What is Peak Performance?
It’s something everybody needs, and everybody wants too, if they really think about it.
Whenever we have to do anything, we prefer it when it’s easy, rather than grueling. In fact, we tend to resist doing things that will be too difficult to enjoy.
For that reason, it’s crucial to be at our best whenever we’re performing any task, whether it’s yard work, playing basketball, or giving a speech to a group of Rotarians.
Think about it…
There are times when you’ve done something so well, it seemed effortless.
But there are also the other times when the same task has seemed much more challenging; something we see in sports all the time. Sometimes a given team can be firing on all cylinders and seem unstoppable. On other occasions, the same players perform like circus clowns!
Performance in any field is based on a number of factors, like being relaxed instead of tense, feeling confident and positive, being in good physical health, etc. It’s all about being in what’s known as a high-performance state.
When we are in a high performance state, we are resourceful. All the physical and mental skills we need for the job are online and readily available to us. The more resourceful we are, the easier it becomes to play hockey, sing in key, pass an exam, or cook a gourmet meal.
It’s all about resources, and resources are available when we’re in high performance, or even peak performance states. To clarify, high performance states enable us to accomplish tasks at higher than usual levels. Peak performance states enable us to perform at our absolute best at any given task. So for the purposes of this article, we’ll stick with the term “peak performance” to simplify things.
The great thing about peak performance states, is there are simple but powerfully effective ways of accessing them.
The Four Levels of the Grinder Model
Some of the best research in this field comes from NLP co-founder, Dr John Grinder, who created a simple method based on a four level hierarchy. By understanding this model, you’ll be able to dramatically improve your performance in just about any area of life!
The four levels are:
The hierarchy works like this: Everytime you move up a level, you don’t just affect the level you’re at, but all the levels below it too. By understanding and applying this model, you’ll be able to snap yourself out of negative and unresourceful states in a jiffy!
Here’s how this all works…
The very bottom of the column is Performance.
Performance is how well you do or are doing at any given task. As we’ve already seen, this can be literally anything, from running a Marathon to raking leaves.
Because Performance is at the very bottom of the column, and this isn’t a good place to attempt to improve things. When we see an athlete in a slump, they’re typically attempting to change performance directly, without taking the hierarchy into account. This will usually result in the athlete staying stuck at a level of poor performance for hours or days.
If we move up just one level, we reach State.
We understand state in Neuro-linguistic Programming, or NLP terms.
We think of State as the sum-total of everything that’s going on in our minds, bodies, emotions, etc. State includes our beliefs, what we’re telling ourselves, and even our level of health at that moment.
So it's fairly obvious that by changing some of the components of State, we can shift our Performance in a positive direction.
For instance, if we have a lot of negative self-talk and intentionally switch to positive and affirming self-talk, it will probably make some degree of difference. That’s because State is a blend of a lot of different components, and changing even one of them can make a difference.
But there’s a better way…
If we move up another level in John Grinder’s model we reach Physiology, which is all about our physical bodies. This includes how we stand, sit, move, if there’s tension present, etc.
Amazingly, radically changing the components of this level will affect your state almost instantly. The changes will cascade downward, all the way to the level of performance.
So how do you do this?
If you’re about to do something that requires your resources be available, you can shift your physiology to affect your state and your performance.
An easy way to do this is to ask yourself how you’d stand, move, gesture if you were powerful and confident. This is known as the AS IF Frame. You just stand, sit, gesture, and move your body as if you were feeling powerful.
This works on the principle of a self-reinforcing loop. If you’re powerful, you take on a certain physiology. Likewise, taking on that physiology will put you in a powerful state. That’s because the state and the body affect and reinforce each other.
Think of it as pretending to be powerful, and then notice how powerful you feel when you move and use your body accordingly. And when you’re pretending to be powerful, it’s a simple matter to pretend that you’re not pretending.
Another physical way of accessing a self-reinforcing loop is through laughter.
You can click here to watch a Youtube video we made to explain how this works, but to summarize it:
When we’re really happy, we laugh out loud and smile.
So why not enter the loop from the other side?
If you’re feeling flat and bored, pretend you’re happy, and laugh out loud with a huge smile on your face. This works extremely well, and is the heart of laughing yoga. Just pretend you’re happy and laugh your head off for twenty or thirty seconds. It will change your state in an instant and you’ll feel much better!
Laughing on purpose changes your state because it changes your physiology. But it also works by changing your breathing, which brings us to the top of the hierarchy…
Breathing affects everything. Deliberate breathing shifts are found in all kinds of disciplines, including yoga, martial arts, and qi gong.
Typically, the breathing is shifted toward slower and deeper breaths, focusing on a long exhalation.
This kind of breathing will change blood chemistry, lower blood pressure and reduce stress.
It will also change your physiology in a matter of seconds.
And when your physiology changes, your state will change too.
And that means your performance will improve as well; often dramatically.
So there you have the Grinder Model!
Whenever you need to improve your performance, just change your physiology, or even better, change your breathing.
The effects will cascade down through resourceful state to high performance.
It’s easy to do, and takes no time at all!
The Grinder Model is only one of several small hacks that can drastically improve your quality of life. We of Mike Mandel Hypnosis Academy are also on the business of helping people be happier and live better lives, which is why we created our best-selling Personal Growth Membership; a bundle containing all the courses and tools one could want for personal development and self improvement.
Click here to get full access for one very low price.