It is the subtle differences that define us
I have a long fascination with excellence- I always wondered what it takes to be a champion and for people to perform at the top 0.01% level in their respective fields. While individuals have their own quirks, I think this factor cannot be neglected- attention to detail.
I’ve been following the NBA since my secondary school days, and recently I chanced across this brilliant channel called Any Means Basketball. Their videos are largely focused on the minute aspects of basketball. When you watch their videos, you grow an appreciation for the subtle nuances that the professionals have integrated into their game.
A favourite video of mine is that of Kawhi Leonard, who is quickly establishing himself as one of the best players in the league. If you have the slightest interest in sports, I highly recommend this video. What he does on a regular basis is a thing of beauty.
By understanding how he does the smallest things at a higher level than everyone else, one comes to appreciate the amount of work and attention to detail that goes into helping an individual to perform at his/her best.
So how does this translate to performance psychology and studying?
Most of us will agree that most of our time is spent on preparation, and very little actually goes into the actual test itself. Yet as Greek lyric poet Archilocus once said, “we do not rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training”. The importance of proper preparation cannot be understated. Hence, while we are training, we should be aware of our weaknesses and any change in our emotional state. While many are aware of their weaknesses, not as many pay much attention to their emotional state.
However, anyone who has delved into meditation before is aware of the need to pay attention to oneself- the breath, the thoughts and the emotional state. When we face difficulty in understanding, our body tend to resist, and this slightest change in emotions can alert us to an issue we are struggling with. For many of us, when we encounter something difficult, we tend to reach for our phone, or the social media, for that quick rush of dopamine. What if we can instead be aware of that change? By noticing the subtlest change and the minor gaps in our knowledge, we can work to strengthen our overall performance and perform at our highest level.
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