We’ve all heard of the phrase the most committed wins and this cannot be more true in sport. Since the above story, I have had countless performances, business decisions, mountain experiences, ocean encounters and even a few more border encounters, unfortunately without Lola, where the same game has been played. Each time I have learnt, whether I won or not, that the most committed wins. There will always be good reasons to stop, quit, turn around, change your objectives, and some times it might be a good idea to do this as the effort is not worth the end result or the reward we seek. However, if we truly want the end goal and want to achieve our vision, we must be wholly committed. If we are not entirely committed to our performance and end goal, you can safely bet that someone or something else will be.
Occasionally the difference that makes the difference is only a small %. Richard Branson talks about going the extra 2% is so often the key to success. My observations is that most performers are willing to give 90%, some 95%, very few 97%, and even fewer are willing to let go completely, go that extra 2-3% and enter that state of flow that helps people achieve their dreams. My experience is that going that extra % when the body, mind, and pressures around scream the opposite is often the turn that unlocks the door. Whether it has been getting back into a wetsuit when I was knackered and everyone else, including me wanted to go home because there was a slim chance of swimming with a seal, or continuing to swim underwater when everything in my body was gasping for air. it was going the extra % that allowed me to have an unforgettable 15 minutes playing with a seal, and find a new sense of energy after the conscious mind stopped screaming allowing me to swim another 15 metres to break my underwater swimming record. Going the extra % and staying committed is not a given talent or ability it is a resolve that comes from understanding our motivation.
There are many examples in life where people have defied the odds and shown that results come from more than just talent, physique or natures gift. Michael Chang, was one of the shortest most successful tennis players to grace us with his presence when 95% of his competitors were all much taller. Bugsy Malone, a famous basketball player who was told he was too small to play basketball, showed us that beyond all the odds greatness is possible. Michael Jordon was dropped from his high school team, as he was deemed ‘not special enough’, and went on to become one of, if not, the icon for basketball. All these athletes and many other like them did not become who they became because they were born with the gifts needed for their sports. They achieved their greatness through a strong resolve and commitment to their goal, consequently defying the odds.
The times I have fallen short of my best performances have ultimately been because my commitment wavered. The moment we compromise with ourselves, drop our standards, or have the smallest shadow of disbelief, our commitment and therefore our performance is affected. The mind is an endless stream of activity and can quickly and easily turn from a resolute vision and positive reinforcement to doubt and justification. If we already know and have accepted our bottom line of how much we have to sacrifice, and the full consequences of achieving our end goal, then we have the platform and boundaries in which to be fully committed. The wavering of our resolve often comes when our bottom line and boundaries are tested. If this test causes conflict then our vision becomes compromised and we loose strength and clarity in our commitment.
Many beliefs such as Buddhism, and even the mighty Yoda, teach us that it is the attachment to our desires that lead us to suffering. I believe this to be true and we must be mindful of this in our pursuits and commitments. Being committed doesn’t mean being rigid and inflexible, it means doing all that we can to reach our vision, which may require a lot of flexibility. We are human beings and are full of complex agendas, so understanding the nature and origin of our motivation is essentially to our commitment. Separating our ‘personal needs and desires’ from the ‘vision’ is essential if we are to be 100% committed. If our commitment is based on a personal need, then as soon as the ‘need’ becomes to scary, in conflict, or overcome, then the commitment will waiver. So understanding our motivation is key to the sustainability and resolve of our commitment. If our motivation is a desire for power, need for success or ego orientated, these are likely to be short lived and therefore we are better off changing our goal/commitment saving ourselves a lot of time and pain in the process. I am not saying that we don’t need our personal needs, intentions and desires, on the contrary they can act as super fuels at times, simply they cannot be our only and primary motivation.
So often in competition the line between success and 2nd place is very thin. At an elite level the skill set, physicality, nutrition, and equipment are often very similar, and the real battle where the performance is won or lost is played in the mind. When the challenge or competition is tough these mind games come down to only a few moments, and the results often boil down to, who was the most committed at those key moments. These moments are when, as performers, we truly find ourselves, we see what we are made of, and we understand our true level of commitment. The most committed go deeper into their ability to let go and trust the body to perform, as they are not invested and dealing with their personal needs and fears. The most committed are often in flow at these stages and doing everything they can to allow their best performance to flow through their body as if they were a bystander or puppet.
If our intentions or motivations are bigger than our personal desires, then our complex personal agendas and conflicts will not be woven into our vision and commitment, freeing us up to give all that we can. It is at this point that our 100% of our commitment can be integrated freely into our performance, training, talking, sleeping, breathing, and being, which is surely where the performance is won or not.
Write down the clear vision for your goal. keeping re-writing this until the vision is completely clear.
Then write down your motivations, desires and intentions for this vision.
Separate the motivations, desires and intentions that are personal needs and ones that are not. When you are next training, focus on each motivation, one at a time. Hold the moptoivation in the pit of your stomach as you perform and see how you and your body responds. Repeat this process until you get some learnings.