The best performers treat what they do as if it was a hobby, or as if they were mad scientists. They have fun exploring the limits of their potential. This is a crucial point to recognize. Many people have the urge to make masterpieces or to play in the major league or to run major corporations, but may never get there. There are no guarantees, and the greater your strivings, the tougher the competition. But that's why it's so critical to think like an artist. You never will be able to explore the limits of your potential without learning your trade, polishing your skills, and mastering your craft. That's the part that takes time. But you'll also fall short of your potential and fail to find your true calling if all you do is work on your game without devoting significant time to changing your attitude towards work and how you think while doing it. No matter what level player you are, you can learn how to perform at your outmost, while implementing your most creative techniques like an artist.
The way to hone in on your creative process is to spend time "messing around". I don't mean disappearing for a few fireball shots (if you do, give me a holler 😄. Just kidding... half-kidding😉). The purpose of messing around is to discover the fun of engaging yourself in a difficult task and try to figure it out, trying to innovate. I want you to forget about the results, wether the outcome is successful or not. The goal is to make your job seem like a hobby, to make work more like play. How often have you heard successful people say, " I can't believe someone is paying me to do this!" That's the reason some engineers go to the lab on weekends to test out new ideas; why a CEO may have his assistant hold all calls during the morning so he can read a new book that might spark an idea, returning later to grapple with a tough problem, his mind refreshed.
Try to remember how loose you were in the early days when not so much was riding on every game or decision. You might even want to visit a schoolyard or playground to watch kids play, taking note not only of the children's joy, but also of their focus and concentration. It might be child's play, but those kids are serious. They are paying attention, and any kid who is not likely to be ejected from the game (a game not incidentally, that is completely made up). Many artists have pointed to their ability to remain "childlike" as the secret to their success. Just messing around with paints, they are able to re-create the very world right before their eyes. Isn't that what most of science is— messing around with different ways of seeing how the world works? Einstein often pointed to his own childlike ability to ask simple questions about things that everyone else took for granted (like time and space) as the only route to scientific breakthrough.
Art often depends on mistakes and serendipity. The British artist Francis Bacon said that his own best art was always a product of "accident"
When i begin a new canvas i have a certain idea of what i want to do, but while i'm painting, suddenly out of the painting itself, these forms and directions that i hadn't anticipated just appear. It is these that i call accidents.
Bacon was unwilling to ascribe such "accidents" to his unconscious, in some classically Freudian way. For him the art came from a mixture of what he had in mind and what just happened as he brushed paint across the canvas. "There's always an element of control," he explained, "and an element of surprise." Most good athletes would not their heads in agreement. They know what they're doing, but in the heat of the moment of performance, special things—surprises—can happen. They not only embrace these surprises; they go looking for them.
What about a surgeon? Neither you nor I want a surgeon "messing around" during our operation. When you're undergoing heart bypass surgery you want someone very experienced at the kind of surgery you need, and definitely not someone experimenting with new techniques. If that doctor however, only does the same procedures week after week, year after year, she is bound to get bored and fall into a "going through the motions" mindset—and that's when the biggest mistakes get made. Locked into doing things the "proper way for so long, she'll also lack the capacity to handle unexpected problems that arise during surgery. The best surgeons, on the other hand, will list the number of operations they do in a month or quarter so they can spend some time learning new techniques or devising their own—in the lab, or course, or with well-informed patients who are out of options and need experimental care. These are the surgeons the get up in the morning eager to get to work. The plodder will wake up one day, wondering why she isn't happy and wondering if there's a difference between her and an assembly-line drone.
Everything in existence was dreamt by someone.
Dreamers are the ones who create products and companies that sell them. The invention of a product is a work of art in itself. It was created out of mere thought. Even money itself had to be invented—from the coinage of Ancient Greece to paper money some three hundred years ago, to credit cards of today, as well as more recent creative financial instruments such as the junk bond and mortgage-based securities. Does it take more imagination to create paper money or a junk bond than the coat hanger or paper clip or Mickey Mouse—or the the digital camera? I'm not sure. But the one thing that they have in common is someone behind the process, a high performer of thought enjoying all the failures as if they were works of art.
In good health,
Efren Guerrero Rodriguez
High Performance Personal Training