By John Eliot, PhD. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. Whose life do you admire the most? Whose phenomenal success do you wish you could call your own? Bill Gates started fooling around with computer software when he was a kid just because he loved it; that youthful passion has made him the richest man in the world.

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Performance coach, with a bent towards sports, surgery, and executive performance, gives his thoughts on being a top performer. The key is the "Trusting Mindset": like a squirrel runs across a telephone wire.

Just doing it, without thought, because you've trained yourself plenty until that point. The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. All progress depends on the unreasonable man.

Great performers are, by definition, abnormal; they strive throughout their entire careers to separate themselves from the pack. In the Trusting Mindset, you have to let all that expertise be there instinctively. Different, in fact, as you and a squirrel running across a telephone wire! Squirrels cannot think. This ability to reason, evaluate, and make rational calculations is what separates us from other animals, and surely such rationality is a blessing in life—except when you are performing under pressure.

Then you want to put aside the Training Mindset and respond to the stimuli bombarding you as much like a squirrel as is humanly possible.

Squirrels are natural masters of the Trusting Mindset. I want to help you find your inner squirrel. We humans can assure a similar kind of closed processing by taking our cerebral cortex out of the game, as it were, and allowing ourselves to react to sensory stimuli with motor responses we have already stored.

Things would likely turn scientific; people would start practicing. Once the pressure is on, people try to toss a set of keys across a room and end up choking. It is not hard. Not one of my students has ever fallen off the board. If you videotape yourself doing this exercise, you will see that your foot hits the middle of the board every step of the way, as if you were walking down the street.

Now suspend that board thirty feet in the air and walk from one end to the other. This, I believe, illustrates the feeling that accompanies the Trusting Mindset perfectly. The difference between circus performers and the rest of us is that they have trained themselves to perform just like squirrels and step onto a sky-high, swaying wire, effortlessly and simply, as if out on an afternoon stroll. And so do the best entrepreneurs, surgeons, diplomats, politicians, and other best-in-the-business performers.

Success depends on emptying your head rather than filling it. Pressure occurs at the moments when meaningful accomplishment is possible. In fact, that is the reason why performers perform: for the opportunity to tackle challenges head on, to do something significant, to demonstrate what their talent and hard work can produce.

Those who perform well consistently—the superstars—are always looking for the opportunity to take their game to the next level. The heart beats faster to get more blood through the arteries, carrying nutrients and oxygen to the working muscles and brain cells so they can perform at a higher level.

The physical symptoms of fight-or-flight are what the human body has learned over thousands of years to operate more efficiently and at the highest level. Going gray or losing your hair? Must be stress. Unidentified pains or headaches? You guessed it. If you have to address an audience, even a tiny one, you had better rehearse in front of some kind of audience. Incorporate some distractions in your rehearsal.

Encourage audience members to heckle you or ask the toughest questions they can think of. Great performers in all fields seem immune to what outsiders think about them.

Their sense of themselves never depends on the feedback—positive or negative—they get from their environment. They know that the world tilts toward the conventional, Super salesmen or sport phenoms, they started out inclined to believe that they would excel long before the evidence was in or, in some cases, even before they chose a career.

Identify a thinking pattern that we want to use under pressure and then practice it, over and over. Choose a new lens through which to see reality and start using it the majority of the time.

Only people who take the time to get to know the intangibles about you are worth using as resources. A personal coach who helps us work through certain problems, has suggestions for appropriate fixes, but never tries to limit anyone. These kinds of experts teach you what they have learned from experience, particularly from dealing with other performers with problems like yours. But if you walked into my office today for a consultation, I would also want to know immediately: Do you have an exciting, vivid vision of the world and where you are in it?

Are you extremely committed to the success of that vision? Talking about dreams may be the last taboo. Vaughn Walwyn A dream is a feeling that sticks. A dream is a feeling that sticks—and propels. You are not likely to see Julia Roberts getting in the shower three times to tackle a bad hair day or Tom Cruise brushing his teeth before the start of a big action sequence. Goal setting will focus your life more on the details.

