There was a time — long before Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask or Dumb and Dumber — when Jim Carrey was a nobody, just another struggling actor trying to make it big in Hollywood.
Carrey worked as a stand-up comic, but was finding it hard to make the transition into television and film. Unsurprisingly, not everyone was convinced that his particular brand of manic comedy would work on screen.
But Carrey refused to give up. Instead, he would travel up Mulholland Drive every night — where there was a great view of Los Angeles — and picture himself becoming a huge success.
“I would visualise having directors interested in me and people that I respected saying that they liked my work. I would visualise things that I wanted coming true,” Carrey said on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997.
“I had nothing at the time, but it just made me feel better. I would drive home and think: Well, I do have these things, they’re out there, I just don’t have a hold on them yet.”
Carrey even wrote himself a cheque for $10 million (for acting services rendered), and dated it Thanksgiving 1995, which was about three years away. “Just before Thanksgiving in 1995, I found out that I was going to make $10 million on Dumb and Dumber,” Carrey said. So visualisation had clearly worked for him.
Carrey added a caveat, however, saying: “Visualisation works if you work hard. You can’t just visualise and then go eat a sandwich.”
Looking back on the interview years later, Oprah Winfrey said: “That was such a powerful moment for me. I was not a person who did visualisation or thought about my belief system in such a practical way. I learnt a lot from Jim Carrey on that show, and he is absolutely correct, if you can see it and believe it, it is a lot easier to achieve it.”
The Real Secret
There’s a pretty good chance that the story above reminded you of a little book called The Secret. And that might not necessarily be a good thing. Since its release in 2006, the book has achieved massive success — it has been translated into 46 languages and sold around 20 million copies — but it’s not for everyone. Some people (especially cynical and pragmatic business people) tend to baulk at the pseudo-science-laden cosmological talk of energy and vibrations.
But it would be a mistake to dismiss the concept of visualisation simply because of the New Age language of The Secret. The basic premise underlying the secret has actually been around for a long time.
In simple terms, this is the argument: If you spend all your time thinking about all the things you don’t have, you’ll stay unhappy. However, if you spend your time thinking about and visualising the things you want, you’ll attract those things to you.
Related: Stop Being So Damn Positive
The Law of Attraction
This is commonly called the Law of Attraction, and just about every uber-successful self-help book of the last hundred years has been punting this single idea. Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking, even Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Giant Within, these books all tout the power of visualisation and positive thinking.
And there’s no shortage of successful people who believe in this law, either.
“What you do is create a vision of who you want to be — and then live that picture as if it were already true,” says Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“It’s sort of like a mantra. You repeat it to yourself everyday: Music is my life, music is my life. The fame is inside of me, I’m going to make a number one record with number one hits. And it’s not yet, it’s a lie. You’re saying a lie over and over and over again, and then, one day the lie is true,” says Lady Gaga (who, incidentally, is more intelligent than people often give her credit for.
She was once a member of the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth, which was only open to young adolescents who scored in the top 1% on university entrance exams. Other members included Mark Zuckerberg, Google founder Sergey Brin and mathematician Terence Tao).
Will Smith, one of the few truly ‘bankable’ stars in the world whose mere presence in a film guarantees increased ticket sales, has said: “I believe, wholeheartedly, that our thoughts, our feelings, our dreams, our ideas are physical in the universe. If we dream something, if we picture something, we commit ourselves to it, then we are going to command and demand that the universe becomes what we want it to be.”
What about some examples that aren’t from the airy fairy world of entertainment? Well, there’s Michael Jordan and Muhammed Ali, who both famously always visualised themselves as victorious before an event.
And then there’s the industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie who once said: “I am no longer cursed by poverty because I took possession of my own mind and that mind has yielded me every material thing I want, and much more than I need. But this power of mind is a universal one, available to the humblest person as it is to the greatest.”
Why it Works
When an idea remains popular over a long stretch of time and keeps resurfacing in one form or another, you have to question why this is. Is there perhaps something to it?
Just for the sake of this argument, let’s assume that it’s not because there are physical vibrations or energies gravitating towards the happy, shiny people of the world. Let’s also assume it’s not about unblocking your chakras, vanquishing your bad aura, or opening your third eye.
