Happy
Positivity affects performance. For one thing, it helps you think more clearly, allowing you to plan and execute actions at a high level. There are other benefits too. When you feel good:
- There are fewer distractions
- You feel more confident
- Motor skills are improved
- Stress and anxiety melt away
We teach techniques that increase your positive emotions and make you perform better. Some of the things we teach can feel uncomfortable, but they work. Especially this one.
Linger in Your Happy Moments
When you receive compliments, do you move on quickly or let them hang in the air for a while? After your favorite song ends, does the smile stay on your face? Are sunsets only inspiring for you while they’re happening?
There’s power in these moments, no matter how small they are. You need to capture it.
When you succeed – and success does not necessarily mean reaching a major goal – see it as an improvement worthy of your attention. Linger in it.
Tell your parents, tell your friends!
Remind yourself of it all day long. Say it to yourself, take a deep breath, and count to 15, fully immersing yourself in your own happiness and pride. It will be awkward at first, but it will help.
As this gets easier, you’ll be able to access these feelings even when nothing special is going on.
Turn on Your Ventral Striatum
If we didn’t have computers as a reference, there would be no way to truly explain how complex and incredible your brain is. One part of your brain, called the ventral striatum, manages sustained feelings of positivity and reward processing.
This can be engaged to make you feel various positive emotions in a lasting way.
You won’t find an on/off trigger for the ventral striatum, but it is within your conscious control. It requires a decision to be positive. Meditation, mantras, positive self-talk, and other practices can help you put the brakes on negativity and get your ventral striatum firing on all cylinders.
Once you’re in this mindset, it’s possible to sustain it for a long time, meaning that you can blanket your performance opportunities in hours of positivity.
I just wish someone had told the Vikings about it…