It’s game time. You are getting ready for a special event such as a race, final match, an exam or a presentation.
In scenarios such as these how many times have you been told to give it your 100%? Maybe you told yourself.
I cannot think of one coach who ever told me otherwise (if not the colloquial 110%)!
Carl Lewis, the 9 time Olympic gold medalist, was known as the “master finisher”. When scientists studied videos of his 100 meter gold medal races they noticed something unusual. He was the only one not grimacing in the last 40 yards of the sprint. In fact, little changed in his body language throughout the race.
When you watch Carl Lewis race the 100 m, by the first half of the race you would not think he has a chance. Everyone assumed he was simply a slow starter but really what he was doing was running at 85%. The entire run, his body is loose and his breathing slow.
The conclusion of the study was that if you tell athletes to run at 85% capacity, they will run faster than if you tell them to run at 100%, because it is more about relaxation, and form and optimizing the muscles in the right way.
As a highly respected Broadway actor, Hugh Jackman, says that if you want to enjoy a play's best performances, go to a mid week matinee because the actors are operating at 85%.
In times where I have given presentations, the more I relaxed, the better it would flow and surprisingly improve.
Stress negatively affects performance.
Stress negatively affects productivity.
I am sure many of us can reference such occurrences and yet we go into important events with the 100% mindset.
Its normal human behavior to want to jump in and allocate 100% of our effort when it matters however if you limit your output to 85% you might just find it surpassing results of maximum effort.
The next time you have to do something focus on NOT giving it 100%.
Find a way to avoid feeling rushed, or under pressure. Make faces, use a routine, find a ritual. Do whatever you can to aim for 85% (so you can relax!).
Our perceptions of effort are essentially a mental issue. Being tense is rarely your friend.
Have a great weekend,
You should strive to feel like you are performing at a steady pace, always with this tiny bit of room to breathe, not like you are constantly catching up or struggling. This will enable you to avoid exhaustion from pushing the throttle too far. Javier Romero
The conditions you think you want are rarely the ones that help you produce your best work Shane Parrish