What I like about this business,
the certainty that there is always something bigger and
more exciting around the bend; and the uncertainty of everything else.
~ Walt Disney
Pursuing and living your own Ultimate Human Performance is both certain and uncertain. It’s both dark and light. It’s hard, boy is it ever; and yet it’s magnificent when you step into it.
While the results are uncertain, your fulfilling life is absolutely certain.
Live your life in such a way that you’ll never look back in regret;
and say damn that was boring.
But you have to pay the price. You have to put in the hours. You have to make the sacrifice. And frankly you may not make it.
But you will live!
Yes it’s a sacrifice, but let’s face it, all of life is a sacrifice in some-way-shape-or-fashion. Isn’t it?
Please be reminded that the original meaning of sacrifice is to “make sacred.”
The original meaning of sacrifice is to “make sacred.”
What are you willing to give your life for?
What are you giving your life for?
Steven Kotler states in his research of superhuman athletic performance that there are “long dark periods of frustration and emotional angst” between periods of flow.
By now you should be familiar at least at a cursory level with the concept of flow. We’ve discussed flow in many ways and many angles throughout this series as well as others.
I watched a currently popular “Motivation Guy” (as he describes himself) on video last week; and he was talking about his academy where you can learn to have “continuous and sustained levels of high energy and performance.”
But the research as well as life experience both prove that Life and Energy just don’t work that way.
There cannot be a high without a contrasting low.
The majesty of the peak is only as majestic as its contrast to the depth of the valley it rises above; and the emptiness of the sky it stands against.
Am I being cynical? No. Far from it.
I see things clearly; and I wish nothing but the same for you.
All I want for you is the truth. To free your mind. Because only the mind set free is truly unleashed and unlimited.
Only the mind set free continues forward when the storms and winds blow.
Those who see things clearly in the defining moments of life continue
forward in faith versus folding.
The only true energy that’s sustainable is the energy of commitment and perseverance, even while in the darkest of hours. Commitment that sustains through both the highs and the lows. Please read that again.
Believe me, you will have both.
Anyone who tells you that they’re constantly high, is definitely high on something. You be the judge.
Ultimate Human Performance doesn’t mean you’ll be in the “peak state” of Abraham Maslow or fully upbeat all the time. For the peak state of Maslow is nothing more than his term for flow.
While a peak state is temporary
The master develops traits, which are permanent.
What the father of modern psychology William James called a “Mystical Experience” and Maslow called a “Peak State,” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyl’s work has modernized as “Flow.”
Why does Kotler’s research as well as others document dark periods between Flow?
Because Flow is not sustainable. Nor by the way is anything in physical life. Including a highly charged energetic life or a peak state.
And by the way, who would want to be in a peak state all the time? For what is a peak without a valley?
It’s mere flatland. Are you thinking?
Just remember, the sweet is never as sweet without the sour.
I know the sour.
~ Vanilla Sky
If you’ve ever experienced focused flow you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t yet experienced it, I promise that you want to.
Focused Flow is a state of heightened awareness and experience. A total immersion where time stands still and the false sense of self and its boundaries dissolve. The dancer and the dance become one. The artist no longer plays the music, she is the music.
While there are many things that facilitate flow, the research proves that every single example of Ultimate Performance, any and all world-class performance, in every field, from sports, to art, to music, to business, to creativity and entrepreneurship come to fruition in this heightened state.
Once you’ve been there you have a deep desire to get back. Kotler describes it as a state where, “You know the ass you’re kicking but you’re not sure you’re the one doing it.”
He who chases two rabbits catches neither.
So how do we get there? Well, if you’ve been following religiously I’ve given you many factors throughout this series. Last week we spoke of solitude; and the necessity of doing it for yourself.
As we’ve discussed many times, this is a controversial topic in a world gone mad with social activities.
Your monomaniacal focus upon your purpose must be a thing of which legends are made.
Picasso was well known for excusing himself from dinner with his friends and going back to his studio.
He knew what he was here to do; and he knew that time was of the essence.
My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general.
If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.’
Instead I was a painter, and I became Picasso.
~ Pablo Picasso
This is a common practice with greatness.
The New Testament even tells us that Jesus often left his disciples to spend time alone. Check it out for yourself.
And by the way… Jesus never went to social synagogue even though it was a heavy part of his Jewish tradition. Something to ponder.
If you’re going to live your own life and carve your
own path be prepared to do battle with the sentry’s that guard the gate
holding you in the prison of the past.
So here’s another earth shattering insight into Ultimate Human Performance, world-class work, mastery, and playing at your absolute best… are you ready?
This might not be popular, but it’s true nonetheless.
When you choose to pursue your greatness, you’ll most likely be single for the balance of your days unless (big unless), you’re blessed enough to find someone who understands your mission, purpose and lifestyle.
Let that sink in.
There’s always a price to pay.
Oh sure, you can find companionship when and where you need it. But true relationship is a much different matter.
Let’s agree that you may also find a short-term relationship, but long-term relationships are already rare in today’s world; and adding the “I’m giving everything to my Purpose and my Magnificent Obsession” factor will only add fuel to the fire of unsustainability without the aforementioned deep understanding we’re discussing.
In the words of Disney once again… “The certainty that there’s something bigger and more exciting around the bend; and the uncertainty of everything else.”
Get used to it.
And the journey continues…
Stay Awake, Love Life and Be Epic!