What else could it be, then?
Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People offers one of the most convincing reasons: “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”
Mahatma Gandhi said something similar: “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”
It really comes down to reaping what you sow. Focus on problems and irritations, and you’ll find them everywhere, which will leave you despondent and unproductive. Focus on the good things, and you become happy and productive. You start seeing solutions instead of problems, and without knowing exactly why, your life starts to change — things start going your way.
Let’s Talk About Rituals
“This could be the greatest time you ever live if you control what you focus on, if you find a more empowering meaning, and if you decide to model the actions of those who succeeded before you,” Tony Robbins says.
“It can be the best financial time, the best emotional time and the best spiritual time of your life, but you better take control of your state. And if you think you’re going to do it just by today, you’re wrong. You’re going to need to find yourself some rituals. Everyone is controlled by their rituals.”
Your life (you can call it your destiny, if you like) is determined by your rituals, says Robbins. Importantly, these are not rituals like burning incense, sitting in the lotus position or reciting mantras. It’s about the simple stuff you do every single day of your life — it’s about what you have for breakfast, how often you work out, what you do just before going to bed, how you spend the first 60 minutes of your day.
Robbins himself, for example, has a very specific ritual every morning. No matter how busy he is, he always makes time for it.
“I prime myself every morning. I start off with a radical breathing pattern, and then I spend ten minutes on gratitude. I pick three things I’m grateful for, one of which needs to be very simple, like the wind on my face or the faces of my kids. The emotions that trip us up are fear and anger, and you can’t be fearful and grateful at the same time, and you can’t be angry and grateful at the same time.”
After this, Robbins spends a few minutes visualising the things he wants to achieve. “I pick three results and outcomes, I’m very committed to them and I see them as done and fulfilled.”
The 4-Hour Workweek author Tim Ferriss starts his day with five rituals that he believes create the right sort of mental attitude and sets him up to have a successful day. “If you win the morning, you win the day,” he says. “And if I manage to do at least three of these things in a morning, I’ve won the morning.”
He starts by making his bed (it gives you a small win and makes you feel as if you’ve already achieved something for the day). After this, he meditates, which is something he finds most high-performing individuals tend to do.
According to Ferriss, he gets 50% more done in a day if he’s meditated because his mind is focused and not as easily distracted. Thirdly, he hangs, from his arms, for a few minutes. He says it decompresses his spine, and he does it a few times every day, just to break up work sessions.
After hanging, he makes himself some tea, usually herbal tea from China, to which he adds some turmeric and ginger. Finally, he writes in his journal, usually on things he needs to achieve and things he is grateful for.
Begin With Yes
Tim Ferriss’s morning rituals are rather esoteric, to be sure, but the exact nature of his daily habits aren’t really important. What is important is that he has identified specific rituals that help him attain his daily goals, and he sticks to them religiously.
The problem is this: Positive thoughts and words of affirmation are easy to cling to when you’ve got loads of time and few problems, but it’s tough to stay positive when life gets hectic. Maintaining a sunny outlook is near impossible when the kids are sick, traffic is a nightmare, your quarterly sales report is overdue and your landlord is demanding last month’s rent.
That’s when it’s important to have rituals to fall back on. Once you’ve created the habit, your specific mindset in the moment becomes less important. It allows you, in a sense, to ‘go through the motions’. You don’t meditate or write in your gratitude journal because you feel like it (in fact, you probably don’t feel like doing it at all), but you do it anyway because it’s become a habit.
You start off feeling rushed and irritated, but by the time you’ve meditated or written, you feel better. The same is true of preparing healthy meals, working out or volunteering at your local charity. Some days, those feelings of positivity will leave you and you’ll just want to go home and stare at the television, but if you’ve created a ritual, you can fall back on the habit and not depend on your emotions to get things done.
Begin with Yes author Paul Boynton calls this ‘The Law of Action’. The problem with the Law of Attraction is that it demands a positive attitude, something that can be hard to muster when you’re really dealing with a tough situation.
So, instead, he proffers the Law of Action, which doesn’t demand a positive outlook, but simply asks for a dogged determination to keep pushing forward.