Dream setting will help you stay focused on the drama. Classic Trusting Mindset. When you have nothing to do, where does your mind wander? Back in the early s, sociologist Darrel Siedentop, now the dean of the College of Education at Ohio State University, was conducting research on human development in sport. In his free time, he was a passionate gardener who had landscaped his large backyard beautifully with a well-mowed lawn surrounding his pride and joy, a lovely flower garden.

One afternoon, he came home from work, headed for the garden, and was appalled at what he saw. Someone had been tramping through his flower beds. Staking out the scene of the crime the next day, he heard some voices in the yard, and there were his culprits: neighborhood kids who were using his yard as their after-school football field, diving for touchdown catches into his soft flower beds. Siedentop was furious.

But he also was an accomplished scholar who studied social motivation. He had an idea. He emerged from the house and called the kids over. Instead of threatening them, as they expected, or punishing them or worse, calling their parents , he informed the football players that he was delighted that they loved his flower garden as much as he did.

He invited them to keep coming over after school, and to encourage them, he offered to pay them a dollar apiece to play in his backyard. The kids could not believe their good luck. Not only could they continue their football games in this great field, but they would also get paid for it, just like professional athletes!

Every day, they showed up and collected their fee. Within a couple of weeks, however, they came less and less, and soon stopped showing up altogether. Siedentop not only had his garden back, he also had data for the motivation chapter in his landmark book Development and Control of Behavior in Sport and Physical Education.

The neighborhood kids, Professor Siedentop wrote, initially used his flower bed for their end zone because it was fun. But when he started paying the kids, he began to change their motivation. Soon they were coming to his yard not for the joy of a pickup game of football, but to make a buck.

And you actually might be extremely talented. When conditions are that bad, the only way to make it through is to focus intently on what you have to do in the immediacy of this very second.

Segmenting your work is an effective way to narrow your concentration you must think about what you have to do right now, immediately, to take the next step I actually have recommended to some clients to create even more chaos at work so that getting any work done at all will force them to be in the present.

Simplify and narrow what you think about: Just go out target shooting. Such doubt and the subsequent loss of concentration is more likely to cost you the sale than a bad strategy is.

Yup, a tall giraffe! The solution is not to remove a thought, image, or feeling from your brain, but to summon up a new one to replace it. The more you absorb your thinking in an alternative target, the more the unpleasant or performance-hampering information gets pushed out, without your having to think about it.

Preperformance routines should be designed to get you to think clearly and simply during an upcoming event—to be confident, to focus, to take advantage of the physical response a pressure situation sparks. That little routine is a tool for making the transition between training and trusting—two opposing mindsets.

The purpose of any routine is to help you make that all-important transition between preparing to perform and actually performing. I will end up on top, eventually. No matter what you are doing, there is a fun way to do it. A philosophy is only as good as how much you exercise it. Level with yourself about your bad habits of thinking and start developing their converse. I want them to forget about the results, whether the outcome is successful or not. You are unlikely to get better at what you do without pushing yourself, without taking some risks, and without making a lot of mistakes.


Overachievement - by John Eliot

Performance coach, with a bent towards sports, surgery, and executive performance, gives his thoughts on being a top performer. The key is the "Trusting Mindset": like a squirrel runs across a telephone wire. Just doing it, without thought, because you've trained yourself plenty until that point. The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.


Overachievement: The Science of Working Less to Accomplish More

John Eliot. Set goals. Focus on the outcome. Lose yourself to the Zone. All reasonable, sensible advice when you are facing a big presentation at work, a crucial point in the game, or any kind of career-launching performance.


Overachievement: The New Science of Working Less to Accomplish More

According to John Eliot, Ph. As Dr. Relaxing when the pressure is on is the wrong way to go. Mixing scientific insights with entertaining and inspiring stories, Overachievement will help you achieve spectacular success in any situation that demands you rise above and beyond what you ever thought possible. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.


John Eliot (psychologist)

John Eliot, Ph. His courses are perennial campus favorites. Eliot is also a bestselling author, with top titles including "Overachievement" and "Help the Helper". Using field research and case studies, he debunks some of the misunderstandings that pop-psychology creates regarding tools such as goal setting and stress management. He advocates that success generally stems from developing sound and consistent philosophies, self-evaluation measures, perspective, confidence, and trust. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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