We are all in search of secrets for the fountain of youth. Whether it's through the $3 billion cosmetic surgery industry, or through the $30 billion fitness industry, we are all seeking hacks that will give us a competitive edge physically, mentally, and intellectually.

What if you could simply shift your thinking so that you could improve your performance in any aspect of your life? Envision turning a kaleidoscope ever so slightly to the left or right, and experiencing an entirely new perspective.

That's what this shift will do for you.

I recently watched Eduardo Briceno's TED Talk: "How to get better at the things you care about."

Briceno identified 2 "zones" that the most successful people occupy at any given time:

  • The learning zone
  • The performance zone

The Learning Zone

The purpose of the Learning Zone is to soak up everything we can to improve.

The world's most successful leaders, including Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg, intentionally devote time to the learning zone.

They devote a minimum of 5 hours a week to reading.

  • Oprah shares that her books were her "personal pass to freedom."
  • Mark Cuban reads at least 3 hours every day.
  • Billionaire investor David Rubenstein reads 6 books a week.

Setting aside time every week to learn, and to improve, is the most reliable way to move from your current state to your desired state. Leadership is a continuous journey.... we never arrive at our pinnacle of leadership. There is always more to learn.

The Performance Zone

The performance zone is where we intentionally apply what we have learned, and we work towards mastery.

Mastery is a journey. It is not a destination. However our path to mastery will include both incremental steps and quantum leaps forward towards our goals, and even beyond them. Quite often we underestimate our potential and capacity for achievement, simply because we can not visualize achieving such high levels of greatness.

The secret of performance is understanding the importance of both zones. We can not excel without both.

"The performance zone maximizes our immediate performance, while the learning zone maximizes our growth and our future performance.

The reason many of us don't improve much despite our hard work is that we tend to spend almost all of our time in the performance zone. This hinders our growth, and ironically, over the long term, also our performance." ~Eduardo Briceno

Additional Strategies for Improving Performance

Aside from nurturing our learning zone and our performance zone, what else can we do to achieve peak performance?

1: Take Care of Our Health.
Obviously, the most important factor in successful learning & growth is health. A consistent exercise regimen, healthy diet, healthy sleep patterns, and healthy stress reduction techniques like mindfulness and meditation ensure our minds and bodies are ready for growth.

2: Manage Your Emotions in a Constructive Way.
Emotions can get the best of all of us. The goal is not to suppress them, but to address them in a healthy way so that we can move past them, rather than creating additional problems. Unresolved anger, resentment, fear, and contempt create tremendous barriers to personal and professional progress.

3: Love What You Do.
In a recent keynote speech, I shared that building a business is always challenging, but should rarely be painful, and should never be miserable. Know the difference between stress and misery.

I am a fan of the "boiling frog" analogy. People often accept a difficult, stressful situation as "normal" because they have lost perspective that life is meant to challenge us but not destroy us or make us miserable.

Realizing we are miserable or unhappy is the first step to change. Knowing we can create something better for ourselves is the second step. Creating the courage to do so is the third step.

Peak Performance is Within Your Reach

Whatever you want to improve in your life - a relationship, a skill, public speaking, writing, your leadership - focus on segmenting efforts into learning zones and performance zones.

You will become both smarter and better

Published on: Feb 7, 2017