As the title of his book suggests, he argues that, even when you don’t feel like it, you just need to keep saying ‘yes’ to life. You take the action, and the emotion will (eventually) follow. (Coincidentally, Jim Carrey once starred in a movie called Yes Man that deals exactly with this. It’s not a masterpiece, but still worth seeking out).
Related: How to Find the Entrepreneur Within
How exactly do you start saying ‘yes’, though? For television mogul Shonda Rhimes it literally meant saying ‘yes’ to everything that came her way for a year.
“So a while ago, I tried an experiment,” she said during a TED Talk on the subject at the beginning of 2016. “For one year, I would say yes to all the things that scared me. Anything that made me nervous, took me out of my comfort zone, I forced myself to say yes to. Did I want to speak in public? No, but yes.
Did I want to be on live TV? No, but yes. Did I want to try acting? No, no, no, but yes, yes, yes.
“And a crazy thing happened: the very act of doing the thing that scared me undid the fear, made it not scary. My fear of public speaking, my social anxiety, poof, gone. It’s amazing, the power of one word. ‘Yes’ changed my life. ‘Yes’ changed me.”
For Tim Ferriss, meanwhile, it meant embracing what he calls anti-complaining.
Echoing Gandhi and Covey, Ferriss says: “Word choice determines thought choice, which determines emotions and actions. It’s not enough to just decide you’ll stop using certain words, though. It requires conditioning.”
To condition himself, Ferris embraced a system created by church minister Will Bowen.
“Will designed a solution in the form of a simple purple bracelet, which he offered to his congregation with a challenge: Go 21 days without complaining. Each time one of them complained, they had to switch the bracelet to their other wrist and start again from day zero. It was simple but effective metacognitive awareness training.
“I made it 11 days on the first attempt, then I slipped back to zero. Then it was two or three days at a time for about a month. Once I cleared 21 days at around month three, I no longer needed the bracelet.”
As the new year approaches, this is the perfect time to come up with some rituals that will help you achieve your goals. These need not be large and daunting habits. Don’t vow to run 10 km every day if a single flight of stairs currently leaves you winded. Start with small thoughts and small actions, but be consistent. Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.
Fear As Foe And Friend: How To Master This Important Relationship
Our beliefs direct our behaviour and decision making. To conquer you fears, face them.
There is a story that I love. It goes something like this: A long time ago a man was sitting in a bar in Damascus having a beer. As he finished his last sip he looked over to the corner and staring back at him was Death. The man froze. It was widely known that the day you see death is the day you die.
A few seconds later the man regained composure and ran out of the bar. Without looking back he jumped on a horse and rode as quickly and as far away as he could. Later that day he arrived in a town called Samarra.
The man checked into a motel, rushed up to his room, locked the door, and as he turned around, sitting in the corner was Death. Noting the man’s surprise, Death said to him, “You think that you’re surprised? Just imagine how surprised I was this morning when I saw you in the bar in Damascus knowing that I had an appointment with you here, tonight, in Samarra.”
This is a story about the inevitability of death. No matter how hard we try, it’s the fate that we cannot escape. However, that’s not the focus of this article.
Facing your fears
Instead, consider the way the man reacted to death. More specifically, how he reacted to fear. That’s something I’m sure you can relate to.
The life of an entrepreneur is filled with fear. The fear of failure, the fear of losing it all, the fear of judgement, the fear of rejection, the list goes on. We can never eliminate these fears. Trust me, I’ve worked with the best and they still struggle with many of these fears. The thing about entrepreneurs at the top of their game is that they are better at dealing with fear.
Imagine if instead of running away, the man in our story decided to embrace his fear. Imagine he calmly (while shaking inside) walked over to death and asked him why he was staring at him. Death might have told him about their inevitable appointment. The man could have left the bar to get his affairs in order. He could have had a final meal with family and friends. He could have gone for a last swim in the ocean. And then, when the time was right, met death as an old friend.
Does that not sound like a much better approach than to run away and hide? But how you can embrace fear? The answer to that is simple but by no means easy. Dealing with fear is all about the context and meaning we assign to it.
When you’re working in your office, how scared are you of being bitten by a shark? Fear is very much dependent on the context. In many instances we have (some) control over context.
So, how can you control your context or environment? What can you do to actively decrease the fear becoming manifested? Fear of public speaking? Control the context by preparing well, getting coaching, dressing well, being ready. Fear of rejection? Control the context by understanding your prospect well, being prepared, showing up early so that you aren’t rushed, being friendly and welcoming.
This is always one of my favourite areas to play in as coach. It has to do with the meaning we assign to situations in our lives. More simply put, the beliefs that we have and how they direct our behaviour and decision-making.
Back to our shark example, and this time you find yourself in the ocean. How worried are you now about a shark attack? Much more. However, next to you is a shark expert frolicking around. Happy as can be. How worried is he about the shark attack? Not at all. Why? Because he understands shark behaviour, he knows the statistics and miniscule chances of a shark attack occurring. Same context, different beliefs, resulting in different levels of fear.
This means that another way of dealing with fear is to examine the belief you have that creates the fear. Perhaps it’s an outdated or untested belief. The only way you will know is by looking at it.
Through the fear
Fear is a dark passenger. Ready to tell you stories of doom and gloom. Ready to make you forget about the big dreams that you have. But it does not have to be. You journey. Your rules.
Learn to master your feelings and the approach that you take towards the challenges and risks in your life, and you will not only feel lighter, but able to embrace fear as an old friend without becoming consumed by it.
Peak Performance: Multiply Personal And Team Business Performance
Anyone can be a ‘Peak Performer’ and that includes you!
‘Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection‘ – Mark Twain
As a Peak Performance coach my purpose is to make others successful, fulfilled and happy
The universal Principles of Peak Performance applies to Entrepreneurs, career orientated individuals, business teams, sports teams and individual performers such as public speakers and musicians.
Do you want to learn how to multiply your performance as an entrepreneur, career orientated individual, musician, public speaker, or sportsperson and reach the peak of your industry or sport? If you answered yes to the aforementioned question, then this article is meant for you.
The outputs of ‘Peak Performance’ coaching varies due to its universal application but includes multiplying profits and productivity, drastically increase team performance in business or in sport , and dramatically improve your performance as an artist, musician, or individual sports person.
A Peak Performance is described by psychologydictionary.org as:
“A performance at the best level of a person’s physical and cognitive abilities’
- Which leads me to the ancient Chinese philosophical concept of ‘wu-wei’ meaning ‘effortless-effort’. It is truly awe inspiring to bare witness to an entrepreneur or athlete delivering a supreme performance with joy emanating from their being as proof of them being in a ‘peak mental state’.
‘Peak performance is not only about achieving a wonderful result it is also about experiencing the joy bubbling from your heart as you let go of all your fears , doubts and procrastination and just enjoy the moment as a soulful experience’.
Those entrepreneurs or performers that have not released the peer pressure, doubts and fears that circumvent their thinking and feelings place limitations on the fulfilment , happiness and joy that they could have experienced should they have let go of all ‘mental baggage’ that they carry. One of the keys to unlock your potential is to leave your past baggage behind as you go through the door of positive change and development.
This article will highlight three prominent barriers to your ultimate ‘Peak Performance’ yet will reveal three key principles that when consistently applied will empower you towards unleashing your potential and become a ‘Peak Performer’ in any area of your life.
1. Barrier to Peak Performance: Limiting beliefs
When you entertain such limiting beliefs as ‘I am not worthy’, ‘I do not possess the resources to succeed’, ‘I am not intelligent enough’, it will limit your performance within any area of your life within which you entertain those beliefs.
Some top sport performers believe that only the seriously talented can be at the top and that talent means you do not have to work hard. For sure it is possible to reach the top based on superior talent alone but you will not be a sustainable success. Those with the potent combination of talent, mental strength and the willing ness to work hard will eventually catch up and dramatically outperform those with the limiting belief that my talent alone is enough.
2. Barrier to Peak Performance: Procrastination
If you are a serial procrastinator as an entrepreneur by the time you have actually executed a decision the ‘Peak Performer’ has already executed, failed and corrected his/her mistakes several times and is outperforming you.
3. Barrier to Peak Performance: Perfectionism
“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection” – Mark Twain
Perfectionists often suffer from a fixed mind-set which is revealed thoroughly when the face glaring imperfections. This fixed mind-set dictates that perfectionists will rather walk away from the situation than aim to continuously improve which is a key driver to Peak performance. It is perfectly ok to fail as long as you apply the learnings of the failure and grow.
Be open to the fact that more often than not you are going to face imperfect conditions and timing in business, bad weather and facility conditions in sport, and ups and downs in any career. The discipline and willingness to continuously work hard even for small improvements removes the focus on perfectionism to learning and growing continuously.
The above three barriers to ‘Peak Performance’ are very prominent ones but not the only ones that you will have to break through on your journey towards being a ‘Peak Performer’.
When you google who was the mentor of Nelson Mandela Oliver Tambo’s’ name will pop up. Tony Robbins had a mentor. Ray Dalio has been coached by Tony Robbins in return. And that brings the good news – you can be coached or mentored to break through the barriers that limits your performance.
Related: The Anatomy Of Peak Performance
The key questions here are:
“Are you coachable?” and “Do you want success and happiness badly enough?”
1. Empowering belief towards Peak Performance: Purpose
Clarity of purpose is a key driver towards ‘Peak Performance’. Purpose is ‘your why’, that very good reason why you do what you do. Two entrepreneurs of equal intelligence, resources, talent and skill start a venture within the same industry, whom will outperform the other?
The one does not really love the industry and is not truly inspired by what he is doing, the other has a real sense of Purpose and truly loves the industry. Logic dictates that the one with the real sense of purpose will more easily overcome obstacles and will truly be inspired towards Peak Performance.
The fine print to Purpose is that Purpose is a powerful belief but yet is just a belief. Underpinning purpose you must consistently do what is required to actualise your purpose and do so with patience and discipline.
2. Empowering belief towards Peak Performance: Peak mental state
We all know from personal experience that when you are de-motivated and negative thoughts dominate your mind that a very good performance is unlikely to result from that state.
You can train yourself or be trained to almost always be in a peak mental state where you are anchored in positive beliefs and in strong positive emotions about those beliefs. From this state a Peak performance is much more likely.
3. Empowering belief: Take immediate, consistent and disciplined action
When we feel overwhelmed we either do nothing or very little in general. We also tend to procrastinate when we are unsure of the course of action we should be taking or when we doubt our abilities. When we know exactly what our purpose is we do know what our priorities are and once we are sure of our priorities when know how to allocate the right amount of time to our activities that serves our purpose.
We all feel overwhelmed and or fearful at some point. The key here is to still take action in the face of being overwhelmed and fearful. When overwhelmed and fearful a critical question to ask yourself is: What is the smallest and easiest thing I can do right now to start improving the situation? Once you have taken action it creates momentum and it gives you confidence to take the next action required.
Use your fears and doubts as triggers to take action. Small actions at first to train yourself and to give you more confidence to gradually take bolder steps. The Navy seals in general are not fearless human beings they were just trained to use their fears as ‘triggers’ to take action and this is possible for everyone.
Here is an empowering belief for you:
Anyone can be a ‘Peak Performer’ and that includes you!
Research: The Power Of Meditation That Will Blow Your Mind
How transcendental meditation can improve your life and help you achieve the highest levels of success. Don’t believe us? Keep reading and find out
If I told you a group of meditators could stop a war, eradicate violence, reduce infant mortality and increase primary school attendance rates – would you believe me?
This exact scenario happened in our neighbouring country Mozambique. In 1992, the civil war that lasted 15 years came to an end. Joachim Chissano the leader of the winning forces took control of the country, instead of enacting revenge on the rebel forces, he promised there would be no prosecution or punishment.
He even went so far as to offer them half of the positions in the Mozambican army, and he gave them a chance to gain power through political means. Two years later, Mozambique’s had her first ever multiparty election, Chissano and the former rebel leader were up against each other in the polls.
After winning, he focused on reducing poverty to establish lasting peace. Between 1997 and 2003, 3 million people, out of a population of 20 million, were rescued from extreme poverty. This led to a 35% decrease in infant mortality and a 65% increase in the number of children attending primary school.
The following sections will help you on your journey to find your personal “woosah”:
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